Wine: Vola Sangiovese IGT.
Region: Umbria, central Italy
In the glass: Vola Sangiovese is a deep crimson-red color with a semi-opaque ruby core going out into a fine bright-red rim definition with medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: The wine opens up with pleasant red fruits, cranberry juice, a bit of watermelon, followed by nicely rustic tones of tomato paste, violets and wild red flowers with a hint of earthy minerality.
On the palate: Vola Sangiovese confirms the rustic edge with deep red and black fruits, sloe crush, loganberries and anise, which is to be expected of a classic 100 percent sangiovese wine, but it is part of the authenticity of the heritage of the wine. The midpalate is nicely balanced and good, soft tannins intermingle with rustic red fruits, white pepper and decent acidity. The finish is rounded and solid with a touch of peppery spice, making this a very tasty wine indeed.
Odds and ends: I know what you’re thinking: How can you get a decent, let alone pretty delicious, bottle of wine for $1.99? It is possible, because I came across this in Trader Joe’s, whose claim to fame in the wine retailing game has been the Charles Shaw line, or Two Buck Chuck as it is called. That wine sells for $2.99 here, so this Vola beats it by a full dollar and tastes much better! One has to wonder how D’Aquino, who furnishes it, finds a pretty nicely crafted wine in Italy, then imports it into the United States and sells it to a retail chain that can then sell it for less than $2, including all applicable federal and state taxes. While it may be a mystery, there’s no denying the appeal to the savvy wine consumer. This is going to be the new red house wine for most of us, as long as it lasts. It is remarkably easy to drink and doesn’t suffer from having additional residual sugar inserted into the final blend to make it palatable. Try it with a classic Italian veal dish, such as Milanese style. Vola Sangiovese should drink well through 2013.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at email@example.com.