Gold Medal - 2010 Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Competition
From time to time we like to keep our faithful WineHeist customers on their toes by offering something a little off the beaten path, so we were very excited when we tasted this week’s offering, the 2006 Domenico Barbera from Amador County. Amador County is mostly known for Zinfandel, but given that Zin grows well in Italy (usually under the name Primitivo), it makes sense that this would be a good area to plant other Italian grapes. And while we have occasionally offered wines made from the Italian Barbera grape in the past, this one is unique in our memory as being one of very few that we have seen that is blended with other varieties. In this case, 20% Syrah and 5% Zinfandel add complexity to the blend, and result in an intriguing yet easy drinking red perfect for summer.
The 2006 Domenico Barbera is light garnet color, with just a tinge of orange at the rim showing that it has a little bottle age. The nose is expressive, with a variety of floral notes offsetting bright red berry and cranberry aromas. The palate is darker, with cherry and blackberry flavors accompanied by spicy undertones. The inclusion of Syrah and Zinfandel clearly adds another layer of depth to this wine. Soft and lush on the palate, yet with Barbera's signature acidity to keep it bright, this is a very interesting wine, and is ideal for summer grilling, pizza, or pasta with tomato sauce. Put this one in the fridge for 20 or 30 minutes and serve it on a warm evening for the perfect late summer dining experience.
Dominick and Gloria Chirichillo’s choice of name for their winery is a reflection of their commitment to their Italian heritage and the tradition of family winemaking. In 1955 in New York, Dominick who is called Domenico in Italian was introduced to these traditions by his Nonno (grandfather), Domenico Giovinazzo. In the basement of their home was a wine press that Nonno showed Dominick; passing down from one generation to another the love of handcrafting wine.
Dominick’s passion for winemaking took him from amateur competitions, while he lived on the East Coast, to commercial status after moving to Northern California. Moving to California has enabled Dominick to choose his grapes hands-on from selected vineyards in Napa Valley, Sonoma’s Central Coast, Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Amador County and the Lodi District. Not to mention he is a member of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, where he sources Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. As of fall 2010, the wines of Domenico have won 300 Medals for wines produced from these various regions!
Their recipe for success in the wine business is simple… take the finest grapes of California, add Dominick’s passion, blend with family tradition, and you get wine that exudes complexity, finesse, and agreeability.
More at www.domenicowinery.com.