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 2013 growing season started with an early bud break followed by dry, warm weather that lasted until a few days of mid-June rain moved through the Columbia Valley. The precipitation allowed the vines to establish a solid canopy that proved useful when temperatures climbed immediately following the rain. With a protective exterior canopy, we were able to open the interior canopy to allow uniform ripening in the fruit zone and as temperatures cooled in the fall the grapes benefited from extended hang time.
Deep crimson in color, with bright aromas of ripe strawberries woven around a hint of sweet spice, this is a lively wine with a refined texture and vibrancy that elevates the ripe red currant and fresh plum flavors on the mid-palate. Beautifully balanced and rich from entry through an extended finish.
Like previous vintages, the 2013 Saggi is a blend of two outstanding Washington Sangiovese vineyards. Candy Mountain Sangiovese gives the wine bright, ripe aromas and flavors. Dick Boushey’s Yakima Valley Sangiovese, planted in 1993, adds vibrancy and balanced acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon from Stone Tree Vineyard was chosen for the restrained power of the fruit that adds structure to the finished wine without overshadowing the Sangiovese. Syrah from The Benches adds to the wine’s dark color and rich mid-palate.
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.