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Every once and a while it is instructive to turn away from the usual stuff and pay some attention to the unique varietals that abound about us. There are thousands of wine grape varietals and we tend to stay with the tried and true, which for most people can be counted on the fingers of one hand. For those of us dealing with wine on a daily basis, this can get really boring, especially for wine makers. So, to amuse myself and hopefully titillate you as well, we will taste and discuss the following wines. Two are repeats from the Kenneth Volk event last month, but as I was away on vacation, I will revisit them and share with you my enthusiasm for esoterica.
2008 CASTELLO BANFI PRINCIPESSA PERLANTE, GAVI, PIEMONTE
List price 17.50; our price 13.99
Cortese is the white grape in this beautifully packaged soft and dry white wine. It is a delicate, and elegant, product of the Gavi vineyards of the Piedmont region of Italy. The floral citrusy flavors are enhanced by a slight spritz that dances merrily across the tongue.
2009 ARGIOLAS “COSTAMOLINO”, SARDEGNA
List price 18.00; our price 14.99
This Vermentino is from Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean. The property owned by Antonio Argiolas is located about fifteen miles from Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital. Antonio and his sons, Franco and Peppetto, have worked hard to become leaders in Sardinian enology. They have been able to incorporate the use of modern technology into their traditional winemaking processes to attain high standards in quality. The wine is subtle with a delicate bouquet. It has a fresh, dry, well-defined palate with pleasant delicacy and crispness.
2001 RAINBOW RIDGE ALICANTE BOUSCHET, LODI
List price 22.00; our price 19.99
This Alicante Bouschet, al-eh-KAN-tay (Fr. Ah-lee-KAHNT) boo-SHAY, you may remember was the brain child of Dennis Costa whose Rainbow Ridge wines enjoyed a short but well-received success. Especially this bottling garnered accolades, including a 91 rating from Wine Enthusiast Magazine and a bronze medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Widely cultivated since 1866, it is a cross of Petit Bouschet and Grenache. Alicante is a teinturier, a grape with red flesh, and is one of the few teinturier grapes that belong to the Vitis Vinifera species (the wines you know and love). Its deep color makes it useful for blending with light red wine.
2008 KENNETH VOLK NEGRETTE, SAN BENITO COUNTY
List price 19.00; our price 15.99
Negrette has its own distinct aroma and flavor profile. It shares some of the characteristics of both Syrah and Pinot Noir. This wine has aromas and flavors of bramble fruit and cherry with spicy, old vine gaminess. It is a deeply pigmented wine with relatively low tannin and a silky smooth texture.
2007 KENNETH VOLK MOURVÈDRE, ENZ VINEYARD
List price 22.00; our price 19.99
The Enz Vineyard Mourvèdre is one of the oldest planting of that varietal in California. In its 86th growing season, these ancient head-trained vines produced a beautiful well balanced crop of small-berried clusters. Traditional winemaking techniques and aging in French oak helped to craft this delicious wine. Ripe fruit aromas and exotic spice are followed by flavors of blueberry, cherry and licorice.
MIRABILE NERO D’AVOLA, SICILIA
List price 15.00; our price 12.99
This Nero d-Avola (literally “the black grape of Avola”) has an intense ruby red color with violet highlights. The scent is elegant, with hints of ripe fruit and spices. It is complex on the palate thanks to polyphenols, (the chemical class of tannins is a subset of polyphenols) sustained by the right degree of tanginess. This is an everyday kind of wine showing good balance, persistence on the finish and representing excellent value.