Class 15A of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS) covered 2010 and 2011 sangiovese. In much of the country, 2011 was not a good vintage for sangiovese, with fruit suffering under the disease pressures of cool and wet. But 2010 was a different story, many regions having a break from heatwave, drought, frost and other difficult conditions.
This was a small class of 14 entries. Some wines definitely needed more time to come up (like the 2010 Vigna Cantina), but my general impression of the class was poor. From what I saw under show conditions, the wines I would buy were:
- 2010 Chalk Hill sangiovese (McLaren Vale, stainless steel, then large-format old oak), which took a bronze from the judges
- 2010 Coriole sangiovese (McLaren Vale, strong showing, well worth a gold medal, which it received)
- 2010 Watershed Premium Wines 'Senses' sangiovese (Margaret River, the other gold medal awarded).
It is useful to look at the prices as well as the regions here. The Coriole has a $25 rrp but will often retail at about $20 a bottle if you look. The Chalk Hill is a $22 rrp. $25 for the Watershed. These wines can hit a good balance of quality and price point - something I still think is a fundamental problem with quite a bit of Australian sangiovese. Of the three, the Chalk Hill could afford to dial the 15.5% alcohol back, but did not really show distorting heat that much. The Watershed made me think I need to have a closer look at Italian varieties coming out of WA (the Juniper Estate Tempranillo extending that case into Spain).