Monday, July 2, 2012


Want to know more about April's varietal of the month- Sangiovese? Here you go!

Sangiovese’s origin lies in Italy. Earliest recordings of the grape date back to 1590 in Tuscany. The grape still has tremendous presence in Italy - it is actually the most widely planted red grape varietal in the country. Sangiovese was first introduced to America by Italian immigrants in the 19th Century. It was brought to the Segheshio Family's "Chianti Station" in Sonoma County where it did not gain immediate popularity. Sangiovese didn’t become popular until the 1980’s when a new interest in the grape sprouted. By 2003, 3,000 acres of this varietal had been planted in California; mainly in Napa and Sonoma County but also in the Central Coast. Today Sangiovese is one of the most popular and well known Italian varietals in the States. Very much like Zinfandel, Sangiovese has a cult following.

Deerfield Ranch Winery produces a Sangiovese from Dan Sanchez’s Alpecella vineyard. Alpicella Vineyard is a 70 acre, sustainable, organic mountain vineyard on a sunlit ridge in the mountains between Sonoma and Napa. Dan has been growing grapes for Deerfield for over 15 years. This Sangiovese has reached cult status and sells out every year. Robert Rex, Deerfield’s Winemaker, says “the 2007 vintage is the best we have ever made and will keep getting better”. Most wineries are sold out of their 2007 vintage, we are just releasing ours; it is aged in the barrel longer than any other winery in California.

Deerfield also produces a high-end Super Tuscan blend called “Super T-Rex”. Sangiovese is commonly used as a blending grape. In the past, white grapes were added to Sangiovese in Chianti blends. Now, this process has largely been dropped as part of an effort to produce bigger, more age-worthy reds with varying percentages of other red varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon is currently the most popular blending grape, helping to craft the wines currently known as “ Super Tuscans.” Deerfields ‘Super T-Rex’ is a predominantly Sangiovese blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Dolcetto. Robert describes our ‘Super T-Rex’ as having the “forward fruitiness and lovely characteristics of a Sangiovese with the depth and complexity of a Meritage blend”.

Restaurants that carry Deerfield’s Sangiovese follow the cult trend and are extremely passionate about it! Olive and Vine's Sommelier, John Burdick, was happy to give his thoughts on which one of his restaurants dishes pairs well with Deerfield’s Sangiovese. Olive and Vine’s braised pork shank was the one that immediately came to his mind. “Savory” was the overwhelming theme in his description. The pork shank is cooked for 5 hours to integrate these savory flavors. The “not over the top fruit”, spicy cherry flavor and medium mouth feel allow one to enjoy the food and wine with neither being overpowering. John explains that the all spice aromatic and Robert’s never over-oaking of wine really allows the pork’s flavor to come through. The Kenwood Restaurant, right next door to Deerfield Ranch Winery, recommends the Beef Bourguignon with the Sangiovese. They emphasize the fact that the hearty, earthiness of the dish pairs well with the earthy tones of the Sangiovese.

Whether you are a current Sangiovese fan or just got inspired. Now is the time to join the Sangiovese movement!