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.
After two cooler than average vintages, the 2012 Columbia Valley growing season was “normal,” producing pure, expressive wines with excellent color and bright flavors. Early spring days were warm; April conditions were near perfect, then temperatures cooled considerably in May and June before warming for the summer and remaining consistent through harvest. Small berries loaded with intense flavor matured beautifully, yielding generous flavors and ripe, balanced tannins in the finished wine.
Aromas of red currants and ripe wild strawberries introduce a wine with bright and lively character. Fresh red berry flavors, a delicate floral note and vibrant acidity add balance to the mid-palate, which echoes across a lengthy finish.
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The 2012 Saggi is a blend of two outstanding Washington Sangiovese vineyards. Candy Mountain Sangiovese, planted in 1998, gives the wine its ripe, red fruit character. Dick Boushey’s Yakima Valley Sangiovese, planted in 1993, adds vibrancy and liveliness. Because Cabernet Sauvignon has the potential to overtake Sangiovese, the Folonaris work closely with Sagemoor Vineyards, carefully selecting grapes from prized blocks planted in 1972 to deliver Cabernet with elegant character and refined tannins that add complexity without overshadowing the Sangiovese. A small amount of Bacchus Vineyard Syrah adds color and complexity.
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.