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PRIMA MATERIA Sangiovese  Kelsey Bench - Lake County 2016  

Retail Price: $25

Value Rating: 3.6

Wine Factor: 1
Date Posted: October 1, 2019
Cases Produced: 240

Scores & Value Ratings Explained

DDWA Score: 90

Great Value


A beefier style of Sangiovese. Smell and taste dark red berry and cherry fruits, dry-aged beefsteak, sun-soaked thyme and tarragon. Smooth tannins and medium acidity contributes to its immediate pleasure at first taste, and still the wine opens up and improves as it breathes. A rocky earthiness, spice and beefy sensations come emerge with air. From an organic vineyard planted and owned by Prima Materia. Neutral oak aged, miniscule sulphur addition, unfined and unfiltered. A fantastic and “honest” Sangiovese. In the words of Prima Materia the wine “reflects our region while respecting its Italian heritage.” A real bargain at $25.

Prima Materia’s vineyard lies on the Kelsey Bench, near the town of Kelseyville, in western Lake County. Volcanic soils, 1450 feet elevation, continental climate (very hot days and cool nights). Not your typical winery operation, I culled the copy below from the Prima Materia website. As you can tell, owner/winemaker (and talented chef) Pietro Buttitta is an original. The Sangiovese label points to his originality…and every one of the labels is different!

“The alchemical theme of Prima Materia is significant both in the vague sense of food and wine alchemy, or the alchemy of agriculture and growth, but also in the Jungian idea of alchemy being the interaction between between us and the world we are exploring, both internal and external. Alchemy in this sense is the bold-yet-humble pursuit of knowledge through wonder, the natural and the personal, and uncovering hidden essence so that eventually art and craft might one day meet.”

Regarding the Sangiovese label:  “Johann Mylius was a composer, physician and ardent alchemist. His Philosophia Reformata was a deep dive into scientific principles. Here the four alchemical sisters sit under the zodiac, each with a color and sign that is a stage in transformation while winds propels them. The metaphor extends neatly into the culinary realm, of which Sangiovese is a famed accomplice.”

Find all of my Prima Materia reviews HERE.

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Prima Materia Wines