Thursday, November 19, 2009

Opolo Sangiovese 2005


It was a tough day in the salt mines.  Quittin' time took forever and my steps were quick to leave.  I picked up my wife and we headed home in the darkness.  A few shared stories of the horrors of the day and an affirmation of how much we dislike the salt mines set me to thinking about what I would open at home.  I currently have a bountiful assortment of exciting prospects which overflow the confines of the small "wine cellar" that sits next to the bar.  I began to think of the Opolo Sangiovese I had picked up over the weekend and the drive home immediately became a little easier.  The horrors of the day seemed a little more distant.  The salt mines were just places to get...salt.  Enough salt.  Let's get home and have some good wine. 



Grown on a chalky hillside in western Paso Robles, these grapes had to struggle through hot days, temperature swings and lack of water.  (That sounds a lot like the salt mines.)  The wine was aged 18 months in American Oak.  I'm a sucker for Italian varietals, and I'm also a sucker for wines from Paso Robles.  I have very high hopes.

Opolo's Cal-Italia effort pours up as a beautiful purple, light showing through it very easily.  On the nose, cherries are abundant, even cherry cola.  There's a spicy element, too, like a peppery cinnamon.  The oak's influence can be felt.  The taste is quite fruity - black cherry - but with an earthy tone that is quite appealing.  As a matter of fact, it's such a hearty drink it seems to be trying to escape its varietal shackles.  It's a very Zin-like Sangiovese.  Not so appealing is the high alcohol content.  If consumed upon opening, it takes over on the palate to an unpleasant degree. The effect of the alcohol does diminish after about 45 minutes, so decant this wine or let it sit in the glass a while.  It's worth the wait.

Winemaker:  Opolo Vineyards

Varietal:  100% Sangiovese

Appellation:  California > Central Coast > Paso Robles

Vineyard:  Opolo

Vintage:  2005

Alcohol Level:  14.8%

Price:  $16

Acquisition:  Bought it myself