Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Russell Creek Winery - 2004 Sangiovese

Sangiovese is recognized in Italy as a superior varietal. This red medium-bodied grape, used to make Chiantis, has found its way to the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla. Sangiovese is a great wine to pair with pizza and tomato-based pasta dishes because of the acidity. It can also stand-up to meatballs, spicy sausages and pan-fried steaks (Call me loco, but cheese enchiladas with a red sauce would make a perfect pairing, too). I think that Sangiovese often gets overlooked as a red wine, while Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots are on the front lines.

Last evening I took the opportunity to try a Sangiovese from Russell Creek Cellars. As soon as I plunged my nose into the bowl of the glass, the aroma of cherry and toasty oak came through. With the first sip, the cherry and toasty oak continued with a taste of mocha up front. Then the palate began to taste the juicy and rich fruit of raspberry and cherry. The background of this wine brought my palate hints of violet and licorice. It was smooth and light in tannins. It had the right amount of acid to blend well with traditional Italian foods and the finish was very full and balanced. To sum it up - - I liked this wine! I would be interested in cellaring this wine to see if those fruit flavors would evolve the same as their Tuscan cousins. Delizioso!

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