The 2010 Roccalta Sangiovese is a $3.99 Trader Joe’s import exclusive sourced from Sangiovese grapes grown in the Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot) region in southeastern Italy. Sangiovese is the main grape used in Chianti and the lead grape in Super Tuscan blends. This is an IGT designated wine which means that the wine exhibits characteristics of wines from Puglia, but they didn’t follow all the rules and regulations necessary to be a DOC or a DOCG wine. Even though this is a sub 4 buck wine, the back label proudly names the winemaker, Sabino Russo. Sabino Russo is the head winemaker for Castellani Spa, a family owned winemaking estate (founded in 1903) located in Pontedera, Tuscany. This wine was bottled in Pontedera and the cork says, “ Premium Italian wines since 1903.” So, it looks like at a minimum, Castellani’s winemaker produced the wine, their bottling facility bottled the wine and Castellani corks were used to top the wine. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is a dark, but not opaque black cherry red with brownish highlights. The nose is plums, spearmint chewing gum and Nestle’s Quick powder. This is a medium bodied wine, with a bit more going on in the glass than you would expect for a $3.99 Red wine. It tastes of strawberry, black cherry, raisin spice, a touch of tart cranberry and late hit of cinnamon spice. The tannins are soft and out of the way, the acidity is mild and the finish runs out of steam fairly quickly.
The 2010 Roccalta Sangiovese is a $3.99 wine without any “issues,” no off flavors, no hollow spots on the palate, it’s got fresh fruit flavors and the spice adds a little complexity. It is not an exciting wine, but it will more than do the job when paired with burgers or a Chipolte steak burrito. This is a very drinkable bottle of wine.