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.
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!
The approximate location of the Muscardini Cellars Tasting Romm can be seen in this satellite photo.