Wine, Words, Blood
“Aromas of ripe, dark cherries and spice with a persistent note of blood…” Blood probably isn’t a word you’re going see used in a wine description anytime soon. At least not at your local grocer (or bottle shop, for that matter). No matter that there are times when it’s the absolute best word to describe what you’re tasting: iodine, iron, a little saline, a note of something essentially animal, very distinct—blood. No matter that it’s the very juice of life for every single living being on the planet, as essential as water, or air (not to mention the transmitter of the those two essential elements). Nope. In our clean, pristine, sanitary world, “bloody” just isn’t the sort of adjective we use for things we drink. Just too close to the the proverbial bone, too icky, I guess.
I’ve been on a bit of a sangiovese spree lately, drinking Chianti for the most part, a little of everything from Classico to Colli Senesi to Rufina to Colli Orientali – as well as a mighty nice, perfectly-aged bottle from Montecucco and lovely, lovely Brunello. All in all, a string of gorgeous wines, taut and lean, but no less assertive or generous for it – and all expressing the lovely little nuances that make each region subtly different from its neighbor.
Being from the same region and composed primarily of the same grape, all show rather remarkable similarity (go figure). In addition to various shades of dry cherry, spice and the Tuscan iteration of garrigues, all share a thread of iodine and iron, an essential earthiness, a saltiness that’s best described as blood. While threads of that texture are sure to be expressions of terroir, the bulk of the weave is in the grape – and its capacity to translate that singular terroir.
Sangiovese. Jove’s blood, literally. From the Latin sanguis (blood) Jovis (God). Metaphorically, we could riff endlessly on that (I’ll spare you just now), but appropriate and downright cool is that? Whether you grasp “God” as patriarchal or Matriarchal, no matter. Wine as God’s blood, Mother earth’s blood – an essential, inspirational, soulful infusion of goodness from the Powers That Be – whatever they be. So, be grateful, and drink up. I’m having another glass of this lovely Selvapiana Chianto Rufina.
It’s bloody good.