Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Pietra-Santa Vineyards and Winery 2003 Sangiovese  (Cienega Valley)

Pietra-Santa Vineyards and Winery

2003 Sangiovese
(Cienega Valley)

Pietra Santa means “sacred stone,” a reference to this San Benito County estate’s granite and limestone soils left behind after thousands of years of geological movement caused by the San Andreas Fault.

Although the winery produces a variety of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, there’s a decidedly Italian flavor to the place. Pietra Santa’s winemaker, Alessio Carli, is a native of Siena, Italy – Chinati country – and worked at Badia a Coltibuono, so it should come as no surprise that he has a way with Sangiovese.

This wine, which is 100 percent Sangiovese produced exclusively from grapes grown on the Pietra Santa estate, would never be mistaken for Chianti: It’s riper and higher in alcohol (about 15 percent) than its Tuscan cousins, with fruit that tends more to black cherry rather than Chianti’s red cherry. The wine, which spends more than two years of aging in seasoned French oak barrels, also displays some oak flavors that would be unusual in Italy. Still, it’s a very tasty Sangiovese that would make a nice companion to grilled meat (think a nice steak or tri-tip), some sort of mushroom dish or even a zesty pizza. And its $20 price tag is easy to manage.

Reviewed January 15, 2007 by Laurie Daniel.

The Wine

Winery: Pietra-Santa Vineyards and Winery
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Sangiovese
Appellation: Cienega Valley
Grape: Sangiovese
Price: 750ml $20.00

Review Date: 1/15/2007

The Reviewer

Laurie Daniel

Laurie Daniel, wine columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, has been reviewing wine for more than 10 years. She doesn’t use numbers, preferring to describe her recommended wines and let consumers decide for themselves. Laurie believes that bigger isn’t necessarily better; she’s partial to wines of balance, finesse and character. Her particular interests are Pinot Noir (versions that really taste like Pinot, that is) and aromatic whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.