Monday, August 15, 2016

Napa Valley Sangiovese from Villa Ragazzi

Villa Ragazzi 2015 Rosato di Sangiovese Napa Valley ($28) Sangiovese is a fairly high acid, thin skinned grape that can have a fairly astringent character when made into red wine. And somehow that character works really well in a rose wine, where that little hint of bitterness is actually refreshing, like iced tea or a Campari and soda. This one is bone dry with pretty rose petal notes and a racy finish. Really well done. It isn't cheap, but that's Napa Valley for you. (88 Points)

Villa Ragazzi 2013 Sangiovese Napa Valley ($36) A number of Cal-Ital vintners I have spoken with swear the Napa Valley benchlands are nearly perfect for growing Sangiovese. The only problem is that Sangiovese just doesn't bring the dollars that Cabernet does. Greg Rodeno planted the first Sangiovese vines in Napa in 1985 and now they yield only 1-2 tons per acre. This great example of California Sangiovese has generous sunny berry flavors as well as the Tuscan variety's brisk acidity and dried cherry and dried flower notes. It's lively, fresh and graceful. (90 Points)

Villa Ragazzi 2013 'Faroana' Sangiovese / Cabernet Napa Valley ($48) Inspired by 'Super Tuscan' blends of Sangiovese with other international varieties, this red blend grew on me quite a bit as I sipped it. At first it didn't seem to have quite the bright acid that I expected from a Sangiovese-based red, but with air it seemed to brighten and pretty, fresh violet and cherry notes emerged. I absolutely love that it isn't over-saturated in color and over-extracted. It's a wine that's very comfortable in its own skin with dried rose petal aromas, ample red fruit and a lithe, elegant texture. Highly recommended. (92 Points) 

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