Chariot Wines is the creation of Jim Neal, a former chef at Spago in Los Angeles who first entered the world of grape-based products when he came out with his own line of verjus, which is made from the juice of unripe grapes and is used as an alternative to vinegar. He eventually decided that there was money to be made in wine, and he founded Chariot Wines, whose stated mission is to "produc[e] refreshing, high-quality food-friendly wines at palatable prices. " Central Market has been pushing a number of varieties of wines under the Chariot label for the past couple of months; and given the attractive label and the screwcap, it was probably inevitable that I would try one of them eventually. Then they put them on sale, and my fate was sealed. I chose the 2004 Central Coast Sangiovese. Sangiovese is the principal grape in Chianti, a dry, acidic, and brightly food-friendly wine from Tuscany. I like Chianti, so I decided to try this Sangiovese.
It's okay. I wish that it were more concentrated and tart and had more of the ripe cherry flavors that I associate with Sangiovese, but I really can't complain too much about it. It was an enjoyable, competently-made wine. I probably won't buy it again, but I don't feel ripped off by the experience.