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The 2006 Pietra Estate Sangiovese received a Gold Medal at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition. Perhaps even more impressive is that Alessio Carli’s 2006 Estate Cienega Valley Sangiovese earned top pick recently at The Ultimate Wine Challenge, held each year in New York. But before any of these accolades were revealed our tasting panel had returned its verdict: We have to have this wine for our members! Unfortunately, supplies of this deeply imbued Sangiovese are limited. Nevertheless, we were able to score just enough of this artful blend of 92% Sangiovese and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon to feature it. Endowed with a beautiful cachet of crushed cranberry, wild cherry, wood smoke, and spice, the 2006 Pietra Santa Sangiovese positively sings from the glass. On the palate this wine continues to work its magic by offering up rich fruit and spice flavors along with a smooth patina that reminds us of one of Tuscany’s finest red wines – Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. A fine wine in its own right, Pietra Santa is a delicious California Sangiovese with Tuscan sophistication. In short, Alessio Carli’s Sangiovese is not to be missed. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest an hour of aeration to release all the latent magic that lay within.
Great Tuscan cuisine and assorted Southern Italian specialties provide the ultimate companions to Alessio Carli’s outstanding 2006 Estate Sangiovese. Risotto Fratacchione, a traditional Sienese dish made with lean sausages, Arborio rice, and a healthy dollop of Parmigiano-Reggiano, offers wonderful companionship to Pietra Santa’s Sangiovese. Roasted game birds served with onion foccacia and sautéed vegetables provide good company, too. Traditional favorites such as lasagna, cheese or meat tortellini, and lobster ravioli will do justice to this wine as well. Roast pork with polenta, grilled rack of lamb served with garlic mashed potatoes, and lean cuts of beef provide other wonderful choices. And if simple is all you can muster, why not open a bottle of this delightful Sangiovese, pour a glass, and prepare the ultimate BLT with pancetta, arugula, burrata, and ripe red tomatoes. Enjoy!
Pietra Santa is a family run estate producing outstanding artisanal wines and olive oils. It is located 25 miles from Monterey Bay in the beautiful Cienega Valley. Founded in the early 1850’s by Frenchman Theophile Vache, it is now owned by the Blackburn family. Pietra Santa fashions an array of delicious wines, thanks to the acumen of Italian winemaker Alessio Carli and the estate’s unique terroir. The estate’s proximity to the coast emits cooling maritime breezes that temper the summer sun, resulting in a long growing season and vibrant balanced wines. Moreover, the winery’s location on the San Andreas Fault creates soils rich in granite and limestone that naturally lower vineyard yields and add distinctive flavors to the wines. The winery was named Pietra Santa, Italian for “Sacred Stone, in honor of these exceptional soils.
Although Pietra Santa spans more than 400 acres spread across Cienega Valley, adjacent bench lands, and nearby Gabilan Mountains, only 120 acres are devoted to wine grapes. Each of the winery’s nine grape varieties benefits from the estate’s varied terrain. Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio enjoy steep, terraced hillsides and thrive under the bright morning sun as well as cool, afternoon shade. Meanwhile, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese are grown on the moderate bench land, while Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are planted in the deepest parts of the valley to receive maximum sun exposure. Pietra Santa’s oldest vineyards date to 1905.
What is perhaps most impressive about Pietra Santa is how winemaker Alessio Carli brings out the best in each of Pietra Santa’s varietals. Tuscan by birth, Alessio first learned to make Chianti with his father. He then went on to study agronomy at college and later earned a graduate degree in enology. In Tuscany, he spent two years at Fattoria Il Castagno where he supervised the fattoria’s production of both wine and olive oil. He also served as Assistant Winemaker at Badia a Coltibuono, one of Chianti’s most celebrated estates, before coming to California in 1990. He has worked exclusively with Pietra Santa since 1998. His expertise with Sangiovese, an indigenous Tuscan grape, is second to none. However, choosing one progeny over another at Pietra Santa is akin to “Sophie’s Choice.” From our experience Alessio’s olive oils are quite exceptional as well. In short, Pietra Santa is one of California’s rising stars, and its wines are not to be missed.
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