2018 Sheldon Wines, Sangiovese, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County.
The Sheldon Sangiovese, their first wine to be made from this Tuscan grape, is an unbelievably gorgeous version with a seductive perfume and sensual fruit that is almost never found in California examples, this is impressive stuff that should not be missed. The 2018 vintage is proving to be an amazing year for purity, vivid fruit and heightened aromatic qualities with good acidity adding clarity and pop in the wines and Sheldon very much exploited this to great effect in their latest set of wines, especially this beautiful Sangiovese that shines with racy and transparent red fruits, spices, mineral charm, wild herbs along with its heady bouquet. Without question this wine is a special wine, considering its youth, it shows an exceptional poise and detail with an almost Grenache like set of layering of red raspberry, plum, cherry and strawberry fruits all supported by velvety almost creamy tannin structure, these sweet tannins are ripe allowing this Sangio to have a wonderful mouth feel, while still holding on to its energy and vibrancy. There are savory elements and the mentioned spicy tones, it adds pepper, pomegranate, iron/mineral, mint, framboise, anise, cigar wrapper and sanguine notes, dried lavender and rose oil that all play supporting roles to near perfection in this medium bodied red. I love this wine, it excites the senses and was a brilliant surprise in the glass with a lovely garnet/ruby hue with magenta edges and it is fantastic with food, it is very flexible and focused, going with classic pizza and pasta, plus BBQ pork, grilled meats, mushroom dishes and is great with a slight chill for out door dinning.
At first, I believed there was some Grenache, Syrah or Cabernet added, but winemaker Dylan tells me it is 100% Sangiovese from an mature, old clone, organically farmed site on volcanic soils, and I thought it might be partial whole bunches, but he adds that he de-stemmed all the grapes and did a traditional ferment. Sheldon employed a conservative approach to his first try with Sangiovese and even so it is wildly exotic and thrilling, the primary fermentation was done in stainless and only aged in a well seasoned neutral French barrique for just 5 months before an early bottling, which was done to capture the purity of this wine and hold on to that sexy nose. Sheldon racked with ultra gentle gravity and with very minimal SO2, which allows the wine’s personality to really take center stage, like you would find in Lapierre’s Morgon. This Sangiovese might be a game charger, it joins the best versions of this varietal in California, like Stolpman’s and Reeve’s examples, it fits nicely in between them and it transcends the grape itself, sadly Sheldon only did one barrel, as more people need to try this stuff. The 2018 Sheldon Sangiovese (like their Graciano) is an awesome wine, uniquely Californian, it is in league with Arnot-Roberts Trousseau, Pax’s Valdiguie or Carignan, Russell Joyce’s Gamay Noir, Jaimee Motely’s Mondeuse, Ryme’s Aglianico, Martha Stoumen’s Nero d’Avila, Paul Gordon’s Halcon Petite Sirah and others of this new generation that are re-definning our understanding and perceptions of what California can do. This is a fabulous textured expression of Sangiovese, do not miss it, enjoy it over the next 3 to 5 years.
($35 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive