2019 Sheldon Wines, Sangiovese, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County.
The second edition of their Dry Creek Sangiovese is a huge success at Sheldon and while I loved the full carbonic version of 2018 this new release is a wine of more substance and depth, while retaining the gorgeous aromatics and joyous drinking pleasures. The 2019 vintage was similar to 2018 in that it was a long and consistent growing season that was a touch cooler over all, but it came in with smaller yields and more concentration with amazing fruit development with stunning intensity, which Dylan Sheldon exploited to the max capturing exceptional varietal purity, clarity of flavors and impeccable balance, which this Sangiovese displays with transparency and elegance. This Sangiovese is stunning right out of the bottle with a nose of dark flowers and delicate spices along with pretty red fruit layers with energetic Marion berry, fleshy plum, blood orange, earthy currant and sweet kirsch that are lifted by classic acidity and accented by cigar wrapper, licorice, Asian spices and subtle cedar note. The Sheldon 2019 Dry Creek Valley Sangiovese is 100% single varietal and comes from the cooler Northwest corner of the appellation where these is a complex combination of well draining and mineral rich soils, which includes sandy loams, river rock, igneous rocks with high iron content, shale(s) and sandstone(s) that help give the wine complexity and warm ripeness of flavors. Sheldon, seeing the impressive quality of the grapes, decided on a gentle and more traditional fermentation with whole bunches and native yeasts in small bins with a light touch in the maceration, which was done at cool temperatures, as to not extract bitter phenolics and or harsh tannin, he wanted to keep freshness and crisp detailing as well employing a soft pressing of the juice before the wine was racked to a couple of well seasoned French barrels. I am a big fan of the Sheldon lineup and these 2018s and ‘19s are some of the best yet, especially this Sangiovese, I highly recommend checking out these fun and rewarding wines.

Sheldon Wines, which is micro winery based in Santa Rosa which was founded by the husband and wife team of Dylan and Tobe Sheldon back in 2003, is focused on hand crafting unique and ultra small batch wines with an extra bit of attention going to their Grenache, white and red based offerings, but the collection also includes a rare and cool Graciano (a Rioja grape) Black Sparkling Wine, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, a Tempranillo Brut Rosé, a Carignan and an old vine Petite Sirah led field blend. Sangiovese has been gaining traction in California, especially in recent years with some very intriguing versions coming to market, from Stolpman, who’s Love You Bunches is like Sangiovese Nouveau, Reeve, also from Dry Creek, Peterson, Broc, Field Recordings, Lepe Cellars, Odonata, who do a sparkling version and an awesome Brunello like bottling, Ryme Cellars and this delicious Sheldon effort. It is thought that Sangiovese was originally brought to California in the late 19th century by Italian immigrants when it is believed to have been inter-planted with other varietals that arrived around that same time including Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, but more serious plantings came to the West Coast in the 1980s and 1990s, though mostly those vines failed to produce anything of significance, for that we had to wait until the last decade or so, with the exception of Leonetti’s Walla Walla Sangiovese, which is still one of the best new world examples. Now there are about 2,000 acres of Sangiovese in California, with the grape finding a home in Sonoma, Amador, Napa Valley, Santa Barbara, as well as in the greater Central Coast from Paso to Santa Clara, and Mendocino County, where Italian grapes really do well. This Sheldon unfined and unfiltered vibrantly ruby red Sangiovese opens up nicely and adds an extra dimension of texture with air, making it even more desirable with its medium/full bodied palate gaining richness and length with lingering echos of the flavors lasting a long time, and it plays well with food, like a fine Chianti Classico, this is tasty stuff! Only 36 cases of the Dry Creek Sangiovese were made of this vintage, so be sure to secure some as soon as possible.
($36 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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