Amanda Schuster

Wine and spirits writer/consultant/marketer. Spirits expert w in depth knowledge of Spanish, Portuguese and Loire/Languedoc wines (you might say "bi-spiritual.") NYC born and bred food lover. Sometime jewelry designer. Overall broad about town.

Crazy for Sangiovese

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Rocca di Montegrossi Rosato (2010)
Comments: Deep pink hue and a little frizzante. Ripe raspberry and strawberry flavors with a little acidity and warm spice. A great rose for a red wine-drinking naysayer. Points off for what are probably unintentional bubbles.
Previously available for $17.99
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2 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina (2009)
Comments: Looks are deceiving! Light-bodied in appearance, but much more weighty on the palate, with dark fruit flavors and even a little smoke on the nose. Keeps evolving in the glass.
Average price: $16.75 from 8 stores
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3 Chateau St Jean Cabernet Cinq Cepages (2009)
Comments: Bright, tart fruit with a balanced acidity, woodsy flavors (pinecone, cedar), good weight and smoothness. Very well balanced.
Average price: $62.59 from 38 stores
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4 Paolo Bea Montefalco Rosso Vigna San Valentino (2006)
Comments: Whenever I see this on a wine list (any vintage) I go for it. A highly versatile wine that never disappoints. So well structured that each layer seems to match whatever flavor profile is needed to go with food, or just to sip alone. Wish I owned more bottles!
Previously available for $51.78
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5 Lungarotti Supertuscan Blend Umbria IGT San Giorgio (2007)
Comments: This blend is a great balance of fruit and floral. Dark berries with violet and lilac, very smooth and balanced. Nothing overpowers the other. And for THAT price?
Average price: $15.99 from 5 stores
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6 Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico (2008)
Comments: Dark and earthy, bitter chocolate bark with cherries and cedar. Rich and flavorful. Definitely tastes more expensive than it is.
Average price: $12.99 from 1 store
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7 Carpineta Fontalpino Chianti Classico (2009)
Comments: This is a solid Chianti. Needs a little air to get going, but once this happens, the flavors soften and keep giving. Dark cherry, plum and violets with just enough of that Chianti-esque rusticity. Fantastic everyday wine for meals in.
Average price: $25.99 from 1 store
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8 Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva (1990)
Comments: This wine was surprisingly giving and alive, despite its advanced age (these things can go either way, as we know). Thankfully, this bottle aged with grace, and kept getting better in the glass. Excellent perfume and structure, with lip-smacking cherry, bark and almost hamlike, meaty flavors with some good residual acidity. If you're lucky enough to have a bottle of this, drink it soon.
Previously available for $195.00
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9 Sean Thackrey Red Blend California Pleiades XXI Old Vines (NV)
Comments: Perfect example of how to break the rules in style. This is a non-vintage blend of Sangiovese, Viognier and Pinot Noir. Turns out these tastes taste great together, and you don't need to declare a vintage! Stewy spices - dill, mint, bay leaf - toasty vanilla, sweet cherries, a little chutney-like. Sounds crazy, but it totally works!
Previously available for $31.99
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10 Banfi Centine Rosso Tuscany (2009)
Comments: Fresh and approachable. Cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruits up front with just enough tannin to keep it real. Tastes like something way more expensive!
Average price: $12.99 from 6 stores
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