Crane Lake Sangiovese

Crane Lake is one of dozens of brands produced by Bronco Wine Company, the outfit behind Charles Shaw (“Two-Buck Chuck”). In California, the Crane Lake brand sells for an $0.80 premium over its more famous sibling. If this Sangiovese is any indication of the rest of the line, you’re better off saving the $0.80. The nose is lightly fruity, but with a barnyard undercurrent. The taste is thin, sour, and slightly bitter. Though we are hesitant to call a $2.79 wine overpriced, when compared with at least some of the Two-Buck Chuck offerings, this Crane Lake clearly is.

Tuscan Moon Sangiovese

Tuscan Moon is apparently a Trader Joe’s proprietary label. Which is just as well, because we’d hate to see this wine spoil the shelves of any other retailer. If you like Sangiovese–or even if you don’t; even if you just respect the fact that different grape varietals have different characteristics–you will be offended by this wine. It smells sweet and artificial; It tastes sour and artificial. In other words, there’s nothing Sangiovese about it. We’re pretty sure California law prohibits the use of artificial flavoring in wine. Either this one breaks the law, or it’s a natural wonder. Even at $4.99, you should skip it.