Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tamas Estates Barbera 2006



One of the great things about giving gifts to your friends is that sometimes they give you gifts right back.  Denise made a wonderful three-cheese rigatoni dish last week to give to our friend Sioux-z.  Sioux-z looks forward to receiving anything that's stamped "From Denise's Kitchen."  She's almost as big a fan of my wife's cooking as I am, and that says a lot.  With several days notice, and knowing we say "yes" to wine, she very thoughtfully procured a gift for us in return for the rigatoni.  I have a glass of it beside me as I write this.

Tamas Estates - despite the European-looking name and a wine list that would fit in nicely in an Italian restaurant - is located in California's Livermore Valley.  Livermore is up the 680 from San Jose and just east of Pleasanton.  Besides the Barbera, Tamas also produces several other Cal-Italia wines.  Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, and their Vino Rosso blend.  They also make a "Prima Classe Riserva" which, I understand, combines a super-Tuscan blend with a Barbera Port.  Yummy.  The Barbera has had a half hour to breathe, so let's dive in!

Upon opening, the wine carries a lot of heat - it requires a full hour to settle down.  Once it did, though, it was very mellow.  The next night it was ready to go upon unscrewing the cap.  The Barbera's color is very dark, so dark I can barely see through it.  The nose gives notes of a brambly blackberry and a toasty vanilla.  On the palate there's big fruit and a high acidity level.  I'm thinking this wine would be great with sausage or even a steak.  Maybe I'll buy another bottle and be prepared for Denise's next rigatoni night!

Winemaker:  Chris Graves
Variety:  100% Barbera
Appellation:  California > San Francisco Bay > Alameda > Livermore Valley
Vintage:  2006

Alcohol Level:  13.5%
Price:  $13
Acquisition disclaimer:  Gift from a friend