2009 Monte Rosso Vineyards Sangiovese
Sangiovese •Monte Rosso Vineyards
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s stellar Sangiovese, made by Michael Muscardini, comes to us by way of one of the most prestigious and award-winning vineyards in California, the Monte Rosso Vineyard. Quantities are limited.
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Mission Codename: The Return to the Red Mountain
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red in search of a stellar, single-vineyard California Sangiovese, worthy of our Operative’s exacting tastes.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Muscardini Cellars
Wine Subject: 2009 Monte Rosso Vineyard Sangiovese
Winemaker: Michael Muscardini
Backgrounder: Owned by the Louis M. Martini Winery since 1938, the fabled Monte Rosso Vineyard is considered to be among the most highly regarded vineyards in the Sonoma Valley. The vineyard is also considered to be the jewel in Louis M. Martini’s crown.
The vineyard sits at the southern end of the Sonoma Valley AVA. One of the oldest wine growing regions in California, the first vines being were planted in the early 1800s. The AVA is located along California Route 12 and its eastern boundary are the southern end of the Mayacama mountains. The unique micro-climate with less rainfall and fog than other parts of the region along with its unique soil provides ideal growing conditions for Sangiovese.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet hues with even coloring from core to rim. At the edge of the glass, a medium-width ring of pink cuts a circle around the wine. After a hearty swirl, short, wine-colored tears move slowly down to the wine, below.
Smell – Sweet, clean, fresh and bright, this wine leads with characteristic strawberry, blueberry, cherry and dried orange peel. As the wine opens up, it reveals soft clove, cinnamon, dried meats, brambly blackberry, soft oak and dried violets.
Feel – Instantly grippy, with plush tannins giving the wine a crushed velvet feel that spreads throughout the palate. A lively acidity frames the fruit, driving flavors all around the palate.
Taste – Bold spiced strawberry candy and black cherry juice are prelude to additional flavors of raspberry, orange peel, black pepper, toasted oak, brown spice, dried black flower petals and subtle flint.
Finish – The initial rush of berry fruit is replaced with spice, pepper, oak and flinty minerals. Black pepper and dried flower petals linger for a long time.
Conclusion – This 2009 Muscardini Monte Rosso Sangiovese is an impressive, delicious and approachable wine! Packed with California fruit, but with enough Old World character to give the wine a broad appeal to fans of either style of Sangiovese. We spent a lot of time with this wine, noting how it improved with swirling, expressing fresher fruit and deeper earthen characteristics. Pair as you would any Sangiovese, but we recommend a hearty Spaghetti Bolognese or spicy Penne Arrabiata. Sips between bites provide the perfect palate-refreshing cleanse. This wine gets our very hearty recommendation.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Michael Muscardini
WINE EDUCATION: University of California, Davis. Wine Education – Extension Program
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: A wine must have a fruit component on bothe nose and taste. Also the wine must be food friendly before we will bottle it
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Bottled with love for the joy of living”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2005
AGENT RED: Greetings, Michael. We are thrilled to be showing your 2009 Monte Rosso Sangiovese today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
MICHAEL MUSCARDINI: It’s great to be with you, today, Red!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
MICHAEL: Meeting Franco Bondi Santi in 2005. The master of Brunello di Montalcino (100% Sangiovese).
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
MICHAEL: Without a doubt, Franco Bondi Santi!
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
MICHAEL: These grapes are from the famous Monte Rosso Vineyards. These grapes were harvested in the morning then rushed to the winery. The fruit was still cold, so we cold soaked them for 3 days. After a long, slow fermentation, the wine was barrel-aged for 12 month in a combination of American and Hungarian oak barrels.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Monte Rosso Vineyard so special?
MICHAEL: The vineyard is one of the best vineyards in the United States. A perfect terrior for growing mountain fruit. The vineyard was established in the 1880’s and consistently produces 90+ point wines.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
MICHAEL: Selling wine – all across the US.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
MICHAEL: Enjoy with family and friends over dinner
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
MICHAEL: If you keep buying my wine, I will keep making it.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Muscardini Cellars Tasting Romm can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Bottled with love, for the joy of living.
Enjoy the aromas of crusted dark ripe fruit with black pepper and smoky meat. Savor the seductive ripe raspberry and black-berry sweetness with soft tannins. A great wine with your favorite pasta or pizza. Drink now or cellar for five years. Enjoy.
VINEYARD: These Sangiovese grapes are from the famous Monte Rosso Vineyards. Muscardini Cellars has the only block of Sangiovese: 3.9 acres high on mountainside, western exposure with red, iron-rich soil. Perfect terroir for growing the best Sangiovese grapes.
VINTAGE: The 2009 vintage was a changing year weather-wise. We paid a lot of attention to the vines, and they show it.
WINEMAKING: We harvested early the morning of September 21st, 2009, then rushed the grapes to the winery. The fruit was still cold, so we cold soaked them for three days. After a long, slow fermentation, the wine was barrel-aged for twelve months in a combination of American and Hungarian oak barrels.
About The Winery:
Muscardini Cellars graces Sonoma Valley’s (Valley of the Moon) Monte Terra with its estate grape vines, family home and barrel room. You are welcome to visit us in our Kenwood tasting room; meanwhile, enjoy the photos here online. Sonoma County is world renowned for its microclimates and weather conditions ideal for winemaking.
Our History: Let’s start in Italy, 1892, when my grandfather, Emilio Alchera, was born in the village of Calliano, just outside of the city of Asti in the Piemonte region. Emilio came to America in 1909 via Ellis Island in New York. After heading to the West Coast by train to meet his two brothers, Antonio and Louis, he settled in San Francisco.
Emilio began his living in California by helping to dig the Caldecott Tunnel, which connects the East Bay to Contra Costa County. After saving his money, he began to buy and run corner grocery stores where he sold fine bulk wines, and in his spare time made a red table wine for the family. His business would eventually become the “St. Helena Napa Valley Wine Company.”
It has taken me some time to finally continue and expand upon my grandfather’s tradition in winemaking, but after owning and managing a construction company, Creative Spaces, for 27 years, the time was right. With family and friends, and blessed by Monsignor O’Hara from St. Leo’s Church, I planted our first Sangiovese vines in May of 2000.
As the grapes grew, my son, Gian Carlo, and I built our family home at “Monte Terra.” After moving into our new home on May 12, 2001, I began to study winemaking from two local winemakers, and took numerous related courses at UC Davis and Sonoma State University.
With our Sangiovese grapes ready to harvest in 2002, I took our first crop and my new winemaking knowledge and jumped in with both feet (less shoes). Now, with a number of harvests from both Monte Terra and other growers ~ some of the best in Sonoma County ~ behind me, I had honed my skills and won numerous awards, including two Best of Class awards and two Best of Show for my organically grown Sangiovese.
With winemaking in my blood, I asked the question, “Does the world need another winery?” And I thought, “Perhaps not, but the world does need to taste my wine.”
September 2005 was our first custom crush at Wellington Vineyards in Sonoma Valley. We plan to make about 200-300 cases each of a 100% Syrah grape grown by our friends Unti Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, a 100% Sangiovese grape grown by Merlo Vineyards in upper Dry Creek Valley, a Cabernet Sauvignon grown next door to our home, and a very special blend made in super Tuscan style – 65% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah. All four are barrel aging for 12 months in French and American oak.
WINEMAKER: Michael Muscardini
CASES PRODUCED: 493
HARVESTED: Sept 21, 2009
BOTTLED: Sept 7, 2010