Toccata - A Little Bit of Dust from the Dirtman
Spring is almost here. We finished pruning the vines by the middle of last month just in time for the March miracle of seven inches of rain. It was really needed. We pruned the Nebbiolo vines last as usual because they come out early and are susceptible to frost.
In the winery, we just bottled the Pinot Grigio. We made a few adjustments with it that we think you’ll like. You will get to taste it when you receive your June shipment. Our Italian wines are continuing to grow more popular. But they face tough competition in the marketplace due to an over-abundance of wines from Italy. Candidly, California has not been that successful in producing wine from Italian grapes. I attribute that to growing some of the Italian varieties in the wrong places. The main reason that we kept the Italian grapes in Los Alamos when we acquired them over 20 years ago was that they were definitely being grown in the right place, in a region similar to Piemonte in Northern Italy. In this shipment, we are highlighting the three primary grapes of Piemonte: Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, and Barbera.
2018 Rosato di Nebbiolo: Nebbiolo is the premiere grape of Northern Italy. In the past, we made a Nebbiolo Barbera Rosé but you do not often find this grape made into a Rosé. There is nothing wrong with making a Rosé out of premiere grapes. The resulting wine has a light salmon color which is an indiactor of Nebbiolo. This wine has great aroma with hints of spice and dried fruit and is crisp with higher acidity.
2016 Nebbiolo Barbera: These are the two premiere grapes of Piemonte. The Nebbiolo contributes plenty of acid, flavors of dried leaves, tar, and raspberry, and fainter color because of the grape skins. Barbera is dark, jammy, high in acid, does well with barrel aging, and is good with rich food. Blending the two wines together makes a softer wine with a lot of balance and more color. The tannins of bold Nebbiolo pierce the lush Barbera resulting in a surprisingly good wine. Even today, the Italians are saying they put some Barbera in Nebbiolo. In the past, people were just guessing that was what they did. This wine would really hit the mark with a full fledged Italian dinner.
2016 Dolcetto: I prepared to talk about this wine last night when I enjoyed it with Jill’s Spaghetti Bolognese. Dolcetto is considered the everyday wine of Piemonte. It has lots of color and is softer in tannins and finer because it is one of the Italian varieties with the least amount of acid. It is easy to drink and makes a great pizza wine. It matures young. Don’t be afraid to consume a little more volume. I call it wash-down wine - eat a lot of good food and wash it down!
The vines don’t know that we are confined to our homes these days so they continue the journey to bloom. We will not face a future without wine! We hope and pray that this time of concern will pass quickly and that you are safe and healthy.
We are thinking of you. I hope that we can lift our glasses of wine together soon.