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October 25, 2013 Wine Pick of the Week

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Sagrantino bottle shot Picmonkey

 2010 Sagrantino


Producer: Rosa d'Oro Vineyards

Appellation: Tracy Hills

Alcohol: 14.4%

Suggested Retail: $24


“Sagrantino is a grape variety native to the area near Montefalco in Umbria. It isn't widely planted in Italy and is truly obscure in California. This week's 'Pick' is from Rosa d'Oro Vineyards, which does produce other varieties, but seems to specialize in Italian themes (they also make wines of Sangiovese, Aglianico, Montepulciano and Primitivo grapes). Though Rosa d'Oro is located in Kelseyville (Lake County), their Sagrantino grapes come from the Oso Vista Vineyards in California's Tracy Hills appellation.

“We confess to limited familiarity with the dark and tannic Sagrantino di Montefalco wines, but find this California treatment of the variety to be lively and appealing. Its color is actually fairly light compared to the inky blackness of its Italian cousin. The nose shows aromas of strawberries and stewed dark fruit. The richness of crushed blackberries comes through on first taste. The wine seems 'jammy,' but without the sweetness and viscosity that too often accompany this descriptor. In the background is a dusty or peppery quality that gives an intriguing complexity. The 'pepperiness' isn't hot or like cracked black pepper, but is more subtle as with finely ground black pepper of even white pepper. It's a quality akin to the fabled “Rutherford Dust” common to Cabernet Sauvignon grown in that part of the Napa Valley.”

Food Affinity: “We think the Sagrantino would accompany many dishes which include the acidity of tomatoes, so many southern Italian dishes would work. However, there's a certain feral quality to this wine and more exotic fare might be a treat. Roast pork—wild boar if you have access to it—and many dishes with truffles would pair well if you're privileged to have any on hand this season." 

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