Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sculpterra Primitivo Dessert Wine Paso Robles

A little squat bottle of Paso Robles Primitivo dessert wine was hauled out of the Now And Zin wine rack recently where it had lain patiently for a couple of years.  I had bought the wine on a visit to the winery in the summer of 2011.  It appears to be non-vintage, port-style wine from Sculpterra Winery.

Sculpterra is the culmination of a dream that possessed Dr. Warren Frankel to take down his shingle and plant some grapes.  The Sculpterra Visitor Center is marked by a beautiful sculpture garden containing some genuinely striking large format artwork.  Their website urges, "Get the art out. That is, bring it outside."  In this garden you will see some astounding bronze and stone sculpture by John Jagger.The Frankel Family Estate vineyard contains not only about 117 acres of many different grape varieties, but an additional 30 acres of pistachios.  I know - they're nuts.

The Primitivo grapes come from a section of the vineyard known as the Eight Acre Ridgeline block.  Winemaker Paul Frankel makes a Primitivo varietal wine as well as this dessert wine.  The sweetie retails for $32.

As a doctor, the elder Frankel made sure he didn't leave his original calling behind.  Their website explains, "A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Sculpterra wines are donated to His Healing Hands, a non-profit medical missionary organization that sends temporary medical teams into communities around the world that need urgent healthcare and respond to natural disasters."

The dark wine has a strong alcoholic nose - not a surprise with a fortified wine.  Underlying the heat are savory aromas of figs and salted caramel.  On the palate, every bit of the 18.5% alcohol content is present, with some lovely dark fruit fighting through.  Raisiny tones shape the finish and the mouthfeel is very lively apart from the alcohol.  Sugar stands at 12.65 gm/100ml, so it's a dessert on its own - although it paired nicely with a dark chocolate pistachio toffee treat.

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