Recently these two Italian wines came across our tasting counter. They happen to have a few things in common. Both are 100% sangiovese from Tuscany. Both come from small, family-owned estates. You should seriously consider adding both to your personal collection.

Aside from that, however …

Assolati Montecucco Sangoivese Riserva 2009
$33 the bottle
Intense and complex aromas of black fruit, spices and some earthy notes. Full-bodied on the palate with pronounced black fruit flavors, soft tannins a warm, velvety character. The right touch of acidity makes for a very well-balanced wine.

The Nuts and Bolts –
Assolati is a family-run farmhouse and winery located in the rolling hills of the Montecucco DOC zone. The family has run their estate for generations and the farm is completely self-sufficient, housing animals and growing wheat and olives. Following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents, siblings Silvia and Luca took over the operations in 1999. The sangiovese grapes for this wine come from 40 year old vines growing in medium texture marl and tuff soils. The wine ferments in stainless steel for about 20 days. It ages in French Oak barrels for at least 18 months followed by about six months in bottle prior to release.

Il Palazzone Rosso (Vino Rosso) N/V
$32 the bottle
Full and persistent with lifted floral notes, followed by berry fruits and a hint of forest floor. Typical sangiovese aromas, evocative of Montalcino. Warm, dry, generous and well-balanced. Bright, fresh acidity with depth and Montalcino character. Great length and persistence.

The Nuts and Bolts –
You read that correctly; this is a non-vintage wine because it is a vertical blend of different vintages. The Assolati estate vineyards are in three very different areas of Montalcino. Consequently each vineyard ripens at a different time and the grapes show very different qualities due to difference in soil, age of vines, position and altitude. The wines from these grapes are vinified separately and then blended to become Brunello di Montalcino. Occasionally, winemaker Paolo Vagaggini chooses not to include a barrel of wine from one vineyard or another in order to maintain a consistent balance in the Brunello year after year. That wine is used to make this bottling. This release is a blend of “declassified Brunello” that came from 2009 and 2012