While Italy is considered one of the great wine growing countries in the world, their grape varieties haven't traveled the globe nearly as well as the wines themselves. You don't see dozens of labels on every store shelf for Vernaccia or Nebbiolo from multiple countries the way you do Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. Primitivo could make some claim, but it is better known by its American name of Zinfandel, its genealogy is muddled, and has struggled for recognition even in its home region of Apulia. When their production shows up it is usually as a labor of love versus satisfying a popular need, and this winery from California's underrated Cienga Valley looks to celebrate their Italian heritage while not trying to directly replicate Tuscan wines.
Deep ruby in the glass, the aromas are juicier and spicier than a Chianti, but there is a hint of dusty earthiness in the background that does recall a bit of the Old Country.On the palate the texture is definitely New World, lush and polished, full of forward spiced cherry and raspberry fruits. Still in the background there is a lingering dark spice bitterness that keeps the wine well away from being 'fruity', a style that kills off Sagiovese's subtle charms. While this won't get confused with anything carrying a DOC or DOCG designation, it does the variety justice and doesn't fall into the cookie-cutter form of the 'typical' Californian wine.
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!