2019 Sangiovese West Terrace
VARIETAL/VINEYARD: In 1992, my dad was hell-bent to plant Sangiovese. He and Linda had been visiting his Tuscan relatives throughout the 1980’s, which is where he found his wine muse—great Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino. George sourced Sangiovese plant material via Jess Jackson, not knowing it was Sangiovese Grosso, the clone responsible for Brunello wine. Buona Fortuna! Our Sangiovese West Terrace is just that—fruit from ten rows located on the west terrace of a hillside vineyard. Every year it produces our most serious, complex, and age worthy Sangiovese, due to its site, which receives primarily morning sunlight. Along with our Benchland Syrah, West Terrace is our version of a “Grand Cru.”
VINTAGE/HARVEST: 2019 was an outstanding vintage, which is quite evident in our Sangiovese West Terrace. We harvested this block on September 25th, which is later than normal. The extended hang time resulted in a more complex version of a California Brunello. Always great color and structure (both tannin and acid), with classic Sangiovese character. Our West Terrace Sangiovese has helped me understand why producers in Montalcino release their Brunello’s in the fifth year after the vintage.
WINEMAKING: Our Sangiovese is de-stemmed, with most of the berries intact in tank and kept below 60 degrees, for several days prior to spontaneous fermentation by indigenous yeast. We punch down or pump over the must daily, during fermentation. To preserve Sangiovese’s delicate fruity quality, we try to handle it as little as possible during the aging process. We feel this Sangiovese has the depth and concentration to be aged in 25% new French oak barrels for 17 months. It is 100% Sangiovese.
STYLE/DESCRIPTION: For many years, we labeled this lot “Riserva” because it was clearly the best Sangiovese we made, showing dark color, intense cherry fruit and great tannin structure. Beginning in 2018, we changed the name to West Terrace, which is a more accurate term. The’19 West Terrace has more precision, complexity, and balance than many years, making it more true to Tuscany. Unfortunately, we can’t magically expand the section of this vineyard to make more wine—so production is limited to 100 cases. Try to hold off from drinking this wine too quickly. It will surely reward you in several years, and last much longer if you so desire. - MU