This is a continuation of a story. To understand the story behind Luna Vineyards Sangiovese Riserva, I recommend first taking a look at the story behind the Luna Vineyards Sangiovese Classico. Though the two wines celebrate the same vintage, they come from markedly different vineyards. While the Classico hails from Napa Valley’s Atlas Peak, Oak Knoll, Oakville, Calistoga, and Pope Valley vineyards, the Riserva is, well, more reserved. She’s a one-vineyard kind of lady and her exclusivity results in a graceful outward attitude.
Dice buona sera alla Sangiovese Riserva degli Vigneti Luna.
About the Wine: Although none of the Sangiovese is on the Luna Vineyards 22 acre estate, winemaker Shawna Miller tells me that the winery has been harvesting the grapes from Game Farm Vineyard for about 15 years, “so it’s technically estate,” she adds. The vineyard itself is approximately 20 years old, planted to the Brunello clone. When asked how the original founders got ahold of the Italian rootstock, Shawna says, “I don’t ask because it’s amazing!”
The Luna Vineyards 2014 Sangiovese Riserva is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes harvested from the Game Farm vineyard along Silverado Trail in Napa Valley. Primary alcoholic fermentation is performed over three weeks in warmer temperatures, which, as Shawna says, aids in flavor extraction and aroma development. The juice is then drained, pressed, then moves on to secondary, malolactic fermentation.
The wine then aged in combination Hungarian and French oak barrels for 22 months.
Flavor Profile: In the glass, the Luna Vineyards 2014 Sangiovese Riserva is a pretty pink rose color. It’s iridescent, letting through an almost romantic amount of light through.
The initial aromas indicate that this wine needs its time to get ready for the evening. Small, tight, red berries, not quite ripe enough to pick, are defined by a strong acidic line. What you must do, is prepare the wine. Pour it out into a decanter and let it sit for at least an hour so you can fully enjoy the aromatics and flavor profile.
Once the Riserva has had her chance to open up, pour a fresh glass, swirl and sniff again — you’ll enjoy a full bouquet of red roses, an almost perfume-y quality that just lingers around the perimeter of the glass.
Take a sip. I literally wrote “wow” on my tasting notes. The Sangiovese is soft, smooth, warming up at mid-palate, thickening towards the end, and finishing with a mouthful of plush tannins. When it comes to flavors, Luna Vineyards Sangiovese Riserva is joyously jammy — light bush berries are abound: cranberries, raspberries, red currants. Secondary flavors include a kind of woodsy-eucalyptus along with a branchy, leafy earthiness.
I started this post by saying this is a continuation of the story of the Luna Vineyards 2014 Sangiovese Classico. Well, if that wine is the tale of young, naive flapper girl getting ready for a night on the town, this is the story of her 50 years later. More mature and refined, yes. But slower — slower to get herself primped and permed for the evening, slower to tell her story, slower to get to her point.
But like any fine woman, she is worth the wait.
Food Pairing: I enjoyed the Luna Vineyards 2014 Sangiovese Riserva with spaghetti and meatballs (don’t judge), sprinkled with soft goats cheese. The herb-seasoned meatballs did well to enhance the jammy qualities of the wine, de-emphasize the tannins, and provide a fuller, softer mouthfeel. Meanwhile the subtle funk of the goats cheese brought forward a bit more of that earthiness that is otherwise hiding in the wine. The tomato-heavy marinara sauce brought a much-needed acidic component to the overall meal.
Perfect pairing? Sure. Anything super saucy will do. But if you age this wine — I’m going to say for at least 5 to 10 (and as much as 20) years, its versatility will absolutely increase.
More Info: If you haven’t read my review of the Luna Vineyards 2014 Sangiovese Classico or the Luna Vineyards Estate Pinot Grigio ( a Pinot Grigio with an actual backbone and body) — please do. I received the Luna Vineyards 2014 Sangiovese Riserva as a sample for review. (Cheers Nisha and Shawna!) Retail: $62. Black Label wines from Luna Vineyard are only available for purchase at the tasting room or online. For more information about Luna Vineyards, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Luna Vineyards website.
Thank you to Luna Vineyards winemaker Shawna Miller for her assistance and participation with my site and article.
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