Bright Cellars (take 2): Cardella Winery

After cracking open my case of curated wine, my next selection was a Sangiovese from Cardella Winery.

If you're new here, Hi! (Now's a great time to subscribe to follow my Bright Cellars wine journey!) I've recently taken the Bright Cellars' quiz in order to have 6 unique bottles of wine shipped right to my door, all curated to suit my specific taste preferences! Since then, I've tried a Riesling from Sunshower, and found it to be a perfectly serviceable wine (but not the perfectly tailored wine I was promised!) Today I'm cracking open another bottle to put this company up to another test! My goal is to be able to tell all of you lovely folks at home whether or not this company is the real deal. Is it worth the $100? Are the wines all that interesting? Are my bottles really matched to my taste, or does Bright Cellars operate on flukes? Only time (and a few bottles of wine) will tell!

For those of you, like me, who have never heard of Sangiovese, here's the skinny:

Sangiovese (pronounced san·jow·vei·zuh) grapes are incredibly common in Italy due to their distinct adaptability in numerous environments. The plant's ability to adapt also creates many flavor mutations, making Sangiovese wines extremely diverse in flavorings.

As a red wine, it will often display notes of dark fruits like plums, cherries, and fig. These wines also tend to have high acidity and firm tannins. Sangiovese is notably aged in oak barrels, therefore an oaky note is most often present as well.

Like most wines of old world-origins, Sangiovese can have very different characteristics depending where it's been fermented. Most wines become more fruit-forward versions of themselves when made by American wineries. When made in Italy, the wine will likely be more rustic. Rustic, meaning far more savory and firmer tannins.

Though Sangiovese has become rather abundant in its home region, it is relatively rare to find a bottle in America. This is probably why I've yet to have the pleasure! Here's to my first Sangiovese experience, courtesy of Cardella Winery.


This Sangiovese has a luxurious garnet coloring. The depth and richness of the wine is already pronounced in it's lovely complexion. This wine does not have a lot of legs when tilted, suggesting a slightly sweet/lower alcoholic experience.


The first scent that struck me as I poured the glass was the rich scent of a milky chocolate or creamy vanilla sweet. It was extremely indulgent. Once the glass had a moment to swirl and aerate, more notes became abundant.

Other than the obvious grape, you are enveloped by sweet plum, cherry, and tart cranberries. The chocolate notes develop into something closer to a mocha and nuttiness at the finish. If this wine is to taste half as fantastic as the nose, it's quite likely to be a winner. The nose sends my mind to a candlelit date night dinner with rich desert.


Of course, my favorite part of wine tasting is the actual tasting. The first sip is always an adventure, but my favorite wines tend to be adventures well after the first sips. I love a wine that develops as you work through the glass. Cardella's Sangoivese is such a wine.

This richness in the nose is readily available once the liquid touches your tongue. It's a perfectly serviceable medium body, which could be enjoyed by most wine fanatics. The wine does create a drying sensation on the roof of the mouth, suggesting the firm tannins Sangiovese is known for. I didn't find this one especially acidic, but there certainly was some acidity present. This wine had a relatively long finish, as the flavors became sweeter well after the sip was swallowed.

As for the actual flavors this wine presents... It was surprisingly sweet. Not sweet like a Merlot- it was still a clear dry wine. However, for a dry wine, it was rather sweet. It could be a nice introduction to dry reds for those who are timid in venturing away from sweet wines. As an American style Sangiovese, it was of the more fruit forward variety. The first notes to hit the palate were those of plum, cherry, cranberry, and maybe even a hint of blueberry. As the drink develops in your mouth, you may discover a slight nuttiness followed by notes of toasted sugar, vanilla, oak, and light fig. Enjoyably, this wine was hard to pin down, as it continued to develop over the course of (three!) glasses that I enjoyed.

When I signed up for Bright Cellars, my hope was to receive wines I wouldn't think to pick up myself that end up becoming new favorites. This Sangiovese fulfills that desire wonderfully. I will happily purchase this wine again, and foresee myself considering this a favorite for a long time to come. This is exactly what I look for in a glass of wine!

Have you ever tried a Sangiovese? How did you like it?