The Grifone Sangiovese 2018 is a $3.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive sourced from grapes farmed in the Puglia region of Italy. Puglia is the heel to Italy’s boot shape and this is the area where much of Itay’s affordable everyday wines come from. This Sangiovese has rated an IGT wine which means that its characteristics conform with the region, but the wine had less stringent production standards.
Grifone has been selling their wines through Trader Joe’s for at least a decade and they are all extremely inexpensive and surprisingly drinkable. They have a website, it isn’t the most informative wine website, but it is more than you usually get with Trader Joe’s wines.
This review is being written in January of 2022 which means the Grifone Sangiovese 2018 has three or more years of aging. With Covid and the ensuing shipping issues, it is possible that this wine was intended to hit TJ’s shelves months ago. Still and $3.99 wine with 3 or more years of age is unusual.
Value-priced wines are made to come together quickly. They are often fruit-forward with bright acidity. Depth and complexity are not as important as flavor and drinkability. Plus with inexpensive wine, time is money, the sooner you can sell the wine, the quicker you can recoup your investment.
How they can sell the Grifone Sangiovese 2018 for $3.99 with the extended aging, plus shipping the wine from Italy is remarkable. Sangiovese wines are best known in Tuscany where they make Chianti and the very popular Super-Tuscan blends which feature Sangiovese blended with French grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot.
Sangiovese can be a very tannic wine. Tannins are chemicals in the skins of the grapes that give the wine structure and help with preserving the wine for aging. The tannins made be the reason the Grifone Sangiovese 2018 took so long to reach its balance. That they waited for a four-dollar wine to reach its peak is a good sign. The alcohol content is a very Old School 12.5%. Modern wine tends to be riper with more alcohol which makes them juicier and fruit-forward. The lower alcohol in Old School wines typically indicates a more balanced wine.
The Grifone Sangiovese 2018 Tasting Notes
The color is a clean, clear, slightly rusty cherry red. The nose is cherry, black pepper, light herbs, and soft spice. The Grifone Sangiovese 2018 is sleek and smooth, not complex, but what is there tastes good.
This Sangiovese tastes like black cherry, licorice, tea, and plum. The mid-palate adds tart sour cherry, spice, and strawberry. The tannins are felt but do not get in the away of the flavor profile and the acidity is well balanced. This is not a complex detailed wine, but every flavor in the glass is fine and is good tasting.
- The Grifone Sangiovese 2018 delivers miles ahead of its $3.99 price tag.
- It is a very drinkable wine that would pair well with pasta with red sauce, burritos, or cheeseburgers.
- The Italian Two Buck Chuck or better yet, Two Euros Carlo.