Life’s too short, even for a cat with nine lives. So rather than push my luck, the other night I dug into my cellar of “older” vintages and pounced on my 2006 Sangiovese from Solis Winery. I wanted something that would stand up to a hearty red pasta sauce I was preparing made from fresh tomatoes grown in my father’s garden and sautéed with sundried tomatoes packed in oil; seasoned with fresh Oregon (also from my father’s garden), thyme, sage and basil; and finished off with some dollops of marinara sauce.
I purchased the 2006 Sangiovese, which was produced from Estates grapes grown in California’s Santa Clara Valley, without trying it. At the time, the wine was a wine-club-only pick, but the winery was kind enough to sell me a bottle. (Having had earlier vintages, my friend Shelli—who has an exceptional palate—recommended I buy it.)
Garnet in color, this wine’s bouquet is intense with blackberry, supported by earthy, dusty undertones. The palate is all Dr. Pepper without the fizz: lots of black cherry and cola surrounded by spice so intense the finish lasts for seconds on end.
Only 14.5 percent alcohol, this vintage has nicely balanced acid and medium—yet noticeable—tannins. Deliciously chewy upon uncorking, the 2006 Sangiovese goes the distance. The structure held up on day 2. By day 3, the wine softened on most fronts—except for the spice, which kept on giving. I can’t wait to get my paws on the current vintage.