Tag Archives: sangiovese

Cecchi Sangiovese

Cost: Average price $6.99

Where buy now: Costco

Grapes: 95% Sangiovese & 5% Merlot

Region: Italy

Vintage: 2011

Cecchi Sangiovese

My Savvy “Skank” vino d’Italiano is found at Costco right now. For how long? One never knows. It’s a Sangiovese straight out of Chianti country and it’s stupid, ridiculous good. The price point? A whopping $6.99, which makes it all the more delicious. (Remember, you don’t need to be a Costco member in Minnesota to buy booze. Righteous.)

This wine is easy drinking. You’re not going to be swirling a long time, contemplating the latest NPR think piece whilst reminiscing of your adventures abroad. What you will do is pour it in your glass, give it a couple swirls and enjoy it. This is a fruit-forward style Sangiovese- I get this unique, dusty strawberry fragrance. (I say that because I recently cut into a dusty, strawberry that was about past it’s prime. That aroma is this wine’s essence. In a good way.) It’s aged in stainless steel so no strong oak, vanilla undertones nor any earthy funk. It’s a straightforward wine ripe with spiced cherry and strawberry flavors with a bit of tang. One to try if all you’ve been buying lately are big Cali red blends. This will stretch your palate but not in a way that’ll make you cringe of cat tongue. The fruit forward flavors will be reminiscent of the big domestic red blends but without all that crappy residual sugar and overripe finish. Again, it’s $7, so live on the edge. The edge of frugality(?)

Since you’ll already be there, let’s pair this Sangiovese with some Costco vittles. I made an amazing grilled cheese, comforting on a frigid Winter’s night. Take some Boudin San Fran Sourdough, butter each side. Add one slice each of Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Colby [oh my!] from the Finlandia variety cheese pack. The only non-Costco item I used was Stonewall Kitchen’s Bourbon Molasses Mustard http://www.stonewallkitchen.com/shop/speciality-foods/mustards/120810.html/Stonewall Kitchen Bourbon Molasses Mustard which I liberally schmeared on top of the cheese. Grill golden brown, then chomp into that ooey-gooey masterpiece that marries sweet and savory. Wash it down with this Sangiovese. Repeat.

Grilled Cheese Stuffs

Not a mustard fan? Well, you’re weird and we will never be friends. That aside, I’d recommend throwing some rosemary, oregano and garlic powder on the cheese slices and grill. There, I’ve just set you up with a paired dinner all for under $10. You’re welcome.

Ducceto Chianti

Cost: Average price $11

Where buy now: Zipp’s Liquors

Grapes: Sangiovese

Region: Italy

Vintage: 2010

Ducceto Chianti

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting in a coffee shop at a not-to-be-named Casino and hotel. It’s a mildly strange vibe, and yet at the same time, completely non descript. As I type, the barista is trying to vacuum Pergo flooring; the scraping sounds are like finger nails on a chalk board. They do serve Starbucks coffee, so at least I’m not in church basement brew hell. This is not, however, Christmas at home. It’s the first Christmas Day away from my immediate family, and I don’t take well to change. Alas, I’m doing my wifely duties by spending time with the in-laws. My sole caveat was that I needed my pasta with sauce, meatballs and bracciole on Christmas. Since I married into the right in-laws, there was no opposition.

Every year of my existance, I’ve spent Christmas with my family. We’re a tight knit clan, and hold our traditions sacred. Typically, family arrives a few days early to prepare the big vat of red sauce (aka “gravy” to the Paisanos), and prepare the meatballs. Now when I say “meatballs”, I mean the big guys. Italian meatballs are not made to be a one-bite morsel. We also make bracciole (in Ital-American dialect “brahj-shole”). These are long, thin cuts of round or flank steak slathered with chopped garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley and grated Parmigiano or Romano cheese, then delicately rolled up and tied with string. Like the meatballs, these fatty little packages of meaty bliss are browned, and then plopped right into the sacred gravy where they take their sweet ass time cooking (not hours, days) until they nearly fall apart.

I had a duty to find the best wine pairing possible to accompany this feast. I’ve had Chianti, Super Tuscans, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sfrusat and the occasional Barolo or Brunello. Then I started thinking, people eat red sauce all the time. What can be a go-to red that won’t break the bank, yet will pleasingly compliment and balance the flavors?

I found this wine at Zipp’s: Ducceto Chianti. Unlike most Chiantis, it’s 100% Sangiovese and is fermented in stainless steel tanks. Since it doesn’t lie with any oak, you get a rare red wine that has a bright acidity and freshness to it. Not heavy on your pallet, but with earthy tannins. It’s medium body still evokes flavors of red berries with hint of spice and mild-tobacco. The light tannic structure doesn’t leave a flabby wine, instead it finishes with a soft, plump feel.

If you or someone you know likes red wine but complains of headaches, try this wine. Often times it’s the tannins that create the headaches, not sulfates as once believed.

The wine is phenomenal, but how did it pair with my traditional Christmas dinner? All I can say is that no one spoke (other than the occasional “Mmm”,  “Oooh” and “Wow”). It was music to my ears.

Poggio Anima Belial Sangiovese

Cost: Average price $14.99

Where buy now: France 44, Zipp’s Liquors

Grapes: 100% Sangiovese

Region: Tuscany, Italy

Vintage: 2010

Poggio Anima Belial Sangiovese

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s Sangiovese”

Ummm, whut?

“Quando beve questo vino, tu parlero italiano!” [When you drink this wine, you will speak Italian!]

To me, there is a state of bliss that resembles ignorance. Bliss that will have you singing in the shower, in the car, or whilst folding laundry, perhaps. Somewhat ironically, the “ignorant” bliss I was experiencing was due to knowledge I’d just acquired. If I had a rating system, this red of the week would be the tops. However, I’m not down with the “4-star-this” or “89-cork-lengths-that” kind of wine rating B.S., so you’ll have to use your imagination.

I would be remiss not to thank my friend (we’ll call her “Christine”), a local wine rep & graphic artist extraordinaire, for introducing me to this Sangiovese. Yes, she’s a wine rep. No, this is not a wine she was trying to unload in droves because it’s not selling. In fact, she bought this terrific wine for me, and it is NOT one of the hundreds of wines she sells.

So, where is this bliss coming from? It’s no secret that I’m in love with all things Italian, so going into it, this wine did have a slight [read: HUGE] advantage. This wine begs to be paired with food. Not that it isn’t delicious on it’s own, it just really comes alive with some good, old fashioned Italian cuisine. Pair it with pizza, lasagna, or simply drink it with your tried and true pasta and “gravy”. Grill a beautiful steak with some rosemary sprigs, toss a little pasta with a ragu of tomatoes, basil and pepperoncino (fancy for red pepper). Make sure you get your greens so add a salad of arugula in a lemon vinaigrette with toasted pine nuts and shaved pecorino. This is also a bottle you bring to the restaurant. Even though al Vento, in South Minneapolis, has an impressive wine list, bring this wine in and have it with their spaghetti in mother sauce & homemade meatballs or anything that includes wild boar. Tip: have them open it right away so it can bloom.

Goodness, all I’ve been doing is daydreaming about what I would do with this wine! I haven’t even begun to describe the aromas and tastes, or it’s native region.

The Poggio Anima Belial Sangiovese is easily recognizable by it’s pretty turquoise label. It’s crazy this is “just” an

{tip Indicazione Geografica Tipica, typical regional wine. Also commonly referred to as TABLEWINE, or in my house, everday wine.}IGT{/tip}

hailing from Tuscany, this red wine embodies all that I love about Tuscan wines. It smells and tastes of sun kissed red berry fruit; it’s dry, earthy, and delicious. After it continues to open, scents of cherry cola, minerals and spice emerge. Swirl that essence along with the red fruit, and there’s simply no way you won’t be transported to the rolling hills of Tuscany. I imagine sitting on a terrace overlooking vineyards, church steeples and cypress trees while I savor every sip. Am I getting through to any of you?


View from our Tuscan Villa 2010

Check out my Facebook page (shameless plug) where I posted a photo of this wine and read all the comments. I had no clue this was a favorite among so many people (and so many wine fanatics!).

“You’re just too be good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you. I love you Sangiovese and if it’s quite alright I need you Sangiovese, I need you to warm a lonely night. . .”