Not Chianti

These are such fun wines. Almost all the way across the board (OK, there’s a couple things they make I’m not a fan of–FULL DISCLOSURE) the wines from this little oasis along I-5 in California’s central valley are stellar examples of the variety. And–being a winery steeped in all things *Italian*–when Sangiovese steps up to the plate, you have to be a bit more critical, no? Black-garnet in the glass, a bit of sediment murking things up. Big, rich round nose, swollen with gorgeous ripe cherry nearly tipping the scales of *chubby*. The heat of the valley flows off it, muddling the fruit into seriously concentrated elixir: the ripeness unmistakable. Stemmy briar protrudes on all sides, a tomato-vine/apricot nuance woven nicely into the old-world funkiness maintained steadfastly and true-to-variety. But it’s not Chianti. It’s pure, fresh, fleshy Sangiovese cut from a modern IGT mold.

Full and rich likewise in the mouth, black cherry and plum a heady event right from attack, bitter deliciousness sparking the middle and tingling the sides of the tongue. Thick and chewy–no signs of old-school on the palate–just an exemplary version of the grape in the new world. Despite its obvious ripeness and powerful softness, the balance feels low-pH and hi-acid, with generous tannin backing things up. It manages an entry of plush grandiosity, and a full finale wonderfully abrasive. These wines are so well made, and so reasonably-priced–truly a rewarding discovery for anyone open-minded enough to search out.

2014 CARDELLA WINERY Sangiovese Vyd 22 Mendota San Joaquin Valley California 14.1

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