The Pizzini family has been at the forefront of Italian varietals for many years, and would be hard to beat for the number of outstanding wines of diverse varieties it offers. Recently, there’s been a re-thinking of the sangiovese portfolio, which is becoming quite extensive. There are five wines: some have been re-branded, and new ones introduced.
The hierarchy is now clear, and it starts with the 2013 sangiovese shiraz (tasting), which is outstanding value for money at $19 from the winery’s cellar door, at Cheshunt in the King Valley. It’s also widely available in retail shops.
Then there’s the baseline pure sangiovese, which now bears the brand-name Nonna Gisella. The 2013 (tasting) is $21.50 ex-winery and the wine is sweet-fruited, straightforward and grapy.
Next up the ladder is Pietra Rossa (red soil). The 2013 (tasting) is $28 at cellar door and is the most mineral of all the sangioveses, a real contrast to the Nonna Gisella.
Above this is the Forza di Ferro, a superb example of the sangiovese grape. The name means ‘strength of iron’, and is a good description of this rendition of sangiovese. The 2013 (tasting) will be $60 at cellar door when released in January.
The $110 Rubacuori remains at the top of the tree. With several years of bottle-age (the 2008 is the current release – tasting), this statuesque wine is unique in Australia. The price is also ex-cellar door; it could well be more expensive in retail shops. Rubacuori means ‘stealer of hearts’, which presumably is how the Pizzini family members feel about this most Italian of all wine grapes.
I can’t name another Australian winery that has put so much effort into Italian grapes, especially the sangiovese and nebbiolo. I’ll leave the nebbs for another day. Meanwhile, I strongly recommend getting acquainted with the Pizzini sangiovese range.
They are among the 150 alternative variety reds I’ve reviewed and uploaded recently. There also a smattering of imports, the most impressive being two wonderful 2011 Fontodi Tuscan reds – the Chianti Classico Vigna del Sorbo (tasting), and the oaky, ultra-showy Flaccianello (tasting). While the latter is very oaky, tannic and powerful and needs a lot of time, the Chianti is a great wine which you can already enjoy, although also just at the start of its long trajectory. A truly impressive red wine, fully justifying its high (for Chianti) price of $100. But this is no ordinary Chianti.