Top 5 Domestic Sangiovese

The leaders from California


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2008 Pietra Santa Sangiovese Cienega Valley $19 14.5%

This smells intense. At first it is low and dusty, and very stony on the nose, then come light notes of jammy red fruit accented by Maduro tobacco, briarwood and sage with a background note of cumin. Very broad in the mouth with a nice transparent feel, though air does add weight here. The fruit is bright cherry fruit, a little bitter around the edges and offset by soft, leafy greens and rusty iron notes. This regains pretty impressive focus on the finish where the fruit offers a lingering interplay of sweet and bitter cherries. There’s excellent underlying structure as well, with tannin that cuts decisively and a lingering granitic, stony finale. 92pts

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  • Snooth User: cccanale
    987521 0

    I appreciate your list and while I realize that there are far to many great Cali Sangioveses for this list to be able to even scratch the surface, I am always interested in how you whittle things down to just 5. Do you focus on wines that highlight the essence of the sangiovese grape? My first experience with Cali produced sangiovese was from Altamura. And while this wine may lack in the traditional high acid tight tannin I often expect from it's Italian cousin, the pure surprise of its warm fruit punch seemed worth the price of admission. Just wondering if this wine was considered and cut form your list.

    Mar 06, 2012 at 11:24 AM

  • Snooth User: shsim
    Hand of Snooth
    1032666 1,295

    Wonderful list with a range of prices for everyone. I agree with cccanale, how do you usually narrow down what to put on these articles?

    Mar 06, 2012 at 12:10 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 7,302

    I'm pleased to see Field Stone getting the attention and praise. I have never been disappointed with one of their wines.

    Mar 06, 2012 at 2:31 PM

  • Sobon Estate Vineyards 2009 Sangiovese
    Greg your take on this dry viticulture wine, please. It seems a wine must be cellared to get high marks. This wine was wonderful tonight. and I don't care if will be better 5 years after I'm dead. This wine is not ashamed of it fruit, and keeps a little bite of tannin. The posters above don't seem to realize you can't taste them all, and some wineries make their product much more "accessible" to you.

    Mar 06, 2012 at 8:58 PM

  • I have been a fan of California sangiovese ever since acquiring some Phoenix Vineyards "Blood of Jupiter." I look forward to seeing which of these my local wine shop offers. Thanks.

    Mar 06, 2012 at 10:42 PM

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

    I'll tell the winemakers at Two Mile you liked it, glad you got to try it--unfortunately the website is down right now for revamping. It can also develop a mushroomy flavor with some air, in my recollection. It's definitely not a bashful one. They made some terrific Petite Sirah, too, but this was, to me, the star of their lineup. Many of the California Sangios, IMO, fall apart quickly, but not so with the Two Mile.

    Mar 07, 2012 at 6:01 PM

  • Agree with cccanale, and glad to see our neighbor, Fieldstone, getting high marks. For those that love a pure Sagiovese in small lots , or highly awarded Sangiovese-driven blends, Windsor Oaks Winery has a long record of awards and fans for our Estate wines. We are on the geographic edge of where this varietal ripens, and I enjoy working our Summit vineyard block at the top of the mountain to deliver very age-worthy Sangios. Julie Lumgair (winemaker) Article with more details:

    Apr 07, 2012 at 7:14 PM

  • I had a bottle of the 2008 Stolpman Sangiovese Estate Grown last night and it was hands down the best California Sangiovese I've ever had. I just ordered a case from their web site.

    May 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM

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