Santa Margherita: Not What It Used to Be

I went to the grocery store looking for dog food this morning and passed the Santa Margherita display.  They were promoting both their Chianti and Pinot Grigio.  They were priced at $19.90.

I irked inside.


A week earlier, my wife and I saw the same display with the wine on sale and we grabbed us one of each.  I was so excited when Friday rolled around.  I worked out on Friday and remember telling my workout guy, Phil, “I’m headed home for a good Chianti.”  He smiled warning me I should be drinking Vodka.  “Lower calories,” he says.

Anyway, I grabbed the bottle and headed off to my daughter’s.  We were having dinner over at her place and pop it open.  I let it sit a while which is what you should do with 2015 Chianti Classico.  They typically need time to breathe.

I’m not in a hurry, right?

Well I later go and pour myself a glass and, “Hmmm.”  I give it another swirl and another taste and, “Nope.”  Something’s wrong here.  It’s underwhelming.  I’m thinking, maybe I got a bad bottle maybe.  The more I drink the more I confirm it’s not corked or spoiled.  It’s just not any good.  Nothing to write home about here

Over the weekend, my wife who’s the Pinot Grigio fan opens her bottle.  Same thing.  It’s not much to write about.  It’s not a wine I would recommend.

This past week, I went to Whole Foods and saw the same two bottles displayed prominently on sale there too.  It’s every where just in time for Thanksgiving.

I figured out what’s happening at a wine tasting at my sister-in-law’s wine store.  She brought in one of her distributor’s wine specialists and he shared with us a Pinot Grigio from that same region north west of Venice.  We all really liked his Pinot Grigio, which I’ll be reviewing soon, and he continued to educate us on the region.  He said it was from the same region as Santa Margherita and he stressed that this winery has their own vineyards in the area.  Without me asking, he told me that the quality of Santa Margherita has gone down.  His contacts at this winery is telling him that Santa Margherita is buying grapes from anyone that will sell them.  They wouldn’t otherwise be able to keep up with the demand.  His experience is they have to compromise on quality to grow like they have.

I wasn’t wanting to be negative about a known brand.  I like to see businesses grow, but this explains it.  It’s a brand that’s been around for decades and it’s grown past their capacity to fulfill at the same high level of quality.

My take on Santa Margherita is don’t buy it.  There are many other well priced wines from which are a better pick that will give you more satisfaction than what I experienced last week.

Oh well.