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San Felice Perolla Vermentino 2009
Straw yellow in appearance, the wine releases refreshing hints of grapefruit, spring blossoms, and fresh-mown hay, while the crisp palate tantalises with delicate citrus in the background.
The San Felice vineyards are situated amongst the gently rolling hills of the Castelnuovo Berardenga area of Chianti Classico. The vines are planted in two different soil types: calcareous clay and a combination of sand and lime. The terroir of Campogiovanni, including its sandy, mineral-rich argillous soil, allows Sangiovese vines to grow slowly and steadily, therefore producing unusually complete and balanced grapes. In addition to indigenous varietals like Toscana's classic Sangiovese, San Felice has plantings of international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Like Enzo, winemaker Leonardo Bellacini has spent much of his career working with Sangiovese carries on the legacy of tradition and research and experimentation.
One of the most iconic Italian regions for wine, scenery and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simple to complex and age-worthy, as well as in price from budget-friendly to ultra-premium, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano coming in second.
Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines have their own respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, scattered with vineyards.
Sangiovese at its simplest produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright red fruit and not much more, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity. Top-quality Sangiovese-based wines can be expressive of a range of characteristics such as sour cherry, balsamic, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise and tobacco. Brunello expresses well the particularities of vintage variations and is thus popular among collectors who like to cellar the same wine over multiple years. Chianti is associated with tangy and food-friendly dry wines at various price points. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, with or without Sangiovese. These are common in Tuscany’s coastal regions like Bolgheri, Val di Cornia, Carmignano and the island of Elba.
A fantastic, aromatic white grape whose best wines come from a northeastern corner of Sardinia called Gallura. Vermentino di Gallura DOCG, despite its light body, can be decidedly complex. Common flavors associated with this wine include pear, white peach, grapefruit, lime zest, fresh almond and crushed rocks. It is dry but fruity and the finish is snappy and bright. Sardinian producers like to pick early to retain lively acidity but a fuller style has also become popular. In lesser proportions Vermentino grows on the island of Corsica. But it comprises a large proportion of the whites in southern France, namely Provence, where it is called Rolle. Vermentino does well in Tuscany and in Piedmont, where it is called Favorita. It also is thought to be genetically identical to Ligurian’s Pigato grape. As Pigato and Favorita, it does well paired with fresh and simple seafood dishes and light appetizers. Wines with similar characteristics to Vermentino include Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Albariño and Grüner Veltliner.