As you may or may not know by now, I'm busy working with a friend setting up a wine distributor to serve Johnson County and the southern suburbs of Kansas City, Kansas. Today I had a great luncheon with Michael Hartman, Director of Sales & Marketing for Lucas & Lewellen Winery. We spent about three hours talking about the industry, the winery he represents and tasting through eight to ten of his wines. Before Lucas & Lewellen was a winery, it was a grape growing operation supplying fruit to many well-known California wineries. Today, they sell about half of their grapes and make wine with the other half. They market their Italian varietals under the brand Toccata.
One of the wines we tasted today was the 2009 Toccata Sangiovese, Santa Barbara County. This wine was opened and tasted without food around lunchtime and finished at dinner over a couple of homemade pizzas. Very light, almost transparent color; not atypical for Sangiovese. The nose is alive with lighter red fruits including strawberry and ruby red grapefruit, tar and just a hint of cracked fennel seed. Medium-bodied in the mouth (it picked up a considerable amount of weight after 6+ hours of being open) with tea notes, firm tannins and terrific acidity. Finishes with more grapefruit-like acidity. No trace of oak. I really appreciate the fact that this was made without the influence of new oak or heavy-handed extraction. It speaks of good, entry level Italian Chianti and great with pizza. About $20.
Disclaimer: This wine was provided by the winery free-of-charge and I am considering distributing this wine.