Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cimarone Gran Premio 2009

The warm east end of Santa Barbara County's Santa Ynez Valley - the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA - is recognized as a great place for growing Bordeaux grape varieties.  Cimarone Wines has a patch of an Italian variety there, of which they are fairly proud.

Cimarone's Gran Premio is made from 100% estate-grown Sangiovese grapes, a blend of two clones from Three Creek Vineyard in Happy Canyon.  I wrote here about the 2008 Gran Premio.

Like the '08, the 2009 vintage is vinified in barrique open top wood fermenters.  It hits 14.5% abv in alcohol and retails for $30.  195 cases were produced, each bottle numbered.  The '09 strikes me as much more fruit-driven than the previous vintage.  Cimarone advises that some age will definitely do good things to this wine.

Gran Premio is named to invoke the wild raciness of Italian Formula One drivers.  Doug Margerum was the winemaker, although Andrew Murray has stepped into that role at Cimarone.

Aromas of fresh plums and cherries jump from the glass carrying a little alcohol and a bit of tar.  Some tobacco and spice creep in, too, but it's really more about the fruit.  Speaking of, the palate is fruit forward.  That means ripe fruit forward.  It's a bushel basket of blackberry, plum, strawberry and cherry all mixed together.  A hint of smoky, tarry clove leads the charge of the spice brigade.

It may not be very Italian, but it's not meant to be.  The Cimarone Sangiovese grapes, like the Bordeaux varieties grown in Happy Canyon, wear their California hearts on their rolled-up Chambray sleeves.  Pair it with a Bolognese pasta if you like, but it will go just as well with steaks, chix and chops - as the sign on the steakhouse door used to say.

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