Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | March 14, 2010

Ciao Bella! A Nice Italian Sangiovese for Under Eight Bucks!

The 2008 Mantellassi Il Canneto Sangiovese (say that 5 times fast) almost didn’t make it into my shopping cart last week as I plowed through the wine isles of Total Wine. You see, at the time, I was on a Malbec mission and I told myself, I would not be lured in by the olive skinned seductresses that lined the Italian wine section.

Well, I’m a weak man, and I broke.

Like a fuel injected jalopy with a mind of its own, my cart began careening away from South America and jumped continents (two isles) to the birthplace of western civilization (and my familial home) of Italy. Like any good Catholic in the home land, I was looking for a sign. And as providence would have it, I found one: there before me was a sign that heralded “Staff Favorite – 2008 Sangiovese”. Not one to dare tempt the fickle ways of fate, I figured, for $7, it was worth a try.

The Il Canneto comes from the Maremma region of Tuscany, a coastal area sandwiched between the towns of Livorno and Grosetto. I think perhaps the Sangiovese is one of the most misunderstood grapes today. They have similarities with many Zinfandels and Chiantis I have tried and even on occasion have hints of a nice Bordeaux, Malbec and even Syrah. These similarities are not by accident as the grape plays a major role blending into Chianti, Brunello and many other well liked Tuscan wines.

However, likeness aside, this grape has its own unique personality. I’ve never understood what the term “earthy meant” until I tasted this wine. Aged in stainless steel tanks, the Il Canneto remains true to the grape without any alterations from oak barreling. This wine dramatically changes with time and is actually a fun wine to taste slowly. The first glass really hits home the “earthy” sensation with light fruit accents and spices on the back end. 10 minutes later the wine improves significantly and transforms into a mellower Italian red wine with just enough of a kick that you know you are drinking a Sangiovese. Trust me on this one: wait 20 minutes and pour another glass, the wine changes yet again into a smooth and entirely enjoyable red that will go well with just about any dish.

This bottle is by no means the best sangiovese on the market today. It is however a very interesting introduction to the Tuscan wine that offers a pleasant glass at a super value everyday price. Salute!



  1. Great post! A favorite of mine as well. You should also check out “Il Ginepro” from Vasco Sassetti – 100% sangiovese from a artisanal Brunello producer. Great bang for the buck <$12
    Greg Tuttle
    Wine Operations Manager
    Total Wine & More
    Twitter: @Total_Wine

  2. Wow! Just found your blog and really enjoyed it! I found it when searching for a review on the Il Canneto, I have really enjoyed this wine, I have actually purchased it a few times from my local Total Wine! I look forward to more reviews!

    • thanks so much for the nice words! do you have any other italian reds you enjoy? I am going to post a great one tonight, id love your thoughts…

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