Italian Sangiovese Anyone?

Jane and I are trying to explore more Italian wine these days so I headed off to our local store on Saturday afternoon for some recon work. I returned home with two Sangiovese bottles for us to sample. After a hard day of shooting for both of us – on separate projects no less. I opened the bottles for a comparison. They are both Sangiovese from 2011, they are from Marche and Toscana regions of Italy. The price points are sort of similar, the Marche Bottle (Moncaro) is $11 and the Toscana Bottle (Grignano) is $18. We tried them with a bit of Manchego and crackers since much Italian wine is purportedly better with food.

At the wine store I was advised that the Moncaro is a very typical slightly fruity Sangiovese. The Grignano bottle was similar but should have a different identity/personality since being an IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) bottle it could be made with Sangiovese and potentially other wines including white varietals. Oddly enough when I looked at the bottles later, I discovered that both bottles were IGT so it appears that we are comparing a very similar type of wine at different price points.

IMG_Grignano front

2x3 Moncaro front-2












My thoughts are…

The Moncaro, it has a soft non-descript nose with little going on. The body is very light I’m not sure if this is typical for a Sangiovese, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is. Also, there is no tannin at all so its pretty smooth, which is a good trait. It showed a fruitiness which was hard to describe, not quite strawberry but much subtler than plum. On the whole it is a decent budget bottle, but it lacks any kind of personality or character. It’s not objectionable, it just doesen’t have much to say. If asked if I would buy this again I would say no.

I give it 2.0 stars.

The Grignano, it has a pretty unusual nose, I find a musky sort of earthiness that I will call forest floor. It’s still quite light in body very much like the Moncaro. It also has no discernible tannin on the finish. This feels just a bit bigger and more satisfying than its cheaper compatriot. On the palate I believe I am detecting a touch of black cherry, and it is quite dry. If I had to buy one of these two wines it would be this one. However, if I am being honest even this bottle is a bit light for my tastes. But given an event with lots of food, I would bring this along for a nice casual bottle and not worry since I’m only spending $18.

I give this one 2.75 stars

And now for Jane’s:

I agree with Steve that neither wine had much body. In general, I think I like fuller-bodied wine but I wanted to do this taste test to really discern what a typical Sangiovese wine is like. My favorite of the two was the Grignano. To me, I smelled a bitter honeycomb, tree bark and leaves. I realize those are odd descriptions but I really smelled each. It’s a very dry wine. I would only drink it again if I were in the mood for something light and very dry. That doesn’t happen much, but when it does, this wine would hit the mark.

The Moncaro was also light and dry but it had an odd berry essence. I tasted boysenberry and blackberry. I also tasted smoke and charcoal. I’ll be honest that I probably won’t buy this bottle again. It’s not bad but it’s not inspiring.

Grignano 2.5 stars

Moncaro 2 stars




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