Technique

Blending Italian Red Wines

Three North American winemakers share their best advice for blending red Italian varieties that are often lesser known and less common in the New World. These grapes bring their own challenges, but can be worth the work. Rusty Folena: Vino Noceto, Plymouth, California Sangiovese is the primary red Italian varietal we work with, with 24 acres planted in Amador County, California with two Chianti and three Brunello clones. Two other red Italian grapes we use to a lesser extent are Teraldego and Aglianico. We are on a decomposed granite, sandy loam, at about 1,200 feet (365 m) elevation, with rows running north to south. We have rolling hills so we end up with quite a few microclimates and the wines tend to show a real earthiness along with some minerality with crisp acid and fruit.  We have the luxury of having up to 20 different Sangiovese lots a year, since we harvest over a period of a couple of months sometimes and use several different fermentation techniques. Even when we are blending just to make varietal Sangiovese wines we have