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I’m missing summer a little bit here, so I’m going to review a wine that makes me think of the summertime.  Okay, actually, I’m missing it a lot, because it is quite frigid outside currently.  It’s on nights like this that we must return to the Sangioveses in our lives, whether wines or people; those which enrich and warm our lives.

The 2012 Cicada is from Cellar Dwellers, which was started by Chris Babin and John Scarbrough, with Jon Scarbrough as the winemaker. With enthusiastic fervor, a love of winemaking and of Arizona’s fantastic terroir and landscape; the duo have set out to create great Arizona wines.  The first launched was their Tarantula Hawk Zinfandel in 2008.The inspiration for the wine labels come from the Arizona landscape and it’s wildlife; they’re almost all named after the fantabulous insect fauna that dwell in the high desert. The company is dedicated to the community, perfecting their wines and contributing to the growing Arizona wine industry.  So far, I feel like they’ve been doing a fantastic job. (I’d argue that the Tarantula Hawk is the closest thing you can find in Arizona to a classic Lodi-style Zinfandel, for example). You can find their wines at several restaurants, but chiefly at Fire Mountain Wines, located in Old Town Cottonwood, next to Pillsbury Wine Company.

2012 Cicada, Cellar Dwellars. 100% Sangiovese

2012 Cicada, Cellar Dwellars. 100% Sangiovese

The Wine: When I think of Cicadas, I think of summer, and I think of the earth within which Cicadas spend most of their lives, buried underground amidst the roots of vines and trees.  These two qualities lend themselves well to the naming of a Sangiovese, as they are usualy light, earthy reds perfect for the summer, so well done!  I’ve talked about Sangiovese a number of times here on The Wine Monk, so I won’t rehash details about this grape.  The 2012 Cicada is 100% Sangiovese; some previous iterations of this wine were super-tuscan style blends.  I don’t know how much oak this wine saw, but I suspect french oak, possibly 95% neutral as the qualities from oak within this vintage are rather soft and subtle, but not as subtle as completely neutral oak.  It’s a little darker than most Arizona Sangiovese, but not as dark as the Kitsune from Caduecus.

Nose:  The classic Squadron Leader pipe tobacco notes are present in the boquet of this wine, which, as mentioned before, are absolutely standard for Arizona Sangiovese. There is also an intense floral characteristic to the nose, which is quite suprising to me: specifically roses and gardenia.  There are also subtle notes of vanilla, cedar, sandalwood, and damp earth just after a monsoon thunderstorm underlying the entirity of the nose.

Palate: The earthy, peppery, and pipe-tobacco tones of sangiovese are well balanced on the palate along with explosively bright cherry, blackberry, and the subtle tones of vanilla from neutral french oak. The finish lasts about five seconds, and contains blackberry, cedar, allspice, and tarragon, intermingled this time with sour cherries and dry earth.  The wine doesn’t taste noticibly hot in any form.  It’s pretty light and airy, but with a little bit of backbone.

Pairing: This wine would be PERFECT with a great slice or two of an italian sausage and mushroom pizza.  If you wanted to do a vegan pairing with this wine, I would reccomend stuffed portabello mushrooms with red sauce and roasted peppercorns.

Impressions: The 2012 Cicada is absolutely lovely, but then, of course it would be; it’s Sangiovese, and the balance between light color and medium body is quite nice, and really does make me think of the summer.  Specifically, it is like sitting next to your closest friend of the opposite gender as yourself on a day in early July, just after the Fourth, looking across the Verde Valley.  It’s just past noon and the cicadas are chanting their ison, providing the backdrop for the liturgy of life; meanwhile, the canyon wrens and hummingbrids are alto and soprano, while the slow rumble of the monsoon thunderstorm building atop Mingus Mountain forms the bass tones.  There are no words; a friendship like this between you and your companion needs no words to communicate, when a look, and a smile, or even a gesture is an entire sentence.  Everything is perfect for that moment…until the storm breaks and you have to move inside, but at least that’s right when the food is done.  It’s ready to drink now, but you could easily hold onto it for another five or so years. (But, it’s Sangiovese!  Why wait?)

Here’s the thing to remember: Sangiovese never rejects you. It only loves you for who you are, always. ALWAYS. Which is exactly why Sangiovese is like your best friend.