Wine Of the Week: San Felice Vigorello 2019

This new-school SuperTuscan highlights Pugnitello, an ancient and rarely-seen Tuscan grape.

(Photo: Courtesy San Felice)

There are two points of view within Chianti, the iconic winemaking pocket of Tuscany. Some prefer to commit to Sangiovese. Others prefer to commit to the newer-school Super Tuscan movement, which began in the late ‘70s and revolves around matching up Sangiovese with more Bordeaux-leaning varieties, like Merlot and Cabernet.

Arguments for either side are more philosophical than anything else, and great wines are found on both sides of the debate. If you’re open to exploring Super Tuscans, San Felice makes one of the most historic options.

Made for the first time in 1968, the producer brought one of the first Super Tuscans into the world. Today, they continue to thread Chianti heritage through the bottle by working with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and also Pugnitello—an ancient Tuscan grave that San Felice has lovingly revived.

It’s dusky on the nose with rich undertones of currant and cinnamon-spice. On the palate, the tannins are dense and dark with a cut of deep, vibrant pomegranate and driving black cherry. A surprisingly versatile wine — try it with grilled meats (the underlying vanilla and sweet spice will flirt well with char) or lamb barbacoa tacos topped unconventionally with pomegranate seeds (my go-to local takeout order). $75

Kate Dingwall is a WSET-trained sommelier and spirits writer. Her work has appeared in Wine Enthusiast, Eater,, and Food & Wine, and she pours wine at one of Canada’s top restaurants.