Il Ponte Fra Due Terre 2004

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I have written before that one of the great joys of wine is finding a smallish and lesser or unknown producer who happens to produce outstanding wine (and hoping that no one else discovers them). Well here in Berkeley there is a wine merchant who does all the work of sorting out the great stuff from the crap for you called Vintage Berkeley. Nothing at the store is over $25, nothing is from a major producer, and pretty much everything is outstanding value. I picked up this bottle from that store.

Usually new world sangiovese is pretty gross. The brilliance of this particular California Sangiovese blended from Sonoma and Napa grapes is that the winemaker used to head up Robert Mondavi’s Italian wine experiment in California. While Mondavi ultimately decided not to pursue a mass production of Italian style wine, the wine maker for this beauty of a bottle in the meantime learned where the best sources of Sangiovese were for the state. Sure he could only produce 200 cases of wine from them, but being lucky enough to try a bottle I can attest to both the outstanding quality and, honestly, phenomenal quality to price ratio this wine brings to the table.

On the nose I got a classic Chianti style cherry and plum with distinct barnyard notes. The palate had real acidity and balance to it, with real integrity to the simple but pure fruit flavours of cherry and strawberry. The 2% Petite Sirah added to the blend very likely added both depth of colour and depth of flavour and, along with the abundent sunshine, gave the wine a distinctly Californian edge, while yet not overwhelming the Italianite qualities of the wine. Essentially this is not only the best New World Sangiovese I’ve had, but it tops many more expensive examples from Italy. Wow!

$21 at Vintage Berkeley


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