2018 Alfaro Family Vineyards, Sangiovese, Gimelli Vineyard, Cienega Valley, San Benito County.
While mainly, and rightly so, for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir offerings, Alfaro Family Vineyards also does a few rarities, including their crisp Gruner Veltliner and this rustically charming Sangiovese from vines at the Gimelli Vineyard in the Cienega Valley, an area now getting its due for its historic old vines and unique terroir. Richard Alfaro has long been a fan of this vineyard and has done a few different offerings from here, with this 2018 Sangiovese proving to be an excellent wine and a very nice value, showing nice transparent varietal character with dark berries, savory tobacco leaf, cedar and dried flowers leading the way along with hints of strawberry, kirsch, minty herbs and saddle leather notes, making for an authentic, almost Chianti like, food wine. This deep garnet red Sangiovese has some juicy acidity and just the right amount of raw grip to provide good structure here, allowing for pleasure now and giving enough stuffing to age easily for another 3 to 5 years.

Alfaro Family Vineyard is seeing a change in generation with Richard’s son Ryan, who is a rising talent in the region, now taking over the cellar and handling the winemaking here, be sure to check in on the wines here as they transition to Ryan’s latest efforts, especially the Trout Gulch bottlings, they look to be very exciting stuff. Ryan also has his personal label, Farm Cottage Wines, and these are absolutely delicious offerings and have a bit more edgy personally with the reds seeing more whole cluster, with the Pinot being a star. Coming from limestone and granite soils the Sangiovese was traditionally fermented and matured with de-stemmed grapes and hand punchdowns before pressing to mostly neutral and used French oak barrels to promote this wine’s sense of place and deliver this Tuscan inspired wine’s best qualities from a vintage that is proving to be one of the best locally in decades. The long cool season made for well balanced wines and gives the wine long hang time depth of flavors, which is on display here in a wine that is divine with classic pasta and or easy meat dishes, look for this one before it’s gone.
($21 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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