Sunday, December 14, 2014

From the slopes of an American Olympus...

an ideal label - simple, elegant, evocative.                                                                            
        Last week I tasted a sangiovese that was vinified from grapes grown adjacent to Thomas Jefferson's original plot at Monticello. The vintner, Gabriele Rausse, has for decades made the wine behind various Virginia labels, including his own, and is the closest thing the state has to a living viticultural father. Assistant director of gardens and grounds at Monticello, Rausse works in the literal shadow of Jefferson's dream and in some instances contributes to it. In levis and sweater, bareheaded except in the worst weather, he holds in rough hands the botanical progeny of Jefferson's early efforts.
   Rausse's Monticello sangiovese is imminently drinkable, with a lively nose and good body and balance. I approached this example of Jeffersonian terroir nervously, tasting what I imagined to be an earthy moral component for which there will thankfully never be an adequate wine-writerly descriptor.                      

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