Monday, August 4, 2008

Leonetti Sangiovese 2003

Leonetti Sangiovese (c)2008 SmellsLikeGrape
We have not had many Washington State wines. This is certainly the first Sangiovese that we have had from Washington. On a visit to see Eric of Salem Wine Imports, he was quick to point out this wine to us as being something different. This was a must for us to try.

Aged in French Puncheons and 30 hectoliter ovals for 14 months, this wine has bold European oak characteristics. The lot size was 719 cases. This wine is a good value when you want something special. The Syrah brings strength to the wine adding additional depth and body.

Leonetti Cellars
Walla Walla Valley
Vintage: 2003
Blend 78% Sangiovese, 22% Syrah
Alcohol: 14.1
Price: $30.00

Color: Rich ruby red
Intensity: Medium
Aromas: Black cherry, cassis, allspice, toast, coffee, chocolate, rose
Flavors: Strawberry, blackberry, cherry, plum, cassis, black pepper, licorice, oak, cedar
Body: Full
Acidity: Crisp
Sweetness: Dry
Tannins: Leather
Finish: Long

Summary: Very wood and toast forward with plenty of cassis, cherry, strawberry to back it up. As the wine opened up, the cedar notes took the edge off of the fresh French oak. Buried in this oak is a wonderful rose that one would expect from a quality Sangiovese. This is not an Italian style Sangiovese, perhaps a hot Tuscany or Sicilian climate could product grapes this bold. Spicy long finish, good balance of acid, flavor and tannins. This is a bold American style wine.

We plucked this wine out of the loft cellar because we are having spaghetti with meat sauce tonight. This wine will stand up to rich tomato based dishes such as cioppino, shrimp scampi, pizza and lasagna. I would also have this with steak fajitas, roast beef and red deer Wellington.


Richard A. said...

I have drank a few bottles of this wine as well, having also gotten them from Salem Wine Imports. I enjoyed this wine very much, plenty of complexity and lots of flavor.

I should note that this wine usually sells for over $50 a bottle, and that the $30 was a significant discount.

Taster B said...

Thanks Richard! We forgot about that (notes weren't that good). It was a screaming deal then for sure.

boneygirl said...

I'm so glad to see allspice in your tasting notes. I've tried a couple of Syrah's this summer and thought I was picking up a hint of that spice, but decided my nose was deceiving me. This sounds like a nicely balanced Sangiovese!

Taster A said...

On many of these big wines, look for a licorice flavor on the long finish to develop.

This was posted the night we opened the bottle. It hung around for a few days. The more I tried it, the more I liked it. I think Sangiovese is a wonderful grape. Used in SuperTuscan style blends, Sangiovese brings a lot to the table. Certainly, Chianti Classico (the good stuff, not the plonk), Piemonte blends and Primitivo will bring joy.

Gary V. has the right concept. You need to experience flavors and aroma on their own before you can identify wine. (Not that I advocate chewing dirt and cigars.) I put choke cherry into many of my wine notes because my dad and I used to make choke cherry wine. I make this killer lamb dish with cinnamon and allspice. That dish was a wonderful trainer for evaluating spice in wines.

For licorice, do try licorice candy unless it is of high quality. Go to the health food store and ask for DGL. This is a chewable licorice supplement. Chew a couple of these and pay attention to the finish. Then let me know if you when start identifying licorice in your wines.

boneygirl said...

I agree about experiencing tastes on their own, and then identifying them in the wines. Allspice is a spice I canned fruits and cucumbers with and also baked goodies during the holidays, but not a spice I use regularly.

What I'm finding the most difficult is I know I'm picking up something on the nose of a wine, but I can't distinguish the smell. Other times there is no mistaking what I smell. It'll take practice I suppose. Thanks for the tips!!