In 2009, I attended wine classes at the United States Sommelier Association, and passed a written and blind wine taste tests. I earned a Level 2 Sommelier certificate. In February 2017, I decided to pursue my wine studies, and attended classes at WSET, a world-renowned school, which stands for Wine, Spirit Education Trust. I received a Level 2 certificate and passed with merit. I don’t consider myself a sommelier, and I don’t use that word to describe what I do. I prefer to save it for someone who is actively working in the wine industry. Sommelier is a French word that means a wine steward who’s trained and knowledgable in wines. I am not into fancy wine descriptions, but I can tell you one thing, after drinking and sipping hundreds of wines, I know if a wine is compatible with my palate or not. By now, my taste buds know exactly what I like. I prefer Old World wines, full-bodied, earthy with deep ruby colors, and flavor profiles that include aromatic spices, cloves, black peppers, nutmeg, hints of dark chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, leather, barnyard, licorice with a lingering finish. I usually go for a complex wine, with layers of flavors for special occasions. At times, I also enjoy medium-bodied wines, and New World wines with floral notes. There are so many grape varietals, (varieties) from so many regions of the world, however, today, I will focus on the Sangiovese grape. It is a very difficult grape to grow because it needs warm weather, and for that reason, vintages can vary from one season to the next. It is considered one of the most widely planted red grape in all of Italy. The Sangiovese grape does particularly well in the terroir of beautiful Tuscany. However, it is a temperamental grape, that requires a lot of attention. It is not easy to keep it balanced, because of its high acidity content. It is harvested late, because the ripening process is slow. Tannins can also be rough. Sangiovese is also blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other grapes to make one of my favorite blends called “Super Tuscan”. In June 2017, I finally visited Tuscany, and some amazing wineries in that region. I enjoyed some delicious wines made with the Sangiovese grape.
My tasting notes on Tenuta di Renieri: It is a blend made with mostly Sangiovese, and is from the enchanting region of Chianti. It has the Chianti Classico label, which is a highly rated, small wine-region with a DOCG designation, (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita is the highest designation in Italian wines. The wines must be evaluated by a tasting committee before they can be bottled, to assure the highest quality standards.) This wine shows unique characteristics, and bottles from that region have the seal of a black rooster to distinguish them. It’s a beautifully balanced wine with alluring nose of nutmeg spice, bursting with flavors of lush cherries, with a long finish that keeps you begging for more.
Marchese Antinori, Chianti Classico, Riserva 2006. It’s an excellent wine, very complex with an everlasting finish.
“92 points Antonio Galloni (Wine Advocate): …positively sparkles on the palate. Dark wild cherries, minerals, graphite, violets and spices are just some of the nuances that flow effortlessly… The French oak contributes an additional measure of volume and ampleness I doubt the wine truly needs given the superlative quality of the fruit in 2006. A rich fabric of minerals reappears to frame the intense, deeply satisfying finish… The 2006 is one of the finest vintages I can remember tasting. (Oct 2010)”
I hope you will pull yourself together, and pour yourself a Sangiovese! I would love to hear your experience with this wine variety. If you are not too familiar with Italian wines, just visit a large chain store, and get the help of a wine clerk. Many of them are highly trained and very knowledgeable. What I like the most about buying wine in large chain stores, if you are NOT happy with a wine, you can return it, and they will gladly refund your money, or give you a store credit. Don’t get me wrong, I also love to support the small boutique shops, as they carry some very unique wines. Just get out there, and start exploring the world of wines. There are so many of them, and so little time!
Above is a picture of a vertical wine tasting at the magical Fattoria di Montemaggio in Tuscany. They are a boutique winery and produce high-quality wines.
Hope you enjoyed this blogpost! Happy Sipping!
Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
World renowned – WSET (Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust)
Level-2 Certified Wine Connoisseur.
Culinary Aficionado & Lover of Global Cuisines & Travels
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover
except for the grape photos in which the proper credit was given.