The striking white Palladian-style villa that lends its name to this Veneto estate has sat at the foot of the Marca Trevigiana hills since 1622. If you're ever in the region, the villa -- with its stately gardens, stuccoed, chandeliered rooms, and underground cellars -- is a must visit. Until then, the estate's wines, made by the Moretti Polegato family for three generations, are a fine substitute.
Sitting between the DOC areas of Prosecco di Valdobbiadene and Montello e Piave, the Villa Sandi estate vineyards, with their deep clayey soil, rich in subsoil, are ideal for growing both red and white varietals. Giancarlo Moretti Polegato currently oversees the work in the vineyards and the cellar, and he crafts wines that are both modern in style but also reference the region's traditions. This Mariani Rosso, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, leans towards the modern end of the spectrum. After all, it's made from international varieties, not native grapes.
Deep ruby red in color, this wine has a fruity and spicy nose with notes of blackberry and raspberry, along with hints of earth and black pepper. On the palate, it's full-bodied and continues with persistent dark fruit flavors. Well-structured, there's plenty of soft, round tannins, which lead into a lasting finish.
This wine will be perfect served with Bistecca Fiorentina, essentially a well-aged, thick-cut grilled porterhouse steak. Don't forget to finish the steak with a touch of excellent olive oil.