Santi Pinot Grigio Sortesele 2004
Pinot Gris/Grigio from Veneto, Italy
This classy Pinot Grigio is made in a traditional manner being vinified and aged solely in stainless steel. The end result is a bright straw yellow color with an unusual elegance. The bouquet is concentrated with exotic fruits, lemon and lime. It is rich in mouth feel with a long lingering after taste.
Santi traces its origins to 1843, when Carlo Santi established a wine cellar in Illasi, near Verona and Lake Garda. The original winery, very attractively renovated, still houses the winemaking facilities and aging cellar and stands on the plain below Castello d'Illasi, a ruined medieval fortress. Santi specializes in Veneto and Trentino wines. In addition to experimenting with the benefits of aging in new French oak barrels (barriques) for wines such as their single vineyard Trentino Chardonnay I Piovi, Santi emphasizes new techniques to improve the quality of their wines.
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Located in Northeast Italy, near the Austrian border, and one of the three regions making up the Tre-Venezie, Veneto is most famous for its city of love, Venice. In the wine world, Veneto is the top volume producer in the north of Italy. Production includes lovely spritzy Proseccos (also the grape name), as well as the easy-drinking white wine of Soave (made from the white grape, Garganega) and the red wine of Amarone.
The wine of Soave is most common white wine made here. Occasionally you can find an exceptional Soave, but for the most part the wine is easy-drinking and refreshingly pleasant. For the reds, the most popular are Amarone and Valpolicella – both made primarily from the good structured Corvina grape. While Amarone is always made in the recioto method (drying out the grapes to intensify the flavor), Valpolicella has a few different levels. Amarone is made from very ripe grapes, which are then dried and then pressed, producing an opulent, concentrated, full-bodied wine that has a distinctive and powerful taste that stays with you. Not for the lighter fare meal, this wine is almost port-like and delicious with cheese and/or dessert. Valpolicella can also be made in the recioto method, but it's more often
found in a dry style – the wine goes up in rank, from Valpolicella to Valpolicella Classico to Valpolicella Classico Superiore. And finally, the bubbly of Veneto – Prosecco. Made from the same-named grape, Prosecco is less fizzy than Champagne and occasionally has a slight sweetness. It's absolutely delicious as a value aperitif.
A little ditty about Italy...
This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass
of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.