Variety: 50% Sangiovese; 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Toscana, Italy
Cost: $16 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: The wine is proudly Tuscan, with its distinct Sangiovese markers of black cherry, dried herbs, and tangy acidity. Lovers of Cabernet Sauvignon note he bold fruit and touch of menthol. An adaptable food partner, the Erta e China has enough fruit to stand up to grilled meat and BBQ, and enough acidity to pair with a hearty salad.
My Review: I always have a hard time saying no to Italian wine – my first experience with wine were Chiantis, and they always hold a special place in my heart (regardless of their quality). Because of that, I was interested to try a 50/50 Sangiovese/Cabernet blend, given my sometimes testy relationship to the Cabernet grape.
In the glass the wine was a deep red with hints of purple around the edges. On the nose I picked up aromas of tart fruit, including raspberry, strawberry (most noticeably based on the underlining from my personal notes), and blueberry.
In the mouth tart notes of strawberry were joined by a touch of spice and a lingering finish. My wife and I paired the 2017 Renzo Mazi Erta e China with a steak salad and it was a good pairing, the tart fruit providing a nice acidic counter to the rich steak; I think the wine would pair well with grilled meats or saucy pastas – anything juicy that could benefit from some tartness.
Overall I liked the wine, and at $16 I think it’s a good value, especially for middle of the week sipping (we opened the wine on a Wednesday). If you’re looking to mix up the Chianti/Pinot Grigio cycle of Italian wine, you’d do well to give this wine a glance.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.