Wine Review: Ferrari-Carano Siena 2009

SienaI don’t often review crowd-pleasers. Although enjoyable and approachable, their flavor profile and structure tend to be too generic to be interesting. But occasionally I come across a wine that does “crowd-pleasing” so well it stands out from the crowd yet has enough complexity to interest serious wine lovers. Siena is one of those wines—an intriguing blend of sangiovese (76%), malbec (16%), and syrah (8%) that is so warm and welcoming it will win over the most jaded palate.

The well-focused nose is introduced by red raspberry and pomegranate but the fruit is surrounded by a lovely coriander background set off with deftly painted vanilla accents. The medium-weight palate exhibits red fruit and spice as well. As the decanted wine evolves, sangiovese-type earth becomes more prominent and a small but satisfying seam of malbec-generated cola, is exposed. Vigorous acidity sends these flavors hurtling about the mouth until very tender tannins, which take some time to build on the palate, bring off the relatively short but spicy finish.

A harmonious structure with no rough edges, the mouthfeel is too svelte to be called lush. It is like the easy-going host whose understated charm may lack depth of character but will always make sure you enjoy yourself.

Siena is part of a prodigious roster of stunning wines by Ferrari-Carano, whose winery sits near the top of Dry Creek Road in the Sonoma Valley with an opulence that contrasts with the more rustic feel of many of its neighbors. With attractive gardens and a stately chateau, this is a must-visit if you are traveling to Sonoma wine country. If you visit the winery, make sure you opt for the reserve tasting downstairs. It is worth every penny.

Good: Focused, complex nose

Bad: Lacks some mid-palate depth and the finish is short

Distinctive: Exudes charm

Price: $20-$25

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