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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bargain Wine of the Week: Keesha Vineyards Sonoma County Sangiovese 2006

While the French and Italians label their wine primarily according to region, Americans (North and South) tend to label by grape varietal. Thus, an American Cabernet Sauvignon could be from Napa Valley, Sonoma County or Chile, and the label usually makes the region abundantly clear along with, but secondary to, the fact that it's a Cabernet.

But in France, a wine is primarily identified as a Rhône, a Burgundy or a Bordeaux. A Rhône might be further identified, or even primarily sold, as a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a Côte Rôtie or a less ambitious Côte du Rhône, but all are primarily made with Syrah grapes. A Burgundy might be identified as a Côte de Beaune, a Côte d'Or or a Côte de Nuits, but in the vineyard the reds start as Pinot Noir and the whites are made from Chardonnay grapes.

In Italy, a Tuscan wine is likely to be sold as a Brunello or a Chianti, but the Brunello is made with Sangiovese grapes and the Chianti is a blend that has Sangiovese at its foundation.

Sangiovese is a medium-bodied grape with deep color and it has begun to catch on a bit in California's wine regions. We ran across a deal on a Sangiovese from Sonoma County that turned out to be a heckuva wine bargain. 

The Keesha vineyards Sonoma County Sangiovese 2006 started life as a $18.50 bottle of wine, but for whatever reason the price we found was $8.99. It was certainly worth a try, and we did not regret it. 

American Sangiovese tends to be a bit fruitier than its Italian ancestors, but that means that it's drinkable sooner. This young Keesha Sangiovese was drinkable when we opened the bottle, and even better the second day (after a night with a vaccuum seal). 

This is a $20 bottle value easily, with its Super-Tuscan qualities, deep color and cherry and blackberry flavors cut with a little oak and a lot of spice. This is one of those medium-bodied reds that drinks well with chicken and pasta as well as veal and pork.

If you see this wine and the price is anywhere near $10, pick up a couple of bottles. You won't regret it. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Always looking for good party gifts. =)