Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Umbria Sangiovese 2006

After watching a bunch of Gary Vaynerchuk podcasts over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was ready and raring to go to the wine shop! When Karl got in on his flight from Chicago, we went to buy wine before we even got him home! I purchased two bottles of wine, one standby and one new. Karl was talking about a good Sangiovese that he had with his family during an Italian feast this Thanksgiving, so I was up for trying one (I've never had a Sangiovese before). I couldn't wait to taste it!

Umbria Sangiovese 2006
La Carraia
Cost $9.99

I had it open for about 40 minutes before we couldn't wait any more. In retrospect, we probably should have waited longer, but hindsight is 20/20!

The color was very pretty, a dark red fading to a peachy-pink around the edges. Very lovely.

Karl thought he smelled some cinnamon on the nose, while I was having trouble smelling anything besides alcohol and oak. Not a very good start. I smelled it for about 5 minutes (of course getting wine all over the tip of my nose in the process...I need to get a bigger glass!). I managed to sniff some dark berries and a little bit of pepper.

After being quite disappointed with the nose, Karl and I had a taste. It was not much better, I have to be honest. Karl said he tasted tannins, oak, and alcohol and not much else. He said the finish felt like licking bark because it was so tannic. I agreed for the most part. There were tons of tannins almost immediately coating all parts of the mouth. It was very woody and quite bark-like on the finish, as Karl said. After a few more swishes around, I noticed some bright, sour cherry or maybe just tart cranberry notes right at the very beginning. There's quite a bit of oak, but not too much, I don't think.

If Gary is right, which he probably is (in his vast amount of experience compared to my tiny experience), this wine just needs a few years to mellow out to reach its potential. 2006 is pretty young for a red wine, I think, especially one that seems like it's supposed to pack a punch. It's hard for me to taste through all those tannins right now, but it would be fun to buy another bottle of this and save it for a year or two and see what happens, and at $10 (I think it's on sale right now), it's a pretty good deal and not unreasonable for saving.

Update: We left the bottle open during the remainder of the night and kept having sips of it to see how it was opening up, and it really helped! The nose improved (more red fruits noticeable), and the tannins slowly receded (but not completely), and I really thought the wine started to taste like it had a lot more potential. I had a little bit of it with a bite of our pizza (topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, onions, green bell pepper, mushroom, and Frank's Red Hot), and I thought it was an okay pairing. Interestingly, I thought the wine took on an interesting eggplant flavor when paired with the pizza. Kind of weird, but not altogether unpleasant.

We still have about 3/5 of a bottle left, so I'll be interested to see how it is tonight. I may buy another bottle to save.

All in all, not a bad experience. I look forward to reviewing the "standby" bottle for you!