The other night during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, I opened my 2008 Cienega Valley Sangiovese from Pietra Santa Winery. My neighbor joined me in what we thought would be a “full-bodied” speech. As it turned out, the wine had a lot more to say.
However, there was no guarantee that the wine would outshine the President’s address. Just a few weeks earlier, I opened a bottle of 2008 Sangiovese from a different winery and the wine had fallen apart. While young Sangioveses are meant to be consumed fairly early in their lives, others such as the Super Tuscans have the potential to cellar for up to 20 years. So I figured that waiting five years to open one of my “Sangios” wasn’t too long. Then again, maybe so, given that I’m 21, which is ancient in cat years.
Anyway, I digress. The 2008 Pietra Santa did not disappoint, not in the slightest. Located 25 miles east of Monterey Bay, the winery has rock and limestone soils that keep yields low. The result is an expressive and flavorful wine produced from estate-grown grapes.
Viscous and full-bodied, with a pomegranate hue, the 2008 Sangiovese expresses aromas of cherry, cranberry, sage and anise. The palate explodes with sharp acidity (perfect for cutting through sassy tomato-based dishes), sour red cherry and bold tannins followed by hints of black pepper and cinnamon—leaving the mouth warm and tingling. For as bold as this wine is, I was surprised by its supple finish.
The 2008 Sangiovese from Pietra Santa pairs well with a variety of fare. Now if only it can bring the “two parties” closer together.