"Five Noteworthy Sangioveses" (September 2006)
Recommendations by Corby Kummer.
"The American Version" (September 2006)
A look at San Francisco's Delancy Street Foundation. By Corby Kummer
The views of the inviting green hills around San Patrignano—a village above Rimini, the Adriatic seaside resort made famous by native son Federico Fellini in Amarcord—are as splendid as those from any Italian winery. The tiny republic of San Marino, improbably perched at the top of a cone-shaped mountain, rises in the distance, just three miles away. As if the manicured vineyards weren’t decorative enough, there is the building where the grapes arrive for sorting and crushing. At other wineries, grapes are crushed in a parking lot that doubles as a loading dock during harvest time. At San Patrignano the crushing area is a pavilion, with majestic open ironwork cathedral-like arches on all four sides framing the gorgeous views. The adjacent winery is large and impressive, its bright and frescoed cellar containing a glassed-in tasting room that looks like something out of a James Bond movie. But the pavilion is glorious, giving great dignity to the manual labor involved in raising and picking grapes.
Those grapes are Sangiovese, famous in Tuscan Chianti but also native to the town’s region of Emilia-Romagna, which is known for its rich cuisine (Bologna is the capital). One of the wines for which San Patrignano has become known, Avi, is a pure expression of Sangiovese: it has notes of spice, leather, and tobacco, and a slight smokiness; it is full bodied, making it suitable for drinking with many kinds of pastas and grilled meat or fish. Montepirolo, the winery’s blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, costs less than many Italian wines of the same quality.