Showing posts with label Cal-Italia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cal-Italia. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cal-Italia Aglianico From Lake County

At first glance, the name Prima Materia doesn't look like an Oakland winery, but it is.  Winemaker and owner Pietro Buttitta grows his grapes two and a half hours to the north, in Lake County's Kelsey Bench AVA.  He focuses on Italian varieties - from Sangiovese to Barbera to Refosco to Negroamaro.  Buttitta says he planted most of those grapes himself and has worked the vineyard for the last eleven years.  He claims to find a clear Lake County voice for his minimally handled wines, one that maintains a "distinct Old World finish and feel."

Prima Materia Aglianico 2014

Buttitta says the Aglianico grapes were planted in 2003 and have evolved into his signature variety, along with Barbera and Sangiovese.  The grapes were grown in soil laced with deposits from Mt. Konocti's past volcanic eruptions.  Does that make the Kelsey Bench the Sicily of California? 

The 2014 Aglianico vineyard is interplanted with 7% Montepulciano grapes.  The wine was vinified and aged on its lees in Hungarian oak, 225-liter vats that are anywhere from two to ten years old.  Alcohol tips 14.3% abv, while the wine retails for $38.

This wine is quite dark in the glass.  A whiff of nail polish remover greeted me when I opened the bottle, but after sitting a bit, the more expected aromas of dark fruit, white pepper, spice and trampled leaves overtook the problematic initial whiff.  The alcohol came on strong in the sip, and the tannins need time to smooth out.  There is definitely an Old World feel to the wine, and I am reminded of other excellent Aglianicos I have had from Santa Barbara County, Texas and, oh yeah, southern Italy.  I'd love to try it in ten years, when aging will have softened its rustic edges.

Friday, July 17, 2015

SBC Tasting Room: Mosby Wines

We made a trip out of Los Angeles to Santa Barbara County wine country recently. My wife and I, along with our good and dear friend Guido love this two-hour trip. The stop in Camarillo to have a bagel and coffee is mandatory and the Trader Joe’s on Milpas provides our picnic lunch. Usually it’s a loaf of bread, some cheese, avocados and olives. This short series describes some of the wines we sampled in the various tasting rooms we visited.

Mosby Wines

Bill Mosby is an eccentric, at least if you believe the blurb on the website. His eccentricity is also apparent when you look at his vineyards, full of grapes better known in Italy. If you are looking for an intro to Italian grapes in Santa Barbara County, head to Buellton and check out Mosby's wines.

The Mosby Artist Series of wines are decorated by beautiful visuals, provided by renowned artist Robert Scherer of Appiano, Italy. In the tasting room, I was told that Mosby and Scherer met by chance, seated at the same restaurant table with a big language barrier. The found communication in food and wine, which led to Scherer doing the label art.

2012 Cortese $18
A nice, earthy nose is presented by this Gavi grape. Crisp and delicious, with a great lemon flavor and a zing of acidity.

2012 Passerina $18
From Marche, this grape's California expression has big minerals and earth, with a very gentle acidity. Peach and apricot flavors join earthy notes for a delightful palate.  A great sipper.

2013 Pinot Grigio $18
This one has the same earthy note on nose as the Passerina. I found the palate a little boring, but decent acidity lifts it.

2013 Rosato di Cannonau $18
Steel fermentation gives this Grenache - Cannonau in Italy - a crisp acidity. A dash Mourvèdre beefs it up nicely. Cherries and oranges on the nose leads to a beautiful palate showing a great cherry flavor.

2009 Dolcetto  $28
The big, cherry nose has a high note of sweetness to it. The acidity refreshes, while the big tannic structure provides a great backdrop for a pairing with a bolognese sauce. Cherry and raspberry flavors leave a lingering tartness.

2008 Sangiovese $30
The nose shows cherry aromas a little bigger and a little darker than the Dolcetto.  Huge cherry flavors on the palate are sweetened by the oak spice.

2008 La Seduzione Lagrein $30
A nose of cherry and raspberry make this northern Italian grape show its Cali terroir. The palate has a giant cherry and black cherry expression. Great tannins make me feel it would be fantastic with a beef stew.

2008 Sagrantino $32
The nose shows alcohol first, then cherry and blackberry. In the mouth, it is the vibrant acidity and firm tannins that grab my attention. Floral notes lay upon black cherry and raspberry flavors on the palate.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Mosby Sangiovese Santa Barbara County 2006

A little year-end clearance in my wine rack has me trying some wines that have languished there through no fault of their own.

Winemaker William Mosby - you can call him Bill - caught the winemaking bug during his college days.  As he states on the winery website,  "I fermented anything I could get my hands on."  We are all glad his hands quickly found some grapes.

It's the Italian grape that gets Mosby going.  His mission at Mosby Winery and Vineyard is to make "fine Cal-Italian wines from estate-grown grapes" in Buellton, CA.  In the land of Syrah, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Mosby's vineyard bursts forth with grapes like Dolcetto, Lagrein, Cortese, Traminer and Pinot Grigio.  He also makes a bit of grappa and wild plum and raspberry spirits.

Subtitled on the label as Vigna Della Casa Vecchia - what did the TTB have to say about that? - the Mosby Sangiovese hits 14.4% abv on the alcohol scale.  I don't remember what I paid for it several years ago, but the '06 is going for $26 now, according to an online search.

This dark ruby wine has a gorgeous nose as deep and rich as its color.  The floral element is huge and the dark berries are ripe and succulent with a spicy/herbal note kicking in.  On the palate, blueberries are joined by spices and herbs with a late touch of strawberries.  The lively flavors belie a dark and brooding tarry sensation that flows through the finish and grows stronger the course of two nights' sipping.

Mosby recommends pairing his Sangiovese with "roasted poultry, beef and, of course, pasta."

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