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Kuleto Estate Sangiovese 1998
This wine, made from fruit hand-picked from 19 distinct planting blocks of Sangiovese, is naturally layered and complex, making what we feel is a delicious and powerful expression of just how good a California Sangio can be. We hope to make you, too, a believer in this versatile, fun-to-drink, Italian varietal.
Spicy dark fruits, smoky aroma, layers of baked plums and dark chocolate with a rich nuance of anise.
Gently pressed and fermented using native yeast under guidance of Winemaster John Konsgaard. Barrel-aged 15 months in 25% new French oak (medium-toast), 75% neutral barrels.
Plantings included cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, pinot noir, chardonnay, syrah, zinfandel and muscat, planted at elevations ranging from 800 to 1450 feet. Construction of the state-of-the-art Kuleto-designed winery was finished in 2001, completing the vineyard estate that had grown to include extensive orchards, gardens, and a working ranch with sheep, fowl, cattle and fish from the property’s Lake Brunello.
Winemaker Dave Lattin and vineyard manager Alberto Ochoa individually cultivate and craft the small vineyard blocks at every stage of their development, focusing on lots as small as half a ton. Kuleto Estate is crafting excellent wines of character and distinction that reflect the remarkable attributes of their unique terroir.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
The perfect intersection of bright fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is the backbone variety in Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Elsewhere throughout Italy, it can make inexpensive wines for daily consumption ranging from inoffensive to deliciously easy. On the French island of Corsica, under the name Nielluccio, it produces excellent bright and refreshing red and rosé wines with a personality of their own. Sangiovese has also enjoyed moderate popularity in California and Washington State over the last few decades.
In the Glass
Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with savory flavors of tart cherry, plum, tomato, fresh tobacco, anise, thyme, oregano, and dried earth. High-quality, well-aged examples will take on notes of smoke, clay pot, leather, gamey meat, potpourri, and dried fruits. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.
Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and grainy tannins create an affinity with tomato-based dishes, spicy meats, and anything off the barbecue.
Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines (with price tags to match) that are typically monovarietal or a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.