But I have to take exception to an article I found online today on Sangiovese's growing quality in Italy and other areas (which is undated and must surely be from several years ago). Please forgive the ensuing rant.
Jancis wrote "Vine growers are becoming increasingly curious and Sangiovese is now planted throughout the Americas. California had a major flirtation with it. The results have been decidedly mixed but Shafer, with their Firebreak blend, predominantly Sangiovese, has managed admirable consistency."
Those who tried growing Sangiovese in the late 1980's and 1990's in California have mostly given up on it, including Shafer (no slouches, they). This is a challenging grape to grow, and just as challenging to vinify. Adding to the negatives, consumers don't understand this varietal so they're not willing to pay for the handful of high quality wines that result from low yields and informed winemaking. Pressure from banks then causes wineries to replace Sangiovese with higher priced, higher yielding wines. Hence the dearth of great Sangiovese in California, except for our little corner of paradise.
Forgive my bias, but at Villa Ragazzi we are repeatedly told by experienced wine critics and wine lovers that we produce the best in California/Napa Valley/USA. Grazie! We are convinced that Sangiovese is the most versatile medium-bodied red wine one can enjoy. At lunch with friends today, it was a delicious complement to a "BLT" pizza, a hamburger, and lamb meatballs shared at Bistro don Giovanni - a performance hard to imagine with that other medium-bodied red wine, Pinot Noir.