Even before we bottled the inaugural 2013 vintage of Carbonic Sangiovese, rumors of Estate Sangiovese’s discontinuation spread throughout our mailing list. Over the past 15 years, Wine Club members have become fiercely devoted to the Estate bottling. Upon hearing my enthusiastic rantings about a new style of Sangiovese made to drink chilled, folks feared the hipster Carbonic bottling might eat into the Estate production.
A Divisive Issue
The wines –Estate v. Carbonic- are polar opposites; the fresh Carbonic Sangiovese is light, high-acid, and low in alcohol versus the smooth, rich, and ripe 30 month oak-aged Estate bottling.
To set the record straight, we plan to continue making the majority of our crop into Estate Sangiovese, and the Carbonic will remain a fun side project.
2011 Estate Sangiovese: Frost-Reduced Supply
Years before we began experimentation with carbonic fermentation, frost cut Sangiovese yields by over 50%. Unlike Syrah, Sangiovese doesn’t rebound from frost damage with a fertile second growth. All it took was one night below freezing, April 27th 2011, and we knew we wouldn’t have much Sangiovese to harvest.
Due to Mother Nature’s slashing of supply back in 2011, we are now running out of the venerable Estate Sangiovese.
While we just bottled 2012 Estate Sangiovese, it needs to flesh out in bottle for six more months. We will release it to the Wine Club on Oct 1.
Unlike the Carbonic Sangiovese that is made to drink young and lively, the Estate bottling needs time to unfurl – the rich fruit flavors must envelop the firm tannin.
This means that, for the first time since we’ve moved to Los Olivos, the Tasting Room will be out of Estate Sangiovese all summer.
The rumors of Estate Sangiovese’s downfall at the hands of Carbonic production will surely intensify.
The Plan: 2010 Sangio Degli Angeli to the Rescue
Thankfully, I’ve had four years since that tragic night of frost to come up with an action plan to address the day when, God forbid, we temporarily run out of Estate Sangiovese.
The solution was easy enough, I held almost all of our high-density hilltop-Sangiovese planting, 2010 Sangio degli Angeli, to pour this summer in the Tasting Room. With two years of bottle age, the more intense flavors of the 2010 Sangio degli Angeli have integrated to create a deliciously sleek stunner.
And just to keep our best customers happy, we’ve saved the last pallet of 2011 Estate Sangiovese for wine club members.