Sangiovese with a Sea Breeze

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Sangiovese is one of Italy’s most abundant red grape varieties, but it’s not the easiest to work with from a viticultural or enological perspective. At Villa Venti, Davide and Mauro seem to have found the magic formula. Nestled in a lush valley in Emilia-Romagna, south east of Bologna, Villa Venti is situated on steep hills near the town of Roncofreddo. The brothers-in-law acquired this abandoned property, built a family home that they share with their wives, kids and in-laws, and in 2003 planted the vines with a group of friends. The area has such ideal conditions that within one month they had vigorous growth and by 2005 they had made their first vintage. Villa Venti is certified biodynamic and went completely solar-powered in 2010. And instead of building an expensive cellar, they share a wine-making facility with 14 other small producers.

The vineyards are 200 meters above sea level and cultivated with the ‘chandelier’ method, a modified head-trained system.  They are working with four Sangiovese clones that are planted according to the type of clay found in the soil. Red clay, mixed with some sand, gives the wines structure and the sea breeze from 10 kilometers away creates a micro-climate that keeps the wines fresh.

Although most people probably connect Sangiovese with Tuscany, the grape is an integral part of the long tradition of Romagna. In fact, it was in a monastery near Rimini that this wine was first called Sangiovese. During a banquet some guests asked the name of the red wine they were enjoying and a witty monk, taking a cue from the location of the monastery on Colle Giove, answered the name was “Sanguis Jovis” (Jupiter’s blood), hence Sangiovese.

On a recent visit to Villa Venti we were lucky enough to do a vertical tasting of Sangiovese Primo Segno from their first vintage in 2005 to the most recent 2012 vintage. This was the first time Davide and Mauro had tasted through and they were quite pleased with the results, as were we. The wines really started to sing in 2008, becoming more elegant and balanced with great fruit, floral, earth and spice. Although 2011 is ready to drink now, we would highly suggest you cellar a few bottles to enjoy in the future. Christine Manula

Villa Venti 2011 Romagna Sangiovese Primo Segno

Made from 100% Sangiovese grown in the hills of Romagna, brothers-in-law Davide and Mauro have been making Primo Segno together since 2005. Villa Venti is certified biodynamic and went completely solar-powered in 2010. They are working with four Sangiovese clones that are planted according to the type of clay found in the soil. Red clay, mixed with some sand, gives the wines structure and the sea breeze from 10 kilometers away creates a micro-climate that keeps the wines fresh. Bright ruby red, there is an intense nose of berries and violets. Crisp and juicy with good tannins and acidity, the Primo Segno is ready to drink now but will only improve with some age. Try it with braised rabbit pappardelle or lamb with rosemary. Christine Manula

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  • red
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  • $19.99

Villa Venti 2013 Forli IGT Bianco Serenaro

Famoso di Cesena, a native grape of Romagna, was first documented in 1437 but had all but disappeared by the early 1900s. In 2000 two old rows of vines were spotted in Mercato Saraceno (Forlì) and the owner knew it was “Famoso”. Today the grape is being revived by a group of winemakers who are convinced that the unique features of this grape variety should not be lost. Davide and Mauro at Villa Venti are growing Famoso on red clay and Messinian-age sand. Serenaro is fermented in stainless steel and aged six months on the lees then matured four months in bottle. No added yeasts and minimal sulfur is added. The result is a very aromatic wine with floral/lavender notes and hints of dried fruit. On the palate, it’s refreshing with citrus peel and nice minerality. Perfect with fish, fresh cheese and all'ascolana (fried stuffed olives). Christine Manula

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  • white
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  • $19.99