Among Tuscany's oldest and most prestigious wine families, Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari teamed with Allen Shoup to produce a wine that showcases Washington state's terroir with plenty of Italian character. Saggi (meaning "wisdom") is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.
The 2009 vintage was a memorable growing season that produced exceptional wines with deep color, richness and concentration. Spring was a bit cooler and wetter than usual, but the arrival of dry weather in June led to a good fruit set. Temperatures warmed considerably in July and stayed warm into September. These consistent, warm temperatures and lower than average yields caused the grapes to ripen quickly and evenly, sparking one of the earliest and fastest harvests on record.
Rich yet sleek, the 2009 Saggi delivers vibrant aromas and flavors of ripe wild strawberries, black currants and violets accented by notes of earth and spice. This wine is well-balanced, with delicious, mouth-filling acidity and a fine coating of dusty tannins that provide an expressive finish.
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Two outstanding Sangiovese vineyards provide the foundation for this bright, fresh wine. Candy Mountain Sangiovese contributes intense, wild strawberry aromas and flavors. Dick Boushey’s Yakima Valley Sangiovese, planted in 1993, gives the wine its wonderful liveliness. Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon adds structure. Wahluke Slope Syrah adds another dimension of color and dark fruit aromas and flavors. Together, these diverse sites combine for a complex, layered wine.
Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari are among Italy’s oldest and most prestigious Tuscan wine families with a winemaking history dating back to the late 1700s.
Today, Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute, conceived by this father-son team as a collection of small, beautifully located vineyards producing primarily Tuscan “grand crus,” is recognized for its distinctive, small-production wines from the family’s numerous estates. The vineyards are managed using modern viticulture techniques including dense planting and careful clonal selection and research. Both Ambrogio and Giovanni, a University of California at Davis enology graduate, are directly involved in winemaking and are dedicated to high quality wines that reflect the vineyard’s terroir.
Prior to launching A. & G. Folonari Tenute, Ambrogio was the president of Ruffino, originally purchased in 1912 by Ambrogio’s grandfather. While at the helm of Ruffino, Ambrogio was an outspoken advocate for Italian wine quality and took Ruffino in a new and original direction. In the late 1960s, the company began focusing on high-quality wines and in 1971 purchased Nozzole, a famous estate located near Greve in the heart of Chianti Classico. In the 1980s, Ambrogio created Cabreo, a unique combination of tradition and innovation including Cabreo Il Borgo (red), a blend of traditional Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, while La Pietra is Chardonnay from Tuscany, fermented and aged in oak. These wines were among the first in a new group of top wines now widely known as “Super Tuscans.”
In 2000, Ambrogio and Giovanni left Ruffino to focus on small-lot, estate-grown wines, committing to reinvesting, developing and expanding vineyard holdings in the interest of producing high-quality wines. Their portfolio, distributed in the U.S. by Kobrand, includes:
Nozzole Estate (Chianti Classico, Super Tuscan, Chardonnay)
Cabreo Estate (Super Tuscans)
TorCalvano di Gracciano Svetoni Estate (Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano)
La Fuga, Montalcino Estate (Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino)
Conti Spalletti Estate (Chianti Rufina, Chianti, Rosso Toscano)
Campo al Mare Estate (Bolgheri DOC, Vermentino IGT)
Vigne a Porrona Estate (Montecucco, Morellino, Maremma)
Ronco dei Folo Estate (Colli Orientali del Friuli, Pinot Grigio, Tocai, Sauvignon)
Giovanni and his wife Eleonora live with their three children at the Cabreo Estate in Greve, 30 minutes from Florence.