"You can't put in the bottle what isn't in the fruit."
“Italian Style Wines” are made from the greatest of Italian grape varietals such as Sangiovese, and Nebbiolo. We also utilize Italian winemaking techniques like the slow-dried grape method “Appassimento” which in Italy produce the renowned Amarone and Recioto wines.
“g. Cuneo is about bringing Washington grown Classic Italian style wines to the table of America.”
To be truly successful, a varietal grown outside its native soil should bear many of the same characteristics that make it a great wine in its native environment. It should be recognizable as the varietal it is. However the task is not simply to “clone” it in another region. One of the glories of wine is the pleasure it brings in subtle differences that are a direct expression of the place in it which it is grown.
It is essential to respect the uniqueness of the grape, how it wants to grow, and have a firm understanding of the “place” in which it is being introduced. Both the fruit and the field have limitations and as well as potential advantages.
“Following in the path of California Cabernet Sauvignon, and Oregon Pinot Noir, I believe Washington can be the next great American expression of Sangiovese.”
Simply put Sangiovese as a generous grape, is easy to abuse. It is easy to over crop, or assume it can be managed in the vineyard as one would Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah even though it is thin skinned and prone to sun burning. Respecting the fruit’s different responses to canopy management, sun exposure, crop level, watering etc. as well as site selection, vine density, row orientation, and clonal selection, are essential to realizing a great Sangiovese wine.
Washington State grown Sangiovese has a few advantages that Sangiovese grown in Italy does not. Careful water regulation and using irrigation can be used to control its natural rambunctious vigor. Mildew and bunch rot to which Sangiovese are susceptible, rarely effect the dry climate of the Columbia Valley. There isn’t a need for rootstock as phylloxera is not present, and due to its relatively gentle landscape, farming can be more easily mechanized.
Conversely the unique soils and varied growing climate of Tuscany have over the centuries proven themselves to produce one of the world’s great wines – Sangiovese. Generations of trial and error have informed an intimate understanding of those special places and their resultant world class wines like Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino. All of which begs the question what are those differences which distinguish Washington State Sangiovese from the great wines of Tuscany?
The Sangiovese of the Columbia Valley in Washington tend to have a somewhat riper flavor and texture while tannins tend to be more rounded. Overall, like most New World wines, they tend to have a more intense fruit component with respect to both aromas and flavors, with a sweeter note on the palate. At their best they are capable of dark color, excellent concentration, with full rich, ripe flavors and aromas while still retaining their exuberance and elegance.
Without genuine attention to their unique growing habits they can be over cropped and overblown, resulting in weakly colored wines, with harsh tannins, thinner textures and overripe aromas and flavors. The vineyards we work with have a commitment to growing outstanding Sangiovese fruit. Our “Bonatello” wines are the result of years of research in the vineyards of Tuscany, and collaboration with some of the best growers in Washington State.
Some of our “Bonatello” wines come from vineyards we have designed from the ground up based on our experience to maximize the potential of the Sangiovese fruit. Our work led to the first planting in America of a certified, commercial “Brunello” Clone of Sangiovese, VCR6, and the excellent Romagnolo Clone VCR 23. We continue to work with these clones as well as carefully selected Sangiovese vineyard sites that have a proven track record of producing excellent Sangiovese wine.
Coyote Canyon Vineyards
Horse Heaven Hills AVA
80 McKinley Springs Rd.,
Prosser WA 99350
Waluke Slope AVA
21403 Hwy 243 S.
Mattawa, WA 99349