Sangiovese under $15

Finding value in the land of Chianti and Cinghiale


Sangiovese is one of my favorite grapes. I probably consume more Sangiovese than any other variety, though usually in the guise of chianti or rosso di Montalcino. This group of wine represents the true value plays in Tuscan Sangiovese. often blended, in proportions that makes these similar to chianti, these wines take advantage of the enormous vineyards that lay between, yet outside of the more famous appellations of the region. While I tend to be a purist, preferring sangiovese blended with indigenous varieties or on its own, it’s impossible to argue with the success of these wines. this is not a recent phenomenon, as evidenced by both eh Monte Antico and Barco reale, two classic Sangiovese blends that have relied upon small additions of international varieties for years, and with fabulous results.

At this price it’s often fiscally impossible to produce the kind of sangiovese that can stand on its own. those of us of a certain age can remember that Sangiovese from cheap Chianti of days gone past. Thin, shrill, terribly high acid, and barely palatable with light, astringent red fruits. If it weren’t for the straw covered fiasci, which we diligently used as candle holders, many of us might not have even bothered with those wines. 
Today of course even cheap Sangiovese is better than it once was, but when cropped heavily, as sangiovese tends to want to do, the fruit just lacks concentration and depth, even if fully ripened. Adding in a well judged dose of cabernet or merlot can help fill out the midpalate and bring Sangiovese naturally high acids into balance. I prefer merlot to Cabernet for blending, finding that even modest amounts of Cabernet tend to dominate a wine, obscuring what Sangiovese brings to the blend. But still, the end results do speak for themselves.
These are wines, as a group, that have a remarkable affinity for foo. A byproduct of that acid, and gain nuance and complexity that they simply would not have if they were monovarietal. They are why I drink so much sangiovese. Fresh, medium bodied, lively in the mouth and with an elegance inexpensive wine rarely shows. There is a sea of unsold sangiovese in Italy, so we are fortunate in that regard. I expect these wines to continue to be great values, particularly the Monte Antico and Barco Reale which have both been models of consistency and value for decades.

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Top Value Sangiovese Tasted 2/14

Barco Reale di Carmignano. Capezzana (2010)
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Fattoria del Cerro Rosso di Montepulciano (2011)
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Monte Antico 750m (2009)
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Bibi Graetz "Casamatta" Toscana Rosso (2011)
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Fattoria Rodano Poggialupi (2011)
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Sportoletti Assisi Rosso (2011)
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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: petroniano
    1049228 20

    dear sirs, if you speak about sangiovese you have not to forget Sangiovese di Romagna. Romagna is the italian region north east Tuscany from the appennini hills down to the Adriatic sea, where are located Rimini and the small State of San Marino. Sangiovese di Romagna is DOC(denomination di origin controllata) and in this part of Italy is the RED wine . When labelled Riserva or Superiore is as good as a good Chianti and costs usually less than 15 Euros.
    Mauro Marabini

    Mar 11, 2014 at 10:19 AM

  • Snooth User: sjvaughan
    1473838 1

    Please unsubscribe me.

    Mar 11, 2014 at 2:58 PM

  • The Fattoria del Cerro Rosso di Montalcino sounds very nice. I'm curious about the 10% Mammolo. What is that grape? Does it go by any other names?

    Mar 11, 2014 at 8:25 PM

  • I have had a couple of these wines recently, Monte Antico and Carpineto, which I wrote blogs on Some of the others it's been awhile since I tried them, but nice selection of good valued, quality Sangiovese.

    Mar 12, 2014 at 7:15 AM

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 4,003

    Couldn't agree more that Merlot is the ideal international grape for blending with Sangio in daily drinkers. In fact, it's the best use for Merlot yet. I've had blends with Cab and Syrah and the Sangio just loses prominence even at low amounts of the other grape. Merlot tames those acids, which is so important in marginal Sangio. Currently, I've been scoring Contemassi (distributed by the Bronco Wine Company, who brought you Two Buck Chuck--this almost makes up for it!) for $5 a bottle and, while it's not Cebaie or even Monsanto, on a Tuesday (including yesterday) with baked ziti, it's comfort food and wine for the masses. Speaking of that Monsanto, at under $18 a bottle, that's not a whole lot more money for a wine--Riserva, no less--that speaks Chianti loud and clear at just above your range. And Molino di Grace's basic Chianti Classico is right at $15 and a terrific wine. Lately, I'm drinking more Sangio than anything else--but let's not let too many folks in on the secret, eh?

    Mar 12, 2014 at 4:34 PM

  • Snooth User: kateSmith
    1479803 17

    I have tried this before and i thought it was OK.

    Mar 17, 2014 at 9:43 AM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 7,306

    I bought the Casamatta the other day at Costco for $7.87. I tried it last night and can't recall a better < $10 wine. Today, I clicked on the link in the in the "Syrah Under $15" article and found that it had been discussed here. We are returning to Costco, later today, to pick up some prescriptions. I'll probably pick up more of the Casamatta, also.

    Apr 08, 2014 at 4:39 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749

    Pretty amazing what you can find if you're willing to experiment. $8, that is a steal!

    Apr 08, 2014 at 4:57 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 7,306

    Greg, are you still monitoring this? Here is an interesting follow-up.

    When I went back to Costco, the other day, they were out of the Casamatta. That is really not surprising for several reasons, but let me continue. Yesterday, I was at a favorite wine store that is not really close to home, Wine Club in Santa Ana, but I was in the neighborhood and dropped in. Well, I pretty much blew the budget within my first few steps in the store. I really like Lewis Cellars Cabernets and Chardonnays, and they had a display of multiple bottlings. So, into my cart they went. There was a clerk there who saw my interest in Lewis Chardonnay, and recommended some other California and Burgundy examples.

    Now, I'm just pushing my cart up and down the aisle to see what else might catch my eye and interest me. I'm in the Italian section, and there it is -- Casamatta for $8.99. OK it's a buck more than Costco, but who cares? So, into my cart go some Casamattas. When I was unloading and cataloging at home I noticed something unusual. Let me say at this point the graphics on the Costco bottles and the Wine Club bottles are the same -- big yellow-orange abstract splash above the text "Casamatta." However, the bottle from Costco was vintage dated 2011 and was described as "Toscana Indicazione Geografica Tipica." The bottle from WIne Club has only the word "Rosso" and is non-vintage. The Costco bottle does not have the word "Rosso" on it.

    I am not upset about this situation. I am relatively confident that I will enjoy the non-vintage Rosso as much as I enjoyed the 2011 Toscana IGT. I can see that others my be upset about the same packaging and the same generic name being applied to two different wines.

    As another aside, while continuing my wander through the aisles, I also picked up a bottle of the Del Cerro Rosso di Montepulciano ($10.98). I see that one was also reviewed in this article. Spooky

    Apr 15, 2014 at 6:22 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749

    Yes, I'm still here.

    That is some tricky business though! I would try the wine but still, that just doesn't sit right with me.

    I hope you enjoy the Dei, another great value. More interested to hear your impressions of the Casamatta rosso. It should be fine but it is a bit of a bait and switch on the consumer.

    Apr 15, 2014 at 8:16 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 7,306

    Well, Greg, it's actually pretty good. The most obvious differences are that the NV Rosso version is neither as fruity nor as acidic as the '11 Toscana IGT. Certainly, inoffensive and, certainly at $8.99 not a rip-off, but not nearly the find as the one that you reviewed, above. Tonight is a clean-out-the-refrigerator extemporized dinner. So, I will be happy with this and Mrs. EMark will be happy with the Chardonnay that she opened, last night.

    Being a retired kinda guy, I have plenty of time to research things on the web. That's what it's for, isn't it? To teach me things. It is much easier to find articles and comments about the '11 IGT than the NV Rosso. However, there was this article from Wine Spectator posted about a year ago:

    It doesn't exactly say it, but the way I infer, the "Casamatta" label is going to be a non-vintage solera wine from now on. I'm guessing that the '11 was the last vintage Toscana IGT Casamatta,

    Here is a paper from the importer's site that talks a little about it, but really does not add that much over the WS article.

    Apr 21, 2014 at 7:39 PM

  • Gabbiano makes a pretty nice Chianti at a pretty nice price.

    Oct 05, 2016 at 11:08 PM

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