The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Villa Sant’Anna and Talenti

Posted on | October 21, 2015 | Written by Michael Adler | No Comments

Michael Adler 5.29.15We love Sangiovese here at IWM. While no one is sure whether its name derives from the Latin latin words Sanguis Jovis, or blood of Jove, we do know that Sangiovese is characterized by a medium body, soft, velvety tannins and its telltale aromas of red fruits, dried flowers and herbs. From the humblest Tuesday-night Chianti to the most lavish, compelling Brunello or Super Tuscan, Sangiovese offers pleasure at many levels of quality and production, and it’s universally enjoyable with just about any meal you could think of. And in addition to its versatility on the dinner table, it’s equally as versatile in your cellar, for it’s usually enjoyable upon release yet also quite age-worthy. In short, no matter what the occasion, you can find an appropriate Sangiovese to match it. Today, I’m focusing on two outstanding and affordable bottles of Sangiovese that rise above their humble price points and deliver the goods for a song.

Villa Sant’Anna 2012 Rosso di Montepulciano $19.99

Not to be confused with the grape named Montepulciano, which is native to Italy’s Abruzzo region, Montepulciano is also the name of a small hilltop town in southern Tuscany near Siena that produces some killer Sangiovese-based wines, most notably the world-renowned DOC of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Similar to the way that Montalcino producers craft a Rosso di Montalcino as a companion to their Brunello, so too do the estates in Montepulciano make their second wine, Rosso di Montepulciano, to drink while they wait for their Vino Nobile wines mature. This Villa Sant’Anna 2012 Rosso is predominantly Sangiovese (locally called Prugnolo Gentile), with smaller amounts of some other minor indigenous blending varietals. Aromatic and floral on the nose, this Rosso is soft yet round and generous on the palate, with silky tannins and a long, juicy finish. Bright, genial and very easy to enjoy, this wine almost pulls you back to the glass.

Talenti 2010 Brunello di Montalcino $49.99

You probably know by now that 2010 was a phenomenal vintage in Montalcino and that the 2010 Brunellos offer incredible power, age-worthiness and complexity. Many producers raised their prices for this benchmark vintage, but it’s still possible to find an amazing 2010 Brunello that won’t totally devastate your bankroll. Talenti has always been one of my go-to Brunellos, and this dynamite 2010 will redefine your understanding of how good a $50 bottle can be. With the majority of Brunellos priced above $75, Talenti’s Brunello offers unparalleled value in the category and easily outperforms a great many of its more expensive competitors. An inky reddish purple in the glass, this ‘10 Brunello is a massively powerful, scintillating wine that is approachable now for fans of big, intense reds but it really need several years in the cellar before it reaches its optimal drinking window. With time in the glass, this wine opens up to reveal a wide range of floral, herbal and earthy aromas along with notes of espresso, leather and cigar wrapper, all on a foundation of dense, chewy red and black fruits. The ‘10 Talenti is an absolute steal under $50; buy this one by the case and enjoy it over the next 20 years!

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