2012 Sangiovese, Alpicella Vineyard

A bed of ripe Strawberries on a summer morning.

The Vineyard: Dan and Betsy Sanchez’s Alpicella Vineyard is on top of the highest mountain peak bordering Sonoma Valley on the east. It’s above the summer fog line on a west facing, steeply terraced, slope. Watered by spring water magically bubbling from the ground and grown without pesticides, Dan’s Sangiovese grapes respond by giving us this wonderful wine. Alpicella means little Alps. It’s appropriate.

The 2012 Vintage was stellar. The weather was perfect, without heat spikes during harvest or unseasonable rain. The wines from 2012 are full bodied, show strong structure and tannins. They will be long lived.

Vini­cation: Whole berry fermentation tamed the tannins. Gentle handling and attention to the myriad details over its journey from vine to bottle have enhanced the special character of the fruit, integrating it with the structure. After starting the fermentation on indigenous yeast, we inoculated with Brunello yeast, a traditional Tuscan yeast, which accentuates the Sangiovese characteristics. The last of the fermentation took place in the barrels in our wine cave, adding nuance.

The Sangiovese Experience starts with an aroma of strawberries and roses in front of your palate. The Merlot enhances this initial experience. With the fi­rst sip, the flavors expand rapidly into a swell of mid-palate flavors that crests forward into a wave that evokes ripe strawberries fresh from the patch along with a bit of Allspice and cedar cigar box. The Malbec is picked up as Blackberry notes in the bottom back of the palate as a continuation of the fruit essence. The oak affect is very subtle, leaving the grapes to express their uniqueness. The tannins are restrained and meld perfectly with the fruit. The ­finish is long and gentle.

Our Sangiovese pairs perfectly with Italian food and is also excellent with simple fare, like a ham Panini. It is a versatile wine, be adventurous, from soup to nuts it will always fi­t in. We love it all by itself, chilled, on a summer afternoon. Our 2012 Sangiovese is drinkable now and will age well for 10 years.

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95% Sangiovese, 3% Malbec, 2% Merlot


Alcohol 14.3%, Residual Sugar 0.45g/L. SO2 at release 12 ppm, low histamines


Barrel aged 31 months in 70% American and 30% French oak, 25% new.