There are likely thousands of wine making grape varieties out in the world, the majority of which are not known by name by even the most astute wine drinkers. Most are local curiosities, grapes that have history with a population but little chance of being appropriated for mass production. In many cases that's just fine, as the wines produced are merely OK or growing the vines are more difficult than need be, so it's no great loss that their names are but a footnote in history. But there are just as many varieties that deserve to be better known, and we love to champion them when we find them. Italy is not surprisingly a treasure trove of hidden gems such as this one from Campania near Naples. The featured grape here is Sciascinoso, barely familiar even to locals as there are less than 1000 acres total planted. The skins have lots of color and tannin to them, so it is almost never featured solo, faring better in blends like this when partnered with the juicier Aglianico grape. The extra time in bottle has also brought much needed polish and elegance, taming the chunky tannins both wines can show in their youth and showing off impressive secondary characters that would never appear when first bottled.
Dark in color but showing the distinctive dusty brick tones of age at the corners, the aromas are amazingly complex and ever changing; dusty cherries, powerful incense, dark flowers, hints of sweet currants and gamey meats. This is one where the pleasure is just as much about smelling the wine as tasting it. The palate is more to the high toned red fruits and minerally cranberry tones, with tannins that are super fine but persistent, like a piece of polishing grade sandpaper that shows off an almost citrusy blood orange character to the finish. A great match for Easter lamb, but could also show very well with more exotic Middle East/Far East spice treatments for meat dishes.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!