2015 CARBONIC SANGIOVESE
A few years ago, our friend Peter Pastan asked us to make a light, food-friendly Sangiovese for his Washington DC restaurant, 2 Amys. Back in 2009, we had attempted to make a lighter styled “La Coppa” Sangiovese for the restaurant market. To make La Coppa, we harvested and bottled the Sangiovese early aiming for high acid, food friendly wine. La Coppa Sangiovese ended up needing a couple years in bottle for the fruit to flesh out and envelop the wine’s austere tannin structure. Because the traditional fermentation produced a rough finish, we went back to the drawing board in pursuit of an approachable, delicious, and fresh version of Sangiovese.
To give Peter a young wine that his guests would enjoy immediately, we next experimented with carbonic fermentation. By skipping the step of crushing the grapes, the whole berries remain largely intact through fermentation and very little tannin is extracted from the skins. The absence of oxygen through fermentation provides additional freshness, and the wine exudes a crisp, firm dark cherry flavor. We loved the wine so much we immediately began bottling it for our customers, not just Peter’s.
Like all of our 2015 wines, Carbonic Sangiovese shows more flavor intensity due to low yields. The wine might be a shade darker than the ‘14. With just a little more depth of flavor, the wine scores high on the deliciousness index and should be enjoyed young and cold.
AT THE WINERY
Handling the whole clusters gently by hand, we pile them into our compact stainless steel fermenting tanks. Before sealing the tank, assistant winemaker John Faulkner added a small pitcher of fermenting Chardonnay to ensure yeasts were active inside. After seven days, John drew a sample from the tank’s spigot and noted only a small decrease in sugar. To prod on fermentation, he popped the seal and added a pitcher of fermenting Syrah to re-inoculate the tank. After another week, John unloaded the tank into the press a la forklift, and then let the wine rest in neutral barrels up until January bottling.
Irresistible fresh cherry and berry aroma blossom out of the glass. Behind the beautiful primary fruit lies layers of rhubarb and thin skinned, delicate Santa Rosa plums. Serve it chilled for the most crowd pleasing “adult fruit punch” experience of the wine world. My only dilemma is how to describe a chilled red wine to folks, Ruben calls it “Rosé con Cojones”.
Warning: do not show up to a picnic with just one bottle!