Beverage of the Week (BOW)
Pietra Santa Sangiovese Cienega Valley 2010
I once asked Pietra Santa's winemaker, Alessio Carli to name his favorite grape. 'My favorite Italian varietal is certainly Sangiovese. I'm originally from Siena and when I was living in Italy, I started making wine with Sangiovese.' Carli went on to work at top Tuscan estates including Badia a Coltibuono honing his craft. He is simply a Sangiovese expert and he's pretty damn exceptional with every other varietal. In the early 90s, Carli administered the planting of Sangiovese, Dolcetto, and Pinot Grigio, as well as Zinfandel, at Pietra Santa. He knows the varietal and he knows these vines resulting in wines that are simply world-class.
The name, Pietra Santa, translates to sacred stone. It was given by former owner Joseph Gimelli to honor his Italian heritage while aptly describing the mineral and limestone soils created by millenniums of churning rock by the San Andreas fault that lies below. Pietra Santa is not a place that you find accidentally, or perhaps, this is the only way that you will find it. It's nestled in the heart of the Cienega Valley in southern San Benito County, near the Monterey County border. As the crow flies, it's just about 25 miles east of the Monterey Bay that greatly influences the climate of this valley. It's not easy to get to but it's worth the trip as it's one of the most beautiful wineries I have ever visited. The Pietra Santa estate covers 120 acres planted to: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Dolcetto, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The oldest vines on the property were planted in 1905.
Brilliant, burgundy red color with just a bit of transparency. The aromatics are wildly complex with scents of ripe and dry red berries in the lead at one passing and then pepper, leather, earth, and brown baking spices take center stage. You can nose this wine for hours. The palate is lush and silky without being the slightest bit heavy or flabby as it is blessed with a generous dose of fresh, vibrant acidity that helps accentuate the complex melange of oak, earth, dried herb, and brown baking spices that flank the fruit core. Wonderfully generous with perfect balance thanks to the bright acidity and subtle tannin structure.
How to Serve
Be sure to decant this wine for an hour to discover its full potential. It will certainly cellar well for a decade. Drink this beauty with a rich tomato sauce based dish, grilled meat, braised lamb, or aged Parmesan.
Price: $ 18