05 June 2006

2004 Crane Lake Sangiovese

Last September, I ran through a lot of the Crane Lake wines, which are essentially "Two Buck Chuck" relabled for sale outside Trader Joe's. I think by now I've had everything but the Pinot Grigio, and I think I can skip that one. I like the Petit Sirah, the Sauvignon Blanc, and don't mind cooking with the Chardonnay. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are forgettable. As for the Sangiovese? Eh, not bad, nothing to get excited about. Certainly preferable to really cheap Chianti. I'd say this would be good for an inexpensive Italian restaurant, maybe as a bargain house red. In fact, I served it last night with a vegetarian lasagne (lots of spinach and mushrooms) and some links of grilled sweet salsiccia. It was definitely serviceable.

There's a smoky nose with some blackberry flavors, but mostly it's surprising for having low tannins. You tend to expect young Italian wines (even if you're just using Italian grapes) to be pretty tannic, but apparently they held back on this. So it's smooth, but not complex.

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