One bright January day, I stumbled upon this handsome gentlemen at the newly opened Nello Olivio tasting room in Camino, CA off Highway 50. He was the epitome of grace and finesse, and invited me to join him in some libations left over from a wine club event that had just been held. I had just tasted his wines, and immediately joined the "Wine Mob" as I just couldn't get enough of the big, earthy reds offered! Also , wine club members can use this beautiful room as well as a gorgeous "cave" at the Placerville location that was just the site for my husband Bert's 65th birthday held this July.
And the wine we opened that day? It is now a library wine as it was a double Gold medal winner; the 2015 Sagrantino. I tasted it that day in January, bought it and hid it to save it for Bert's party. I mostly hid it from myself -if I had seen it in plain site it never would have made it till July! Sagrantino is a rare treat, as it is an Italian varietal only grown by a few wineries in the US. Until recently, it was almost exclusively grown in Umbria, Italy.
It was the perfect birthday treat - rich with a lovely berry nose, heavy but smooth and rich tannins, and plummy with hints of earth, cinnamon, leather, and just a touch of fine oolong tea. Our friends loved it, and ran to the tasting room to try the 2016 Sagrantino. Not quite as big or elegant, but still a very fine wine and a great find.
If you are looking for a light summer wine, another one enjoyed at our party was the 2016 Bianconello. It is simply delightful chilled! It's perfect if you want a dry white that is not lemony, buttery or heavy. I also loved the Dieci and the Sangiovese.
If you visit Camino OR Placerville, be sure to stop in and visit the "Grapefather". The reds are fantastic, and the ambiance wonderful.
And now, for something completely different (to quote Monty Python) - here is a little video they showed us in the Placerville tasting room. Yes, he really IS the Grapefather!