One of the best things about writing a wine article is my endless search for a diamond in the rough. I will taste a bunch of different wines, which I will never write about, and then I find it! A wine few have heard of, let alone tried. This happened to me recently. A Danville Weekly reader named Cindy e-mailed me and told me I must try Miner Family Vineyards and it turned out to be one of those diamonds.
As the name suggests, Miner Family Vineyards is a family affair. It is run by a husband and wife team, with some help from Mom and Dad. Miner is a growing brand, which currently produces 25,000 cases per year but has the capability of expanding to 100,000 cases. Currently they mainly produce small-lot wines. The benefit of small-lot wines is twofold. First, they tend not to be as generic as some of the mass-produced wines. In smaller lots, the vintner can have a little more control on the outcome of the wine. Second, they make great gift wines, as the recipient has rarely heard or tried the wines.
The gem that I found this week is the 2006 Miner Sangiovese, which cost about $24. Sangiovese is a finicky grape to grow. It thrives in a low altitude, warmer climates, is late to ripen and may easily rot if it gets too damp. However, if the grower and winemaker get it right, it is a thing of beauty.
The Miner Sangiovese is a very appealing, fruit forward wine. Lots of berries in the scent and as it opens up the fresh smell of vanilla and sweet wood make an appearance. It is a complex wine on the taste as initially it starts off sweet (front of the tongue) and then moves to a more sour taste (sides of the tongue) on the finish. Finding a wine that stimulates both sweet and sour creates a lingering sensation in the mouth and the urge to keep reaching for another glass.
Sangiovese pairs well with most Italian or Greek dishes but works especially well with tomato based pasta. For a change, try matching this to sweet and sour dishes and it should truly help with the finish on the wine.
As we all know, finding a great wine is often like finding a great recipe - the best ones come from friends and family. If there is a wine or winery you would like me to review, please e-mail me with the details and I will get right on it. Until next time, cheers!
Don Colman, the Everyday Wine Guy lives in Danville and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org