The Explore 4: Sangiovese Study Gift Pack

The Explore 4: Sangiovese Study Gift Pack

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Grow your wine knowledge and drink well while doing it: That’s the idea behind “Explore 4,” our most popular monthly club. Here’s a chance to check it out—no commitment required!

“Explore 4” surveys the vast landscape of wine and breaks it into small, digestible bites. Each month, we select four bottles that fit a theme, allowing members to experience a diversity of styles while developing their own palate preferences. It’s an ongoing exploration of wine through a sommelier’s eyes and there’s no more effective, and enjoyable, way to learn about wine.

In this edition of the Explore 4, offered as a one-time purchase, we break down four wines crafted from Italy’s signature red grape: Sangiovese. Best known as the critical ingredient in the wines of Central Tuscany (Chianti Classico; Brunello di Montalcino; Nobile di Montepulciano), Sangiovese is one of the world’s 10 most-planted red wine grapes and arguably one of its most readily identifiable: it’s a high-acid, brightly hued variety characterized by tart, just-ripe red and black fruits and lots of woodsy, mineral savor. Here’s what’s in the box, which includes a full-color booklet that explains the theme and the wines in vivid detail:

Chiara Condello, Romagna Sangiovese Predappio 2019
The broader growing zone (“Romagna”) that includes the village of Predappio is southeast of Bologna, in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains, fanning out from the town of Forlì. This exceedingly pretty Sangiovese hails from old-vine parcels ranging from 150-350 meters’ elevation, in soils of spungone, a porous combination of limestone marl and sandstone. Condello employs a “whole berry” style of fermentation that brightens the primary fruit character and keeps harsh tannins at bay.

La Mozza, Maremma Toscana Sangiovese 2019
One of the hallmarks of this wine, which was once bottled as a Morellino di Scansano DOC but now carries the designation “Maremma Toscana,” is that it isn’t typically as juicy/supple as many of the wines made in this region. Crafted from 100% Sangiovese grown in soils that include some sandstone and limestone marl, the wine is fermented in stainless steel, then aged for one year in a combination of steel tanks and 40HL Slavonian oak casks.

Bolsignano, Rosso di Montalcino 2020
Bolsignano’s Roberto Rubegni does two things—Sangiovese wine and extra-virgin olive oil—and does them very well. He is a passionate student and expert in organic viticulture, maintaining one of the most painstakingly farmed vineyards in Montalcino. The 2020 vintage was quite hot in most parts of Europe, in many cases producing big, bruising, overripe wines. But not at Bolsignano. The wine has muscle, for sure, but also energy and aromatic lift. Fermented spontaneously on ambient yeasts, it was aged six months in used oak casks before bottling, then aged further in bottle before its release into the market.

Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara, Chianti Colli Senesi “Campale” 2020
Here’s an important twist: Most “Chianti” wines are blends, and in this case the wine adds 10% Merlot to its Sangiovese base, which deepens the color and softens the tannins. Hand-harvested fruit is fermented in a combination of steel tanks and concrete vats, after which the finished wine is aged 12 months in a mix of concrete tanks (75%) and small oak barrels. Located about two kilometers outside San Gimignano, Il Colombaio di Santa Chiara is an organic farm and winery originally founded in 1950 by Mario Logi, who worked in the area’s vineyards as a teenager. Mario’s three sons, including current enologist Alessio, farm about 22 hectares of vineyards. The estate has been Certified Organic since 2013.

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