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2003 Azienda Agricola Trere "Sperone" Sangiovese, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Frequent readers will know that I'm a fan of Italian wines, in particular the muscular Sangiovese based reds of Montepulciano and Montalcino in Tuscany. I don't often find a lot of people who are a huge fan of this varietal in its Italian incarnation, as it tends to have dominant earthy and leathery flavors with heavy tannic structures that take years if not decades to mellow out. I break out an occasional Vino Nobile de Montepulciano and some folks edge their way to the end of the table that holds a Syrah or Cabernet, or something with more fruit.

With this wine, however, we have something that is both unmistakably Sangiovese, but also has a lot less oak, much softer tannins, and a nice round fruit profile that is bound to appeal to many more people, while still satisfying to those who will crave a little more complexity from their wine. It is aged in oak for far less time than its cousins from Tuscany and ends up being a highly drinkable and overall tasty package.

In the early Sixties, Valeriano Trerè purchased 14 hectares (35 acres)of land outside of Faenza in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy to start a family farm. The first wines from Azienda Agricola Trere were produced by Valeriano in the early 70's and were among the first wines of the region to receive DOC designation. Now the farm is run by his daughter Morena, who took an interest in winemaking after a degree in art, and her son Massimiliano, And is a consistent producer of high quality, good value wines. They have also created a quaint agriturismo, where wine enthusiasts or tourists seeking a little quiet calm can stay for a few nights in the countryside.

Trere produces quite a few wines including this Sangiovese, as well as some white wines based on the Albana grape, which is so old that you can find references to it in old Etruscan writings, and several other white and red blends.

This Sangiovese Vigna dello Sperone gets its name from the hillside vineyard on the southwest corner of the estate which is grown using a method called "spur-training" or "sperone" in Italian. This is basically a method for reducing yields which involves pruning the vines in such a way that they produce fewer clusters of grapes.

The wine is 85% Sangiovese, and 15% Cabernet and Merlot. It spends between 6 and 8 months in French oak barrels before being bottle aged for another six months.

Tasting Notes:
A deep, ruby color, this wine has an equally deep and rich black cherry aroma in the nose. On the palate it has softer, very accessible flavors of cherry, with earth, smoke, and saddle leather elements tied together with delicate tannins. The wine finishes with a hint of sweet oak, and misses the

Food Pairing:
Like most Sangioveses this is a great pairing with grilled meats and anything that has a tomato based sauce. Because it has a little more fruit than the normal Italian Sangiovese, it can pair with even spicier foods, like this sauteed skirt steak in spicy tomato sauce.

Overall Score: 9

How Much?: $10

This one could be a little tricky to track down. Your best best is to contact the importer, Ideal Wine and Spirits and see if they can point you to a local retailer.

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