The expressive, stylish 2013 Pietra Santa Cienega Valley Estate Sangiovese is one of the last vintages of Sangiovese made entirely by Alessio Carli at Pietra Santa, and like its predecessors it possesses Carli’s magic touch as well as Sangiovese’s bold flavors and racy, finely honed structure. Bing cherry, cranberry, spice and touches of wood smoke permeate the nose of this wine and flow harmoniously into the mouth where they expand with a burst of flavor. Medium-bodied, but bold-flavored, this textured, flavorful Sangiovese marries the beautiful pure fruit flavors of California to the complexity of the finest Sangiovese wines of Tuscany. Born of Pietra Santa’s “sacred stones,” from the vineyard’s location on the San Andreas Fault, a gentle minerality and noble structure reminiscent of Tuscany’s Vino Nobile di Montepulciano sets this wine apart. For optimal enjoyment now, afford this exceptional Sangiovese at least thirty minutes of aeration before serving at cool room temperature (64° F). However, one need not be in a hurry to consume this age-worthy Sangiovese, as our experience with Pietra Santa’s Sangiovese is that it continues to improve in bottle for up to a decade or more. Enjoy!
Although traditional Tuscan recipes and Southern Italian specialties provide outstanding companionship to Pietra Santa’s 2013 Estate Sangiovese, Pietra Santa’s own recipes have always been some of our favorite pairings with their Sangiovese. Alessio Carli’s Gnocchi with Marinara Sauce, the Blackburn family’s Beef Barley Soup, and Grilled Marinated Tri-Tip Steak with Roquefort Butter are just a few of the winery’s favorite pairings with the estate’s Sangiovese. Risotto Fratacchione, a traditional Sienese dish made with lean sausages, Arborio rice, and a healthy dollop of Parmigiano-Reggiano, also offers wonderful companionship to Pietra Santa’s Estate 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 ravioli all complement 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 pairings with Pietra Santa’s rendition of Tuscany’s classic grape variety. Buon Appetito!
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 1850s 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 brings cooling maritime breezes that temper the summer sun, resulting in a long growing season and vibrant, balanced wines. Moreover, the winery is located on the San Andreas Fault, which has created 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 where they thrive under the bright morning sun and 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 longtime winemaker Alessio Carli, who worked exclusively at Pietra Santa from 1998 until recently, was able to fashion world class Sangiovese at Pietra Santa. Tuscan by birth, Alessio first learned to work with Sangiovese in Chianti where he made wine 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 Classico’s most celebrated estates, before coming to California in 1990. His expertise with Sangiovese, an indigenous Tuscan grape, is responsible for the estate’s outstanding Sangiovese. However, choosing one progeny over another at Pietra Santa would short-change the estate’s other outstanding wines and exceptional estate-grown olive oils. In short, Pietra Santa has become one of the Central Coast’s finest, most reliable wineries.
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