Sangiovese has been a real challenge in California, but not because it's a newly planted varietal there as many think. Actually, it probably arrived as early as the 1850s with Agoston Haraszthy's cuttings from Europe. At any rate, it has long been a component of the field blend red wines made by California's Italian family wineries.
Sangiovese excels, of course, in the iteration of Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico. Because of this inherent challenge, numerous California winemakers have attempted to elevate Sangovese to the successes achieved by the many storied Napa Valley Cabernets that have been produced in homage to great Bordeaux. So far, there hasn't been much luck.
The reasons why I won't go into now, but I will say that this Ca' del Solo from Bonny Doon is a step n the right direction. While too many domestic Sangioveses arrive flat-footed — i.e., lacking in acid — this one does not suffer from that problem. Indeed, it possesses the requisite amount of fruit and tannin as well. What it lacks is a sense of maturity, both from the vineyard and the cellar. How to get there is a matter beyond what I can easily and quickly discuss here.
In sum, sip and enjoy this wine for its (and the vineyard's) potential. With wishful thinking, hard work and attention to detail, perhaps one day California will produce a challenger to a great Brunello di Montalcino.
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