Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Who Makes Sangiovese in the Columbia Valley?! Cana's Feast!

What is Cana's Feast, you ask? A winery of course, one with a tasting room in the Willamette Valley, next to the Carlton Winemakers Studio. I say this because I literally spent five minute at Cana's Feast picking up this sample, then had to run back out to the van to continue the epic Willamette Century Club Extravaganza that I'd embarked upon earlier in the day.

Fast forward six weeks or so, when I (finally) decided to open this Sangiovese to see what it was all about. Most, in fact all the Sangiovese I'd previously tasted was from either Italy (duh) or California. Both regions can produce some wonderful wines, the Italians of course make Brunello di Montalcino, which may in fact be the greatest wine ever.

2007 Cana's Feast Sangiovese Grosso Columbia Valley

From the Ciel du Cheval vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA of Washington State, Cana's Feast winemaker Patrick Taylor created a well balanced Sangiovese that showcases a side of the varietal we rarely experience. Different, but in a good way, from Italian or California examples, I was pleased to taste something off the beaten track. There is so much good wine in the world, and there seems to be too little time to taste it all! 

The Sangiovese Grosso poured into my glass with a ruby hue and a center of red brick. Following my usual tasting process, I opened the wine an hour before tasting it and used my Wine Soiree to pour about 3 ounces into the tasting glass.

Ripe cherries, hints of smoke and earth, along with some toasty vanilla all rushed out at me. Compared to a Chianti, where I often taste the cherries but get sharper, more acidic notes, the Cana's Feast was veering in a different direction entirely.

What made this wine very, very good was it's mouthfeel. There was such great texture, I felt it washing across my tongue in wave after wave. Vibrant acidity introduced me to red cherries and hints of raspberry before giving way to some earthy, oaky flavors that added welcome complexity. Notes of herb and cedar seemed to weave in and out, almost between the other flavors. You get a sense this wine is expressing terroir the only way it can, by joyously shouting it at your palate!

The finish also got me excited, the way it tapered away without lingering for too long. Sometimes a wine's finish lasts so long that you're hesitant to take that next bite of food or that next sip. Not with the Cana's Feast Sangiovese, which finished quickly but elegantly.

Using Google, I found prices from $30 to $44 for the Sangiovese. The cheapest price seemed to be on the Cana's Feast website shopping cart, but that required some complex navigating for me at least. I give this wine a B+, it really impressed me and is a worthy addition to your cellar. A BUY recommendation and a suggestion of pairing it with something fun like grilled, marinated skirt steak or even some grilled portobello mushrooms.

You can follow Cana's Feast on twitter by clicking here. If you're up in Carlton, stop by and check out the winery, it's a Tuscan-inspired Villa where you can have lunch with dishes created to highlight the local produce and Cana's Feast wines. Next time I'm in Oregon, I'm going to stop in and get the full experience.

This wine was given to me as a press sample.

Beau Carufel


  1. Nice write up! I'm intrigued, and hope they won't be as busy next time I'm hitting Carlton.

  2. I'm intrigued to try more of their wines, especially their blends. Could be pretty tasty stuff.

  3. Hi Beau, thanks for the great review!! Next time you visit, you will have to stay a bit longer and discover all the great wines we produce, yes we make some mighty tasty blends. I was reluctant to give you the sample because our new website wasn't launched yet and I suspected you would refer to it. But the new and informative website is up now and finding the information you need should be a breeze. The price range you mention includes our $30 Sangiovese, the wine you tasted was our 2008 Sangiovese Grosso, which is from first the US planting of the Brunello clone. Looking forward to your return visit!!