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Home >> Other >> 2009 Leonetti Cellar Sangiovese
2009 Leonetti Cellar Sangiovese
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Size=750 ml, RP[91]

"I confess that my heart sinks a bit whenever I read the name of this grape variety on an American wine label because I've tasted one disappointment after another, but the Leonetti 2009 Sangiovese transported me smilingly straight to Tuscany before gently reminding me that it had a distinctly delicious personality, thank you, needing no Old World validation. (Its 8% Syrah component is not novel, though not all growers of Sangiovese would own up to that.) I don't think there is much mystery about what makes this wine so expressive and successful. Gentle fermentative extraction in open-top wooden uprights is followed by maturation in large ovals and demi-muids rather than barriques...and not too many of them new, either. This cepage had been in the Leonetti line-up since 1995, so when the decision was made to move into estate-bottling mode, a place was found for it both in the Seven Hills and Loess vineyards. Roasted chestnut, game, violet, and lightly-cooked cherry rise from the glass, then inform a palate whose sense of tannic grit is not at all coarse but sufficient to add invigoration and almost certainly enhance this wine's adaptability at table. While I strongly suspect that low-level brett is responsible for some of the personality on exhibit here - and in consequence I'd monitor stocks carefully if planning to cellar any - it, for now, in no way lacks for lip-smacking primary juiciness that extends all the way through a vibrant, saliva-liberating finish. And the liveliness here, incidentally, isn't on account of any acid adjustment (though Figgins did add tartaric to selected lots of Cabernet and Merlot in this vintage, as he says he typically will one year in three). "We love what Sangiovese does," says Gary Figgins, "but viticulturally it's a challenge. We found, for instance, that interior berries weren't getting good exposure, so now we go through right after bloom with a hair comb" to remove one third or more of the embryonic fruit within each cluster." - David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate #204 (Dec 26, 2012)