As I’ve mentioned, Sangiovese was my first love. So let’s visit another one, this time from Zarpara Vineyards. Their tasting room and vineyards are located directly on the Willcox Bench, at about 4,200 feet in elevation. They focus on growing Spanish, Rhone, and Italian varietals. The soil is mostly sandy loam and rocky and has a slight slope. Zarpara Vineyards currently has 1,080 Sangiovese vines which are growing quite happily.
Zarpara 2012 Sangiovese, looming against the sky. Okay, standing. Sangiovese doesn’t loom. It’s much too nice for that.
The Wine: Sangiovese is one of Arizona’s best grapes, and this vintage, made by Mark Jorve, is no exception. The wine is a pleasant and friendly medium red color. It is designed to be reminiscent of a classic Chianti Classico; consisting of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Monastrell/Mourvedre. This wine was aged in neutral oak.
Nose: There is a distinct earthy petrichor to the nose, reminiscent of the storms which sweep across the Willcox Bench during the monsoon; an entirely different earthiness than that found in Italian Sangiovese. Intermingled with this earthy monsoon petrichor are subtle notes of vanilla spice, oregano, fennel, and coriander, and Squadron Leader. The nose is not terribly fruity at all; but some hints of red currants, orange peel, and cherries are present, buried under the earth.
Palate: This wine is pleasantly spicy, medium-bodied, and refreshing with an evenly-balanced acidity. Hints of spices such as clove and coriander intermingle with subtle notes of vanilla, tarragon, and earth. Red currants and cherries are repeated on the palate as well. This wine has a very even taste profile, with well-rounded tannins and is quite lively and fresh.
Pairing: Spaghetti with meat sauce. No meatballs necessary here, but if you want to add them, go ahead. Throw in some mushrooms with that pasta, too. And make it a red sauce, not a white one.
Impressions: It’s a classic medium-bodied Arizona Sangiovese, which is to say that it is DELICIOUS. Indeed, it is strongly reminiscent of a classic Italian Chianti, which makes it even more better for the nostalgic value, as far as I’m concerned. As mentioned before; Sangiovese is your female best friend; this time you’re both dressed up and going about the town in elegant eveningwear.