There can really be no debate about the best Sangiovese ever…
Well, that’s not exactly true for the best ever will be debated with no resolution. However, the best Sangiovese ever for under $20 – in fact, under $15, is not a topic open to debate in my opinion.
That wine is the Fattoria Zerbina Ceregio Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore. A wine of perfect Sangiovese varietal character vintage after vintage with a bright freshness that embarrasses most Tuscan reds. Ceregio is everything you could want out of Sangiovese at such a modest price range. In fact, Ceregio is a better Sangiovese and more Italian in character than most Tuscan reds at double the price. The only reason this wine could remain such a value is that it not Tuscan, but a product of neighboring Romagna.
Winemaker extrordinaire Cristina Geminani, owner and winemaker of Zerbina, has crafted this wine with the same passion, intensity and skill she devotes to all of her wines – no matter the price. Cristina is dedicated to excellence and that means her top wines, like Pietramora and Marzieno are extraordinary, but it also means that her basic wines, like Ceregio, are incredible values.
The current release of Ceregio, the 2004, is yet another of a long list of very fine Ceregios that I have had the pleasure to enjoy for well over a decade. Explosively alive with fresh fruit on the nose and a bright rich ruby color that is still translucent, the juicy bittersweet cherry fruit mixes with sweet tobacco and a firm mineral backbone to create a wine that could only be Sangiovese.
This is a wine to go out of your way to find.