2013 Seghesio Vineyards Sangiovese that I dug up from my cold dirt cellar.

I went into the basement.

It’s not fancy.  I have to go outside the house.

A twist of the lock and the thin bare door opens. There are no stairs, just a small step ladder with some pieces of wood shoved under some of the legs to keep it stable.


The floor is b…  There is no floor.  It’s under the house.  There is dirt.  It’s a dirt floor.  There is a light but it struggles.  My wines are in various card board boxes in the corner.

It is not insulated.  It stays damp and cold down here.  Even in the summer.

The wine is happy.

As I search through the boxes I have the same old problem.  The problem hate.  And love even more.  I have no cheap wines.  I have no average wines.

I’m too poor and can’t afford to purchase those at the grocery store.

Years of love and working in Napa Valley have left me with my favorite problem: I don’t have any wine that’s ok to drink by myself, in the middle of the week.  My stash is mostly just great Napa Cab’s, some with age, and a few great zinfandels from Seghesio.

Not really wine you should drink by yourself.  But, life is tough.

After searching, I pulled the 2013 Seghesio Sangiovese (if you like great wine go here: http://www.seghesio.com/) .  This is a wine I definitely shouldn’t drink by myself.  This is a wine I should share with friends that want to learn more about wine.


Because Sangiovese, the great Italian grape that is the foundation of Chianti, has not done well in California and North America in both popularity and quality.

This Seghesio example, is the exception.  In terms of quality.  This is a wonderful wine.

I should drink this with my friends that don’t have access to wines like this because I could tell them that Seghesio is an old Italian family that has been making wine in Sonoma County for 150 years.

I could tell folks that this is a special wine because it was grown in a harsh environment.  You see, sangiovese is quite a vigorous grape and if it’s grown in happy fertile soils, the grapes will grow too big, the wines will taste green.  Not what you want in a silky red wine.

I don’t know the exact vineyards these grapes came from.  But, I’ve been to Seghesio’s  rocky, steep, epic Rattlesnake Vineyard.  This is the home where Venom is grown.  Venom is the best of the best Seghesio sangiovese.  It’s a beautiful wine.  If it was a cabernet sauvignon, it would cost at least $100 a bottle more.

Anyway, Rattlesnake Vineyard is a steep rocky hillside.  I can’t believe it’s a vineyard.  It’s the perfect place to grow sangiovese.  The soil retains no water.  The summer time temperatures scorch the earth.  The angle of the slope catching the maximum hours of the summer time rays.  Nothing else grows or lives there.  Except rattlesnakes.

The perfect place to tame that Sangiovese grape.

So that’s the home of Venom.  This wine is not Venom.  But, I’d wager that some of the grapes that didn’t make the cut for Venom, made it into this wine.  And any sensible place to grow sangiovese is going to be pretty rough.

You have to put this grape near death, for it to feel the need to produce the highest quality offspring, which a skilled winemaker can turn into… something to write about.

P.S. Who remembers Niebaum-Coppola?