Friday, May 23, 2014

WA Sangiovese v. Chianti Classico

After a few days in Ireland the pro cyclists boarded several airplanes to fly to the far South of Italy to start the Giro d'Italia properly last week.  They followed a route that went Southwest and then made a hard right turn and started North.  The route covered a variety of DOCs that feature the Sangiovese grape.  The route also featured a high number of crashes and top rider casualties.  This year's race has been a bit weird...

This week's Lucha Vino challenge pays tribute to Italy's grand grape, Sangiovese.

2011 Kaella Sangiovese v. 1995 Fattoria de Falsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva

Tale of the Tape

2011 Kaella Sangiovese

86% Sangiovese (Ciel du Cheval Vineyard)
7% Cabernet Sauvignon (Ambassador Vineyard)
7% Merlot (Connor Lee Vineyard)

Purchased on Berserker Day in a three pack direct from the winery.

1995 Fattoria de Falsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva

100% Sangiovese from a variety of vineyards in the Chianti Classsico DOCG.

Purchased from Garagiste for $36.91.

Round 1.  First opening

Chianti Classico has been producing wines for generations.  To really hammer that point home the Italian challenger has brought out a 1995 vintage for this challenge.

The Felsina is showing some signs of age, but that isn't deterring this challenger.  The nose is showing earthy wet forest floor, light spices, medium red cherries and candle wax.  The palate is light and bright featuring tart cherry notes followed by a dry tart finish.

Kaella is bringing the power right from the start.  The nose features dark cherries, hints of lemon zest and earthy wax notes.  The palate is showing dried cherries, tart spices and a floral white pepper finish.

You have to admire the old timer from Chianti's spirit but it was really no match for the youthful Washington Sangiovese.  Round 1 goes to Kaella.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

The Felsina is trying to regain its composer and mount a counter attack.  The nose is darker and more funky with notes of dark cherry, forest floor and earthy mushroom.  The palate is also slightly bulked up with dry smoky cherries and light spices on a dry finish.

The Kaella Luchador is showing no signs of slowing down.  The nose is showing dark black fruit, cherries, leather and earthy mineral spices.  The palate also features dark cherries along with white pepper and dry herbal notes that are rounded out with a finish of dry white pepper.

Kaella takes another round with a resounding display of power.

Round 3.  One day after opening

The only chance the Luchador from Chianti Classico has is a total knock out.  Can the wily veteran mount a surprise attack and take the victory from its youthful Washington Adversary?  Let's find out.

Felsina has lost a step and some of its swagger.  The nose puts up a good front with funky, slightly smoky dark cherry notes.  The palate is tasting a bit watered down with tart dried cherries and an equally dry tart finish that is slightly metallic.

Kaella is showing some stamina carrying over the force from the early rounds.  Looking to put an early end to the final round the Washington State Luchador flies into the ring with a surprisingly agile body slam from the top turnbuckle.  The nose is showing dark cherry and earthy cedar spices.  The palate is similar with dark cherries, dry white pepper spices and a finish of dried flowers and white pepper.

That's a wrap as the Kaella Luchador scores a TKO on the Chianti Classico challenger from Tuscany!

Wrap up and overall observations.

I'm not sure how many years Sangiovese is expected to last.  This (nearly) 20 year old Chianti Classico was showing its age, but still had a decent amount of character left.  This wine would be best enjoyed on day one.

The Kaella Sangiovese is made in a Super Tuscan style with 86% Sangiovese and equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (7%) thrown into the mix.  The Sagiovese comes from the Ciel du Cheaval vineyard with Merlot from the Wahluke slope and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Red Mountain.  These two AVAs feature some rich expressive grapes and that character shows through in this excellent Super Tuscan style wine from Kaella Winery. 

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