LOOKING CALIFORNIA, FEELING MENDOCINO

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Our Tramonte rep Devon came by last week to try us on some of the latest releases from our good friend Greg Graziano, as well as a couple of treats from Napa.  My first exposure to the Graziano Family of Wines – some of Mendocino County’s best stuff – was at Café Boulevard over 10 years ago when we ran the Monte Volpe Sesso and Sangiovese as a feature.  While the Sangiovese was met with some skepticism (most “Cal-Itals” are), the Sesso, a white blend of Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco and Tocai Friulano, was a big hit.  These days, here at the store, the Graziano Zin is the big hit of the clan, but some of these wines are really amazing.  Look for them to pop up soon.

Graziano Sauvignon Blanc Mendocino 2008.  Grade=Outstanding.  Unlike the New Zealand style of bold grapefruit and gooseberry character, this clean white tastes of guava, lemon, kiwi and fresh cut hay.  Bright acidity livens up the palate and the finish is a juicy citrus and mineral.

Monte Volpe Primo Bianco Mendocino 2009.  Grade=Outstanding.  A uniquely Graziano blend of Arneis, Tocai Friulano, Cortese, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, this medium-bodied white shows of some interesting notes of peach, mango, apricot, pineapple, nectarine and banana, with balanced acidity, and a lively finish.  Very cool and very good!

Saint Gregory Pinot Noir Rosé Mendocino 2009.  Grade=Amazing.  Wow!  Greg doesn’t make this every vintage, and this one was really worth the wait.  Gorgeous strawberry and raspberry aromas and flavors with notes of spicy red berries and red flowers.  A beautiful rosé, albeit quite limited.

Enotria Barbera Mendocino 2006.  Grade=Average.  I am never truly sold on “Cal-Ital” reds, though this one is nice.  It has some interesting notes of red berry, cinnamon and pepper, with a slightly juicy yet slightly dry mouthfeel.  Finishes nice, but it is priced slightly higher than I’d like.

Graziano Zinfandel Mendocino 2005.  Grade=Outstanding.  Juicy, jammy red and black berry fruit, with some splashes of mocha, black pepper, cinnamon, prune and blueberry for good measure.  A solid example of Mendocino Zinfandel.

Buccella Merlot Napa Valley 2007.  Grade=Amazing.  Open over a day, this stunning Napa Merlot is showing impressive staying power, with gorgeous displays of dark cherry, plum, cedar, blackberry, mocha, coffee, and spice box characters.  Full-bodied attack with sultry, velvety tannins and a rich, concentrated finish.

Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2007.  Grade=Amazing.  Holy Smoke!  While stiff from just being opened, the wine still demonstrates massive richness and complexity.  Aromas of black fruits, cedar and tobacco lead into notes of black currants, blackberries, cedar and hickory, chocolate, espresso, tar, cigar box and vanillin oak.  This is an amazing Napa Cab.  But at this price, it better be.

Enotria Moscato Mendocino 2009.  Grade=Amazing.  All you look for in a Moscato from Piedmont, except this comes to you via Mendocino.  Fragrant aromas of honeysuckle, white peach, apricot and orange blossom give way to juicy peach, apricot, mandarin orange, and slight hints of honey.  Finishes with a nice kiss of acidity, making for a very enjoyable glass of wine.

6 Comments

  • March 29, 2010 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I tend to agree with you about Cal-Itals but have you had the wines from Palmina? Brilliant wines, so fresh and pure not mucked up by too much wood…delicious.

  • March 29, 2010 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I have not had the Palmina wines. Haven’t seen them around here. You get way more cool stuff than I do.

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  • March 29, 2010 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Unfair advantage love, I live near the stuff. If you happen across them trust me, try them!

  • March 29, 2010 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I will Sam. Come to trust your palate. Cheers!

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