Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cimarone Gran Premio Sangiovese 2012

courtesy NileGuide
Guido and Tina invited us to a Hindu vespers service, and we went with them.  The sanctuary  (left) is probably the quietest place in Los Angeles, and I was quietly happy to chalk up another event on the list of things I've done while living in L.A. which probably would not have occurred had I been elsewhere.  The list includes chainsaw juggling, performance art featuring stories told by trombones, an eight-hour stage play and a man playing piano upside down while drinking beer.  And that's just the stuff I planned to attend.

There are countless unplanned events - seeing crazy radio head guy outside of rock’n’roll Denny’s, watching parking lot standoffs, buying earthquake T-shirts sold on street corners hours after the temblor, driving home during a martial law curfew, and seeing a possum chased by a professional baseball player in the middle of a game.  These are the sort of events that make people shake their heads and say, "Only in L.A."

Back at the sanctuary during the quiet meditation time, Guido leaned over to me and whispered, "Christopher Isherwood said the nuns here all look like axe murderers."  My wife leaned over from the other side and whispered, "Don't fart."  Years of radio experience allowed me to keep a straight face through all the heckling.  That nun did look a little severe, though.

Afterward, at their place, we had homemade lentil soup and cracked open Cimarone's 2012 Gran Premio Sangiovese.  It was served Italian style, in large shot glasses - which is very cool and continental but not good for swirling and sniffing.  We did our best anyway.

The estate grown grapes are from Three Creek Vineyard in the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA.  Winemaker Andrew Murray created a lush and ripe wine that hits 14.5% abv on the alcohol meter.  Neutral French oak barrels were used for the aging process, which took place over 16 months.  Only 98 cases of this CalItalia wine were made.

Gran Premio's nose is dominated by black cherry and rich oak spice.  Even in the limited swirling space the aromas couldn't help but escape.  Flavor-wise, the fruit is a little more cherry than black cherry, while the effect of the oak is pronounced but not overplayed.  Clove notes grace the ripe, ripe, ripe fruit and spices add a nice angle that will be greatly appreciated during the holidays.

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