With the upcoming trip to Italy I have been consuming all the Italian wines I can get my hands on. For this second installment of Dueling Wines we decided, since we will be staying in prime Chianti country, that we would pick a couple of Sangiovese blends to pit against each other. The grape name Sangiovese derives from the Latin sanguis Jovis, which means the blood of Jupiter, so I guess the Romans liked drinking metaphorical blood even before they became Catholic. When the grape is younger it takes on a more fruity spicy flavor, but once it has been aged for a bit, it becomes more earthy and oaky flavors. Sangiovese is well known for its naturally well balanced structure and flavors and is Italy’s most widely planted grape.
The first wine we tried was the Tenuta Di Ghizzano il Ghizzano Costa Toscana IGT Blend, 2012, a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot. The Costa Toscana is a fairly new subdivision of the Toscana IGT, and it is from the coastal regions, obviously. IGT (standing for Indicazione Geografica Tipica) was created to be a classification of Italian wines (like DOC or DOCG), specifically it usually refers to the “Super Tuscans” that do not meet all the traditional requirements of the stricter classifications. With the more liberal methods used to make IGT wines, chianti-like red blends are abundant in this category. Out of the two wines this one was slightly fruitier, especially on the nose. It had notes of dark berries, black berry and cherry, as well as some minerality. The wine is made from certified organic grapes, I got it at Whole Foods, so no surprise there, which is a plus depending on the way you look at it. The tannins and acidity were fairly light so I don’t think I would drink this wine much past this point as it doesn’t seem that it would age well. It’s not a very complex wine, but perfect to drink with dinner and would pair well with things from chicken (or the lamb we were eating) to something a little heavier. Overall I give it an 8.8.
The second bottle gets an A+ for presentation with its pretty packaging and little wax seal stamp on the side. The Carpineto Dogajolo Toscano Sangiovese Blend, 2013, is also an IGT Sangiovese blend, with 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This Toscana IGT represents one of the most common types of blends in the region, especially the areas near Pisa , Florence, and Siena. This blend balances the dark berry flavors that are typical of Sangiovese with the Cabernet Sauvignon. It has more of a tart cherry flavor than the previous wine but it balances well with a more oaky flavor. I will say it had a kind of funky smell which I had to acclimate to before I was able to enjoy the wine itself. This is definitely a pizza wine, actually both of the wines we tried would be great with pizza. Maybe it was because of the slightly weird smell but I liked this one slightly less than the first on so I give it an 8.7. To conclude, both wines were good to sip on with dinner, like a Chianti, yet they weren’t standout wines. They didn’t have that savory punch that you might expect from a Tuscan wine containing predominantly Sangiovese. But, each of these bottles was under $20 so for that price, if you are looking for a decent wine to drink while you curl up on the couch with some pizza and watch the latest Netflix series, either would be a good pick.