2014 Oscuro Dry Creek Valley Montepulciano Orsi Vineyard
2014 was another step in my journey of paying homage to my Italian heritage by producing wines from grapes grown here, which are among the classic (and sometimes forgotten) grapes of Italy.
Only the Italians could do something as wonderfully convoluted as naming a grape “Montepulciano”, and growing it widely across the southern part of the country, darn near everywhere, except in the commune of Montepulciano. Of course, there is also the wine known as “Vino Nobile de Montepulciano”, which is the Sangiovese grape grown in Montepulciano, but which contains none of the Montepulciano grape. If that makes no sense to you, you are well on your way to understanding Italian grapes! While sometimes treated as a “bulk” wine in Italy, when treated with respect in the vineyard (primarily in managing crop loads) and vinified in small lots, Montepulciano can be a world-class grape.
This wine acknowledges its pedigree in a very special way- beginning with the red volcanic soils upon which it is grown (it’s situated on the western edge of a ridge, and the soils literally change from a gold loam to red volcanic soils along the spine of the ridge- a fascinating intersection of volcanic activity and plate movement). Consistent with its roots, it has a mere 13.6% alcohol, but nonetheless has a broad range of very dark fruit- blackberries, boysenberries and black currants. The color is dark as night (“squid ink” might be an apt descriptor). It has silky tannins and a very rich palate despite the very low alcohol, and pairs beautifully with bolder foods. It is true to the variety and very distinct. Only 56 cases made- offered to our wine club first, we have a small amount of this remaining.