- 2012 Buono Anni Santa Ynez Valley Sangiovese ($13.99 @Costco, California)
Let me start by alerting you to the fact that the $13.99 price tag above is not a typo. While this blog is devoted – almost exclusively – to wine finds under $10, this wine was still screaming KILLER DEAL at its slightly higher price. All the cues that this bottle was a super special value were there…
I guess I do my wine picking like most people. I pick up the bottle, look at the front and back label, and look at the price. It might surprise you, but picking up the bottle can tell you a lot.
I have talked before about letting the heft of the bottle guide you to great wine finds, and this wine is a great example. It has a nice deep punt (that’s the indentation on the bottom of the glass bottle) and that thumb devouring punt can often lead you to great values. It is at least on of several cues you take before pouring the first sip. And once we tasted it, we thought: “wow, this drinks like a $30 bottle of wine.” That’s because it is!
The other cues that I took note of: right grape, grown in the right place, and potentially a good vintage. I say potentially because between the winemaking technologies we enjoy today, and the fact that California’s growing seasons are remarkable consistent, the only thing you really need to concern yourself with is whether the wine may be past its peak. To be honest, that concerned me given the 6 years of age on this wine. But my fears were unfounded. This bottle could stand up a another year or two of aging.
But the thing that excited me most about this wine was the grape variety: Sangiovese. You may not think you are familiar with this grape, but it is the most planted red wine variety in all of Italy and forms the foundation for the great wines of Northern Italy, including Brunelli di Montepulciano, Chianti Classico and the lustrous Super Tuscan Italian reds.
Like its Italian cousins, this California version features the classic Sangiovese aromas of spice of violets, complemented by ripe,earthy currant and black cherry. It would of course pair with the full range of Italian cuisine, but the fact it was aged in neutral oak barrels yields a lighter red wine that is perfect with summer sipping, and summer cooking.
If you’re local Costco is stocking it, stock up!