Winery: Bottaia Winery
Product/Varietal: 100% Sangiovese
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Brian Hulbert
How They Describe It
Warm spice and cherry notes, light bodied, garnet red, smooth, easy drinking, low acid, soft balanced tannin. Long finish.
This Sangiovese is a blend of our two oldest estate blocks. 2017 was an abundant year for fruit and we were able to drop more fruit later in the growing season than usual in the Sangiovese blocks letting the vines put their final effort in just the grapes we left on the vine. This lead to a juice that had a beautiful balance of tannin and ripeness that made our picking decision easy.
Sangiovese is a light red wine and we want to preserve its beautiful delicate cherry and spice notes. After about 9 months in oak barrels we chose to bottle this wine at its peak and then let it soften and bloom in the bottle for another year.
“This age-worthy example of the famous grape of Tuscany begins with leather and spice nuances common to the noble variety with bramble berry and cherry cola notes to round out the complex aromatic presence. The tannins on the palate give the impression of cranberry, and with the addition of ample holiday spice, brings memories of the Thanksgiving table. While the wine is rich and elegant right now, this vintage of Sangiovese will age gracefully for many years to come thanks to the incredible structure of this wine.” – WINEMAKER DON CRANK III
Sangiovese is a light red wine and we want to preserve its beautiful delicate cherry and spice notes. So after about nine months in oak barrels we chose to bottle this wine at its peak and then let it soften and bloom in the bottle for another year.
How I Describe It
Aligning with its varietal characteristics, the Bottaia 2017 Sangiovese is a pale garnet color, with a strong ruby shade. The wine is visibly unfiltered, and remnants of the winemaking process made its way into the bottle. Keep in mind, while aesthetically unorthodox, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
A bouquet of raspberry, red plum flesh, and cranberry overshadow a cloak of vanilla, brioche, toffee, and toasted coconut. Subtle hints of spearment, coffee, anise, lavender, and rose follow.
The Bottaia 2017 Sangiovese leads with flavors or dried cherry, plum, cranberry, and raspberry. Charcoal, smoke, cloves, and coffee reveal the power 10 months of oak barrel aging had on the wine — though these aspects mellow as the wine breathes. Black pepper spice joins undertones of black licorice and fennel for a spicy finish.
Bottaia’s 2017 Sangiovese is dry. High alcohol (14.8% ABV) and high tannins are mellowed by medium acid. Still, the wine has a full body, pronounced flavor intensity, and a medium-plus finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
Like many high-tannin Temecula wines, the Bottaia 2017 Sangiovese needs time to breathe. And when I say time, I mean at least two hours.
Why is this? The reason has to do with the molecular structure of young tannins. In a nutshell, young tannin molecules are grainy, bitter, and astringent. While they bestow interesting flavors, for some it can be too much of a good thing. Exposure to oxygen speeds up a process called polymerization, where tannin molecules join together to form long strands. As the strands lengthen, the bitterness mellows and they impart a velvety mouthfeel. If you’re interested, this is an informative article on the science of tannins in wine.
Bottaia’s 2017 Sangiovese has delicious, ripe fruit characteristics and interesting spice. The winemakers deliberately crafted it to spotlight the fruit quality. With plenty of oxygen exposure, the tannins act more as a launch pad to showcase that delectable fruit.
When & How I Would Drink It
Another ingredient which mellows out tannins is fat. That’s why Cabernet Sauvignon is often paired with steak. Sangiovese tends to be slightly lighter bodied than Cabernet (though Bottaia’s 2017 vintage is certainly robust). Thus, it make sense to pair the 2017 Sangiovese with slightly lighter foods than you would a Cabernet. Beef stroganoff — and beef dishes with creamy mushroom sauces — are a great start. You’d also be smart to pair this wine with pork chops or lamb, particularly if you incorporate plenty of spice in the seasoning.
Then again, one of the fruit characteristics which shines in the Bottaia 2017 Sangiovese is cranberry. And where wine and food flavors overlap, deliciousness often follows. I’m talking about cranberry sauce — Thanksgiving cranberry sauce to exact. If you were to pour a bottle of this wine next to your Thanksgiving turkey, you wouldn’t be making a bad decision. That said, make sure to pop the cork before your guests arrive, to ensure plenty of breathing time.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $50 ($40 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: 400 cases
Have you tried the Bottaia 2017 Sangiovese? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.