2021 Monte Rio Cellars, Sangiovese, River’s Edge Vineyard, Lodi, California.
The wonderfully rustic and authentic dark garnet hued River’s Edge Sangiovese from Monte Rio Cellars is a throwback wine that will remind you of old California and earlier even generations of Chianti, wines that were tasty, but not polished or overly fruity with a savory kick and nice acidity. This wine has brambly red berries, plum, strawberry and tangy red currant fruits, along with a touch of bite from the stems, minty herbs, cedar, anise and subtle floral dimension in a medium bodied palate that has some raw tannin and energy, along with a welcome earthy feel that makes it really good with spicy tomato sauce pasta dishes, hard pecorino cheese and or simple meat dishes. I have been really enjoying my Monte Rio wines which I have been buying myself for the last three or so vintages with regularity and this Sangiovese joins their Mission grape bottling as one of my favorites here.
Just 400 cases were made of this Lodi Sangiovese that came from 40 year old organic vines that are grown using full biodynamic methods, which are set on the region’s sandy soils and the wine was traditionally harvested, with the winery saying that the fruit and went directly to press before it was fermented and macerated in a combination of concrete tank and eggs. After the Sangiovese was fermented it was then aged about 10 months in very old neutral French oak barrels to mature, all to promote the purity and unique expression of the Sangiovese grapes, which I found to be a very successful effort, especially with the bright fresh intensity of the vintage. Monte Rio Cellars, established in 2018, is led by Sommelier Patrick Cappiello and overseen by famed syrah guru Pax Mahle, is focused on old historic vineyards in mainly the Lodi region and is known for their natural style Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and heritage varietals. This Sangiovese is a welcome addition to the lineup, which I highly recommend for the non pretense style and value they deliver.
($23 ESt.) 90 Points, grapelive