Monday, May 9, 2011

Washington Sangiovese v. Italy

The Giro d' Italia started on Saturday with a Team Time Trial in the North of Italy and is heading South down the West Coast.  The stage on Tuesday will finish in Livorno, the home town for a friend of mine's family.  The selection for this week is based out of Tuscany - Walla Walla Sangiovese vs. the defacto standard for this grape - Tuscany.  Let the battle begin! 

Washington State Sangiovese v. Italian Sangiovese from Tusscany

2007 5 Star Cellar Sangiovese v. 2007 Felsina Chianti Classico Reserva

Tale of the tape

2007 5 Star Cellar Sangiovese
100% Sangiovese from the Blue Mountain, Pepperbridge and Seven Hills vineyards aged in 2 and 3 year old barrels.
Purchased for $25.50 at Corky Cellars.

2007 Felsina Chiati Classico Resrva
100% Sangiovese barrel aged for 12 months then 3-6 months in the bottle.

Purchased for $25.99 at Esquin (thanks for helping me make the Luchador selection this week). 

Round 1.  First Opening:

Our Luchador from Washington State has quite the swagger due to a close Super Tuscan match back in April and a bottle signed by the wine maker at 5 Star Cellars.  He has even requested a nick name of simply Wx2.  Let's see if Wx2 can deliver on the swagger...

Wx2 is big right from the start with a nose of smoke, toast and bright cherry with some hints of sour peat bog.  The palate is dark cherry and cedar spice with a nice spicy tannic finish that tails off with lots of sweet cherry character.

Felsina is showing lots of oaky character, dark cherry fruit and a bit of baking spice on the nose with a very dry palate that is predominantly light cherry.  The finish is like dry-z-air in your mouth, sucking out most of the moisture.

Round 1 is close, but goes to 5 Star Cellars aka Wx2 

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

Wx2 has built up some more character to match its swagger.  The nose is big black fruit and cherry with lots of oak dominated spice.  The palate is black cherry, baking spice and a bit of toast that leads to a slightly pepper and spicy bold finish.

Felsina develops some more cedar, leather and cinnamon spice on the nose.  The palate is floral, slightly bitter cherry with a slightly spicy finish.

The Felisna Luchador is nimble, light and agile, but no match for the bigger bruising Wx2.

Round 2 is a bit more decisive and goes to 5 Star again.

Round 3. One day later

Wx2 one day later has lost a bit of power, but is still showing significant strength.  The nose is cherry, currant and a bit of leather.  The palate is cherry, slightly sour currants and a long tart pie cherry finish.

Felsina has also mellowed a bit and is showing a nose of cherry, dust and some cedar.  The palate is pretty dry, showing mostly cherry with a finish that has a bit of tart cedar mingled with the cherry.

Round 3 goes to 5 Star Cellars.

Wrap up and over all observations

Another match totally dominated by the Luchador from Washington state.  The Italian Chianti Classico tried to step up, but was no match for the bigger, bolder Luchador from Walla Walla.

Both wines were good representatives of the Sangiovese grape.  The Walla Walla entrant proved to be slightly bigger, much bolder and also had the staying power to follow through on a dominating 3 round performance.

I would rate the Felsina an 86 and the 5 Star Cellars an 88.

A Final Thought

Keep the pro racers, friends and families in your prayers.  Wouter Weylandt died after a fatal crash in Monday's stage of the Giro d' Italia.  Wouter was a very close friend of Tyler Farrar.  Tyler is a pro racer from Wenatchee WA and is one of the top sprinters in the world today.  Tyler is racing in the Giro d' Italia for the Garmin Cervelo team.

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