La Carraia Sangiovese Umbria 2012
Pair this wine with barbecued meat, tomato sauces, pizza, and spicy soppressata.
La Carraia was founded in 1976 by the Gialletti and Cotarella families. Riccardo Cotarella, one of the most respected authorities on the production and marketing of Italian wines, is the winery’s co-owner and winemaker. La Carraia, thanks to its broad and diverse portfolio, is able to satisfy the needs of casual, value-oriented consumers with products like Sangiovese and Orvieto Classico, and the most demanding of collectors with their Fobiano. The winery owns a total of 198 acres located in the heart of the Orvieto Classico appellation. Of these, 172 acres are dedicated to the production of Orvieto Classico; the remainder features Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Montepulciano grapes. The year 1995 marked the first release of Poggio Calvelli, a joint venture between La Carraia and Winebow. This wine represents a new style of Orvieto Classico, one that is aged in small oak barrels. Tizzonero and Fobiano, the two top-shelf wines produced at La Carraia, are known for consistent quality and overall versatility. These wines are excellent examples of Mr. Cotarella’s mastery with red grapes.
Centered upon the lush Apennine Range in the center if the Italian peninsula, Umbria is one of the few completely landlocked regions in Italy. It’s star red grape variety, Sagrantino, finds its mecca around the striking, hilltop village of Montefalco. The resulting wine, Sagrantino di Montefalco, is an age-worthy, brawny, brambly red, bursting with jammy, blackberry fruit and earthy, pine forest aromas. By law this classified wine has to be aged over three years before it can be released from the winery and Sagrantino often needs a good 5-10 more years in bottle before it reaches its peak. Incidentally these wines often fall under the radar in the scene of high-end, age-begging, Italian reds, giving them an almost cult-classic appeal. They are undoubtedly worth the wait!
Rosso di Montefalco, on the other had, is composed mainly of Sangiovese and is a more fruit-driven, quaffable wine to enjoy while waiting for the Sagrantinos to mellow out.
Among its green mountains, perched upon a high cliff in the province of Terni, sits the town of Orvieto. Orvieto, the wine, is a blend of at least 60% Trebbiano in combination with Grechetto, with the possible addition of other local white varieties. Orvieto is the center of Umbria’s white wine production—and anchor of the region’s entire wine scene—producing over two thirds of Umbria’s wine. A great Orvieto will have clean aromas and flavors of green apple, melon and citrus, and have a crisp, mineral-dominant finish.
The perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is among Italy's elite red grape varieties and is responsible for the best red wines of Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino
Elsewhere throughout Italy, Sangiovese plays an important role in many easy-drinking, value-driven red blends and 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 success growing in California and Washington.
Tasting Notes for Sangiovese
Sangiovese is a dry , red wine with a medium body and qualities of tart cherry, plum, sun dried tomato, fresh tobacco and herbs. High-quality, well-aged examples can take on tertiary notes of smoke, leather, game, potpourri and dried fruit. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.
Perfect Food Pairings for Sangiovese
Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and fine-grained tannins create a perfect symbiosis with tomato-based dishes, braised vegetables, roasted and cured meat, hard cheese and anything off the barbecue.
Sommelier Secrets for Sangiovese
Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may actually contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines as a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.