(62% Sangiovese, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah)
Columbia Valley, Washington
WINEMAKERS – Ambrogio & Giovanni Folonari
Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari are among Italy’s oldest and most prestigious Tuscan wine families with a winemaking history dating back to the late 1700s. Today, Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute, conceived by this father-son team as a collection of small, beautifully located vineyards producing primarily Tuscan “grand crus,” is recognized for its distinctive, small-production wines from the family’s numerous estates. Both Ambrogio and Giovanni, a University of California at Davis enology graduate, are directly involved in winemaking and are dedicated to high quality wines that reflect the vineyard’s terroir.
Prior to launching A. & G. Folonari Tenute, Ambrogio was the president of Ruffino, originally purchased in 1912 by Ambrogio’s grandfather. While at the helm of Ruffino, Ambrogio was an outspoken advocate for Italian wine quality and took Ruffino in a new and original direction. In the late 1960s, the company began focusing on high-quality wines and in 1971 purchased Nozzole, a famous estate located near Greve in the heart of Chianti Classico. In the 1980s, Ambrogio created Cabreo, a unique combination of tradition and innovation including Cabreo Il Borgo (red), a blend of traditional Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, while La Pietra is Chardonnay from Tuscany, fermented and aged in oak. These wines were among the first in a new group of top wines now widely known as “Super Tuscans.” In 2000, Ambrogio and Giovanni left Ruffino to focus on small-lot, estate-grown wines, committing to reinvesting, developing and expanding vineyard holdings in the interest of producing high-quality wines. Their portfolio, distributed in the U.S. includes: Nozzole Estate, Cabreo Estate, TorCalvano di Gracciano Svetoni Estate, La Fuga, Montalcino Estate, Conti Spalletti Estate, Campo al Mare Estate, Vigne a Porrona Estate, and Ronco dei Folo Estate.
Two outstanding Sangiovese vineyards provide the foundation for this bright, fresh wine. Candy Mountain Sangiovese, planted in 1998, is grown in a warm area of the Columbia Valley adjacent to Red Mountain and yields fruit with dark, ripe cassis aromas and flavors. Conditions are slightly cooler in the Yakima Valley, giving Boushey Vineyard Sangiovese, planted in 1993, its bright, lively character. Cabernet Sauvignon from Stone Tree Vineyard (Wahluke Slope) supplies backbone. Bacchus Vineyard Syrah, grown east of the Tri-Cities, adds elegance and heightened color.
Hand-harvested grapes were crushed, then using a technique known as saignee, 5-10% of the juice was removed from the tank to enhance extraction before beginning an extended maceration of 30 days on average in small two-ton tanks. The process provides for optimal extraction and broadens the mid-palate. The wine was aged 18 months in French oak barrels (55% new).
94 points – Jeb Dunnuck