Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Mitchell Katz Sangiovese Crackerbox Vineyards

Mitchell Katz Winery

2004 Sangiovese, Crackerbox Vineyards
(Livermore Valley)

Mitch Katz, winemaker at Mitchell Katz Winery in Livermore, wonders year after year: how do John Canfield and Courtney Cooke, the self-deterministic owners and caretakers of Crackerbox Vineyard, do it? He knows they meticulously maintain their vineyard, caring for each vine as if it were their flesh and blood. In a sense, they are. He knows these two growers care more about the health of their vineyard than most people care about their own. Yet, how do they consistently pick those grapes at just the right moment? It’s all about pulling in the fruit while it’s still wild, child. Just before it takes the extra leap into the sugar zone.

Mitch has been making some very fine wine from this vineyard, and this 2004 is one of the best yet. He’s grateful to have access to this premium fruit from what is becoming an increasingly popular place to plant Italian varieties, including Sangiovese and Barbera.

This 100% Sangiovese is a beautiful inky-dark purple, like a perfect Italian Chianti. It bursts forth with aromas of cherries, basil and earthy clay, promising a rich and satisfying experience: it most certainly delivers. This is not always the case with wines that have a promising nose. Having just returned from judging the 2006 Indy International Competition, I can say that it was with great frequency that I encountered wines of promising aroma, only to be bleakly disappointed by the lack of follow-through on the palate. Not so here. This is a big wine with chewy plums, a hint of sweet cherries; followed by bright acid, roasted sweet sun dried tomatoes, cedar, basil and oregano. The finish is thyme, pepper, and sweet roasted onion, all wrapped in a smooth package of velvety tannins. This is a stand-up food wine that won’t back down. If you serve it with a dish that incorporates sun dried tomatoes and basil, you will call out these flavors like an orchestra conductor asking the violas to play a little louder: forté, forté, mille grazie!

(Alc: 14.8%, Retail: $22)

Reviewed August 6, 2006 by Laura Ness.

The Wine

Winery: Mitchell Katz Winery
Vineyard: Crackerbox Vineyards
Vintage: 2004
Wine: Sangiovese
Appellation: Livermore Valley
Grape: Sangiovese
Price: 750ml $22.00

Review Date: 8/6/2006

The Reviewer

Laura Ness

A wine writer and wine judge for major publications and competitions around the country, Laura Ness likens wine to the experience of music. She is always looking for that ubiquitous marriage of rhythm, melody, and flawless execution. What is good music? You know it when you get lost in it. What is good wine? It is music in your mouth.