Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Washington Sangiovese vs. Chianti

You can't argue with Italian style and this past weekend the Strade Bianche proved that point.  Italy hosted one of the coolest and most stylish one day races of the year in Tuscany last weekend.  The Strade Bianche includes 8 stretches of white gravel and dirt roads making up 70 kilometres of the 190 total km in the race, hence the name.  Depending on the weather it can be a dust storm or a mud bath for the racers.

This Saturday's race was dry and challenging (like a one day classic should be).  There were many strategic moves made by Team Radio Shack with Fabian Cancellara making the final decisive move soloing to victory from 10k to go in the race.  Cancellara won this race in 2008 and destroyed the Belgian Spring Classics in 2010.  He is also a multi-time world champion in the Time Trial discipline, so it is no surprise when he tears the legs off the rest of the field like he did in this year's Strade Bianche.

This week's Lucha Vino Challenge features a Sangiovese from Washington taking on a Chianti Challenger from Tuscany.  Let's see if one of these Luchadors tears apart its opponent!

2008 Covington Cellars Sangiovese v. 2006 Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico

Tale of the Tape

2008 Covington Cellars Sangiovese

100% Sangiovese with the majority from Seven Hills rounded out with fruit from Kiona and Kestrel Vineyards.

Aged in 20% new oak

Purchased at the winery for $25.00

2006 Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico

100% Sangiovese barrel aged for 12 months

Purchased from Garagiste for $16.99

Round 1.  First Opening

The Covington Cellars Sangiovese makes an early introduction with a nose of pie cherry, toasty earth and spices.  The palate is showing tart pie cherry with a super tart finish that includes hints of cedar and spices.  This Washington Sangio seems to be mocking the Italian Challenger by imitating the Chianti's style.

The Castello di Bossi is not amused showing a nose of wet earth, mineral, leather and pie cherries.  The palate fires off with ripe tart red fruit and raspberry with a tart leather finish.

These Luchadors are pretty evenly matched with the Castello di Bossi taking the first round based on complexity in its character and that unmistakable Italian style.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

Covington has changed styles like a boxer switching form righty to south paw.  Bulking up and getting burly the Covington Crusher is showing a nose of dark red berries, cedar spices and earthy leather.  The palate is full of dark rich fruit finishing with spicy tart cedar character.

The di Bossi has warmed up a bit with a nose featuring pie cherry and Asian spices.  The palate is primarily tart pie cherries with a very dry tart cedar finish.

Covington Cellars overpowered di Bossi leaving no doubt as to the winner of round two.  This round was so decisive there are shout outs in the arena calling for the "Covington Chianti Crusher."

Round 3. One day after Opening

Heading in to the final round the match is even at 1-1.  Who will rise to the occasion?

The Chianti Crusher is working to live up to its new name continuing to build power with a nose of earthy dark red fruit, leather, a bit of menthol and some shoe polish (in a good way).  The palate is dark currants, clove and eucalyptus spices that really reach out and grab you on the finish with some tart cocoa and espresso notes added for good measure.

The di Bossi is looking slightly dazed and certainly confused.  Staying true to its heritage the di Bossi remains consistent with a nose of dark red cherries and asian cedar spices.  The palate is juicy red cherries full of tartness that ends with a very dry finish.

Style will carry you only so far in the wrestling ring.  Sadly, the di Bossi has learned this lesson the hard way taking some serious punishment from the Covington Chianti Crusher.

Covington Cellars takes the final round winning the match 2 - 1.

Wrap up and over all observations

The young upstart from Washington showed little respect for the Italian challenger in this bout.  The real difference showed up in round two and three.  In round one both of these Luchadors showed very similar styles.  With time (and air) the Sangiovese from Washington developed into a bigger, richer and fuller wine. 

The Castello di Bossi did blossom, but not as dramatically as the Convington Cellars.  You could hear some muted cries from the di Bossi for some food assistance.  The character of the Chianti from Italy makes me think it would make a great partner for a big plate of pasta smothered in marinara sauce.

I give the Covington Cellars Sangiovese an 88 and the Castello di Bossi an 86.

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