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Robin Garr

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WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Robin Garr » Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:36 pm

Today's tasting features a food-friendly Sonoma County red that's one of my favorite California Italian-style wines. Ferrari-Carano 2003 Sonoma County "Siena" emulates a "Super Tuscan" with its blend of 75 percent Sangiovese (the primary grape of Chianti) with a smaller portion of the Malbec (11 percent) and splashes of a half-dozen other grapes. I'm delighted to see its price, at least in this part of the world, drop back to the $20 range after having soared close to $30 in recent vintages; although still a bit above everyday status for most wine enthusiasts, its high quality makes it a fine value at this price.

<table border="0" align="right" width="166"><tr><td><img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/sien0709.jpg" border="1" align="right"></td></tr></table>Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena Sonoma County Red Wine ($19.99)

This is an inky dark reddish-purple wine, showing glints of ruby against the light. Lovely black-cherry aromas add more subtle hints of fennel or licorice. Ripe and juicy fruit flavors follow the nose, shaped by tart Italian-style acidity and soft tannins in a nicely structured wine. Tart cherries linger and add a touch of dark chocolate in a long finish. Curiously, the proprietary name was rendered "Sienna" for a year or two, as shown in the 2001 label at right; it has now returned to "Siena" as in the historic Tuscan town. (Aug. 10, 2006)

<B>FOOD MATCH:</b> Like its Tuscan cousins, Siena serves nicely with a rare grilled steak; it also went very well indeed with a hearty, meatless pasta dish of sauteed eggplant, mushrooms and fresh tomatoes over farfalle, topped with grated fresco Asiago and Pecorino Romano cheeses and a basil chiffonade.

<B>VALUE:</B> I was delighted to spot it at less than $20 in this market, at which point it's a fine value; you may be able to find it in some regions for a few dollars less.

<B>WHEN TO DRINK:</B> Drinking beautifully now, but its blend of grapes and its careful balance suggest that it should cellar well, and possibly evolve, over at least the next five years.

<B>WEB LINK:</B>
The winery Website describes the full Ferrari-Carano portfolio and offers online buying where the law permits. Click for a Siena fact sheet.

<B>FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:</B>
Find vendors and check prices for Ferrari-Carano Siena on Wine-Searcher.com.
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John Treder

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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by John Treder » Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:42 pm

Hm. I have a couple of bottles of the '02 lurking in the cellar, for which I paid $21 at the winery.

I'm sure you know that they have a real showplace garden and building -- it's spectacular! Proves that if you made a ton of money in venture capital, you can have fun, later.
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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Jenise » Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:34 am

Robin, I'm surprised to hear you call Siena a "favorite". In the early 90's they made a couple good vintages of this but every one I've had since then, including some recent, were rather fat and gloppy and indistinct. Certainly nothing I'd use words like 'tart' around! I took one to a Tuscan wine tasting at Bill Spohn's about a year ago (it was a gratuitous 3rd bottle, it didn't take the place of the kind of real Tuscans we were supposed to bring), and it wasn't even close. It stood out as Californian, and not in a good way. The 2003 must be quite different.
Last edited by Jenise on Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Michael Pronay

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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Michael Pronay » Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:42 am

Robin et al.,

please note that the wine's name is "Sienna", not Siena, the latter being a town in Tuscany south of Florence (with Chianti Classico inbetween).
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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Jenise » Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:48 am

Michael, Robin explains in the body of his note that the producer has changed back and forth over the years between Siena and Sienna. They currently use Siena even though Robin used older label art that showed two n's.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Robin Garr

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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Robin Garr » Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:51 am

Michael Pronay wrote:Robin et al.,

please note that the wine's name is "Sienna", not Siena, the latter being a town in Tuscany south of Florence (with Chianti Classico inbetween).


Michael, did you read my TN? I'm sorry, but this statement is not correct. As I said, "Curiously, the proprietary name was rendered 'Sienna' for a year or two, as shown in the 2001 label at right; it has now returned to 'Siena' as in the historic Tuscan town."

Trust me on this: The 2003 is "Siena," as were earlier vintages. I don't think anyone here views this as a "Chablis"-style misappropriation of a European place name; "Siena" is not a DOC or, as far as I know, a wine appellation at all; Colli di Senesi stands for that.
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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Robin Garr » Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:54 am

Jenise wrote:Robin, I'm surprised to hear you call Siena a "favorite". In the early 90's they made a couple good vintages of this but every one I've had since then, including some recent, were rather fat and gloppy and indistinct. Certainly nothing I'd use words like 'tart' around! I took one to a Tuscan wine tasting at Bill Spohn's about a year ago (it was a gratuitous 3rd bottle, it didn't take the place of the kind of real Tuscans we were supposed to bring), and it wasn't even close. It stood out as Californian, and not in a good way. The 2003 must be quite different.


Innaresting ... usually we're well calibrated. :) Well, let me re-think this. I liked Siena a great deal. At least one of the recent Sienna years I liked less, and it did seem that they were Spectatorizing it a bit. I liked the '01 all right, though, haven't had the '02, and really liked this '03 a lot. I did not have it alongside an Italian Sangiovese blend, and perhaps it wouldn't have shown as well if forced to a direct comparison. But I liked it, and as the usual reality check, Mary liked it too. And it definitely had what seemed like Chianti-style fresh-fruit acidity and good fruit but by no means a fruit bomb. Given that recent vintages have sold for an outrageous $27 or $28 at this vendor, I was excited to see it duck back under $20 without any apparent loss of quality. The opposite, really.
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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Jenise » Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:20 am

Agreed on the calibration, that's why I was surprised. I couldn't imagine you liking what I remember, and I'm objective enough to be able to say "It wouldn't pass for Italian but it doesn't have to be, it's good wine anyway." The Sienas I've had recently (the one post 2000 vintage and several mid- or later 90's) aren't that. I'd blame it on the improvements in my own palate but for remembering well a drastic change from one vintage to the next and others talking about it on line too.

Let me fish Bill's TN off of the old WLDG. Ah, here. "2002 Ferrari-Carano Sienna – what happens when an American named winery makes a Sangiovese and gives it an Italian name? Does it rival the wines made from the same grape in Italy? Uhh…no. First, they can’t resist adding cabernet and a bit of Malbec (?), which would be dandy of it worked and they ended up with a Super-Tuscan quality wine. Second, they have the common failing of not knowing what kind and how much oak works and thinking more is always better. It started out rather well with a decent mineral and fruit nose, but the over-abundance of oak/vanilla ruined the effect, and the caramel sweetness carried over on palate. I like other products from this winery, but would pass on the Cali-Tuscans."

Nope, you wouldenna liked it.
Last edited by Jenise on Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Michael Pronay » Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:25 am

Sorry to all. I beg your pardon, I hadn't read the note. :oops:

Thus said, I'm not really happy seing wine designated with real place names from other countries, especially when the places are located in wine region. I wouldn't be happy about a non-Russian vodka named "Moscow" either.
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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Robin Garr » Mon Aug 14, 2006 9:53 am

Michael Pronay wrote:Thus said, I'm not really happy seing wine designated with real place names from other countries, especially when the places are located in wine region. I wouldn't be happy about a non-Russian vodka named "Moscow" either.


It's a judgement call, Michael, and you'll find few (if any) here who support the ugly history of the US (and, for that matter, Australian) wine industry in appropriating classic European wine terms as a way to promote wine that doesn't bear such comparison.

Maybe I'm too easy, but I have a little trouble working up much of a lather over a New World wine that's consciously made in a European style, and made well, using a name that evokes the spirit of the ancestral country without using the name of an established wine region or appellation.
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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by Michael Pronay » Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:02 am

Robin, my unhappiness doesn't really go deep, and as a matter offact I can get along with "Siena" quite well.

Thus said, if we take the bad example of the US and Oz wine industries, we shouldn't forget the bad example of the Russian and other Balkan wine (and spirits) industries full of Krimea Shampanskoje, Kognaks of all kind and ages or Massandra Port and Sherry.
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Re: WTN: Ferrari-Carano 2003 Siena

by wrcstl » Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:16 am

Michael Pronay wrote:Thus said, I'm not really happy seing wine designated with real place names from other countries, especially when the places are located in wine region. I wouldn't be happy about a non-Russian vodka named "Moscow" either.


Michael,
I agree completely. This would keep me from purchasing the wine, just something that bothers me. I also do not buy wine with cute names or pictures of animals on the front. I makes me feel like the producer thinks I am stupid and have to motivated by something other than the wine in the bottle, or wait, maybe the wine in the bottle is junk so they are selling labels.
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