Sangiovese is Michael Barber’s favorite grape. It is the grape used in every Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, and most reds served in Italy’s Tuscany region. Our winemaking style and philosophy is heavily influenced by Montalcino producers we gleaned from our time there, and we use traditional Italian styles of making wine (two hand punch downs per day, a two week max maceration, very little new oak, harvesting for acidity vs. sugar…) We wanted to make a sangiovese for the longest time, but it took a while to find the right vineyard to work with.
The gorgeous ‘Santo Giordano’ vineyard is in Carneros just beyond the eastern edge of Petaluma. It looks out into the bay, allowing ocean breezes to constantly cool this vineyard down, yielding grapes of bright acidity. 2019 was a winemaker’s vintage – not as rich and lush as the wet and long 2018 vintage, but still excellent growing conditions that yielded wines with more structure, firm tannin, and age-ability. There’s structure to this wine, but it’s not overpowering. This sangiovese is fresh and lively with rolling flavors of bing cherry and a classic finish of dust and tomato. The 25% new oak barrels we used to age the wine are a toasted Missouri oak that lends the wine a little chocolate note to the finish.
We call our son ‘The Big Little’ – if you’ve met him in the tasting room you know why! This wine is dedicated to him. We call it ‘Il Grosso Piccolo’ – ‘The Big Little.’ For the wine geeks out there: Grosso (Big) and Piccolo (Little) are also the two main clones of Sangiovese.