Wineries of the Month
Located in the small town of Tempio Pausania on the foothills of Mount Limbara, The Cantina Social Gallura is a cooperative founded in 1956 and currently has 160 producers contributing their grapes. The total area of planted vineyards is about 600 acres. The soil, a mix of sand and rock, is poor and the grapes must struggle to survive in this hostile environment. The limited grape yield offers unique and prized qualities in their Vermentino, Nebbiolo, and Moscato varietals.
The Armosa Estate located at Scicli in the Ragusa province of Sicily, was created in 2002 by Michele Molgg and Elisabetta Arrabito to cultivate wineproducing vines. The winery is a small producer of wines currently processing about 4.8 ha of vineyard of nero d’avola and 0.1 ha of white muscat. The wine making techniques used seeks to reduce the interventions on wine to preserve its integrity, “time works on wine, not man” philosophy.
Valle Dell Acate
The winery “valle dell’ Acate” was born in 1981 from the initiative of two ancient families, living in the territory of Ragusa; Jacono Ricca and Ferreri dell’ Anguilla, who have been cultivating vineyards forever and who lovingly care their wines to keep alive the memory of events and things passed down by previous generations. The grapes are grown in a limy sandstone soil interfaced with packets of clay and are vinted in the winery located in the old estate of Bidini, with the rarest of grapes be refined in the courtyard of Jaconos’ house
Winery of the Month
Terre Rouge & Easton
Terre Rouge means “Red Earth”. This vermillioncolored soil is one of the hallmarks of our region. Our Vineyards are in soils that are largely granite and volcanic-based. The Terre Rouge portfolio is composed of wines made from Rhone varietals grown in the rugged and varying terroirs of the region: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne. High elevation sites up to 3200’ contribute to the complexity of our wines.
Our winemaker, Bill Easton, put his family name, EASTON, on our non-Rhone varietals wines. The wines are crafted from varietals that have traditionally worked the best in Amador County and the Sierra Foothills: ancient and old-vine Zinfandel, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc. Under the Easton label we also bottle small selections of varietals new to the Sierra Foothills: Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc.
The style of our red wines emphasized deep color, balanced flavors, full middle palate, and a long finish, with power and finesse. They gain complexity with age. Our whites are aromatic, flavorful with nice texture, and balanced with good acidity. They also show an amazing mineral sense that is derived from our stony mountain soils.
We make over thirty different wines, many of which are very small production (100-400 cases). Each is unique and site specific with a sense of place (terroir) all of their own. Our goal for the last 25 years has always been to make the finest wines possible that can be placed on a table with best wines of the world.
ITALIAN Wines of the Month
Cantina di Gallura Vermentino di Gallura “Piras” 2015 DOCG
Bright yellow in color with light green tinges, this wine is made from 100% Vermentino Grapes. It is not intense, fruity, flowery, ample and lingering. The palate is dry balanced, fresh, with a long pleasant finish and fruity notes. It pairs well with raw shellfish, light first course, seafood condiments, grilled fish, and delicate meats. Alcohol 13%
Valle dell’ Acate-Nero d’ Avola, “Tenuta Ibidini” 2016 DOC
This wine has colors of bight ruby with purple hints, just translucent. The bouquet is fresh and fruity with scents of small red fruits, blackberry, spices, liquorice, with a note of leather. The taste is clean and fresh, velvet and harmonious. Pairs with roasted meat dishes, fresh and aged cheeses, salamis, and fish dishes with tomatoes or tomato sauce.
Cantina Gallura Vermentino di Gallura “Canayli” Vendemmia Tardiva 2014 DOCG
100% Vermentino grape varietal. The color of this wine is a bright straw yellow with golden tinges. The bouquet is of wild yellow flowers, is fruity with a persistent minerality. The palate is fresh, fruity and lush with a persistent minerality and saltiness followed by a balanced and full-bodied finish. Pair with light first courses, such as grilled fish. Serve in a bucket with ice ten minutes before serving. Alcohol 15%
ArmosA-Nero d Avola “Curma” 2010 IGT
100 % Nero d’Avola grape variety. This wine has a color of intense ruby red with aromas that are full and complex with scents of blackberry, wild cherry and plums, with a finish of balsamic and spice. The taste expresses a nice balance of softness with structured tannins. It is full-bodied, yet elegant. Serve with elaborate meat dishes, game or aged cheeses. Alcohol 15%
Cantina di Gallura Cannonau, “Templum” 2015 DOC
Pronounced ruby red in color with purple tinges when young, turning to garnet as it matures. Made from 100% Cannonau grape varietal. Its bouquet is big, lingering, vinous typical of Cannonau, hints of forest fruits. The palate is dry, fairly intense, with a good balance of acids and tannins, long finish in the nose on the palate. Pair with red meats, game, mature Sardinian Pecorino cheese. Alcohol 13.5%
ArmosA-Nero d Avola “Yrminum” 2012 IGT
100% Nero d’Avola grape variety. The color of this wine is red, rich and red. The scents of ripe fruit, plum, and slightly black cherry are the heady bouquet of this wine. Also blackberry, candied black fruits with a touch of coffee. It is balanced, fruity, powerful, and strong with a whiff of freshness. Pair with Oxtail soup, beef stew, BBQ Burgers and game. Also pairs with lentils, cocoa, and coffee. Alcohol 15.5%
Cantina di Gallura, Nebbiolo “Dolmen” 2014 IGT
Made from grape varieties of 90% Nebbiolo and 10% Sangiovese. It is a fairly intense ruby red, clear. This wine has a fairly rich, intense, complex bouquet with a hint of wood, distinctive vanilla scents. The palate is dry, sapid, good body and balanced tannins. Long finish in the nose and on the palate. Serve with red and white meats, mutton, pork stews or roasts, stewed game, mushroom dishes. Alcohol 14%
ITALIAN Region of the Month
Facing Spain to the west, Lazio to the east, and the island of Corsica a stone’s throw to the north, the island of Sargegna is still mostly undeveloped. The rocky Costa Smeralda in the north draws tourists to its resorts, while agriculture and viticulture dominate the south where the capital city and major port, Cagliari, is located. The rugged Gennargentu Mountains provide sweeping views to the east. In the 8th Century BCE, Phoenician traders influenced wine making in Sardegna, and much later in the 13th Century, the Spanish conquistadors brought Iberian grape varieties to the island, including Vermentino, Cannonau, Monica, and Carignano, among others. But the indigenous Nuragus is the leading white variety, appealing mostly to Sardinians. Sweet wines are also traditional in Sardegna. The older vineyards have traditional head-pruned arberello vines, whose leafy canes bend to the ground, the vines lower and less influenced by the winds from the sea. The newer vineyards are likely to be trained on vertical trellises and planted in locations where they are protected. Sardinia has one DOCG wine, Vermentino di Gallura, 19 DOC zones, and 15 IGT zones.
CALIFORNIAN Wines of the Month
2014 Easton Zinfandel, Amador County
100% Zinfandel. This wine shows flavors of ripe berries, sweet earth, and savory spices. It has a nice creamy texture that comes from aging in French oak barrels. The aroma hints of dill and sage with black cherry and blackberry fruit as well. Pair with hearty beef dishes such as ribs or burgers. Also goes well with duck, brie, and California Pizza. Alcohol 14.6%
2014 Gerre Rouge Viognier-Fiddletown
100% Viognier. Organically-grown, the wine has zesty fresh, floral, and spicy aromatics with fruit notes that suggest classic white peach and apricot flavors. Pair with seafood, but also goes well with foods that have a little spice kick, like Asian or Indian spices. Alcohol 14.5%
2012 Terre Rouge Enigma, Sierra Foothills
50% Marsanne, 29% Roussanne, & 21% Viognier. This wine’s aroma suggests almond blossoms, honey, and acacia with hints of tangerine and papaya. Flavors are creamy with peach, apple, and quince impression competing for your attention. Pairs well with chicken dishes, salmon, lamb, and lobster. Can also pair with dishes with a little kick, like Asian or Indian spices. Alcohol 14.2%
2013 Cabernet Franc “Monarch Mine Vineyard”, Sierra Foothills.
100% Cabernet Franc. The wine has beautiful, aromatic, mildly herbal, Cabernet Franc fruit, with pleasant stem tannins, and a very pure juicy fruit expression from this steep and rocky Monarch Mine site of 2,500’. Goes well with grilled sausages or charcuterie. Alcohol 13.5%
2010 Easton Barbera, Shenandoah Valley-Cooper Ranch
100% Barbera. This wine has opulence, with a certain elemental juiciness, nuanced varietal character, and a pleasant spiciness. It has robust character and drinks with dense, layered complexity and persistence. Pair with tomato based dishes, grilled meats, and hearty pasta ragus. Alcohol 14.5%
2011 Terre Rouge Syrah, Ascent-Sierra Foothills
100% Syrah. 2011 was a fabulous year. It was a cool early season, with a long cool growing season. This is a deeply concentrated wine with dense layers of aromatic complexity. Loads of deeply-concentrated and incredibly spicy fruit aromas fill you glass. Tastes meaty Syrah flavors, smoky wood tones, exotic spices, and fine tannins. Pair with beef, lamb, game (deer, venison), or poultry. Alcohol 14.5%
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate”-Shenandoah Valley
100% Cabernet Suasion. The wine is in barrel for two years prior to bottling and then aged another two years in the bottle before being released. The color is dark purple, with complex aromas of cedar, tobacco, and Asian spice box. The fruit is blackberry/cassis/olive with a pleasant St. Julien-like texture. Pair with beef, duck, venison, or lamb. Alcohol 14.5%
CALIFORNIAN Region of the Month
Amador County is located in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in central California, approximately 100 miles east of both San Francisco and Napa Valley and 40 miles east of the state capitol of Sacramento. The majority of Amador’s 3,700 vine acres and 40 wineries are in the northern part of the county in the Shenandoah Valley, near the small town of Plymouth. Here, vines are planted on rolling, oak-studded hillsides ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 feet in elevation. Slightly to the east is the small Fiddletown appellation, which boasts even higher-elevation vineyards. Most Amador vines are planted in volcanic Sierra Series soils – primarily sandy clay loam derived from decomposed granite. These friable, moderately dense soils effectively retain Amador’s 36 to 38 inches of annual rainfall, enabling most growers to dry-farm their vineyards. Dry-farming, coupled with the low nitrogen and phosphorous content of the soils, results in sparse vine canopies affording the grapes excellent sunlight exposure. Amador County’s two major sub-appellations are Shenandoah Valley and Fiddletown.
DINNER WITH DEBRA
By Debra Williams
Vieux Carre Scampi
This is a tasty New Orleans dish that we tasted with the Vermentino DI Gallura. It was wonderful! It is, once again, a long time reliable Great Recipes recipe.
1 ½ lbs extra large, raw, deveined shrimp
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp lemon-pepper marinade
½ tsp salt
2 oz longhorn cheese, thinly sliced
1 green onion, finely chopped
4 sprigs parsley, chopped
¼ tsp mace
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp butter
Place the shrimp either in a buttered baking dish or evenly distribute them in 4 ramekins. Pour lemon juice over shrimp. Sprinkle with the lemon-pepper marinade and salt. Combine the green onion, parsley, mace, and garlic powder. Sprinkle over the shrimp. Top with the butter and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Chocolate Pound Cake
The coffee in the icing of this cake pairs perfectly with the Easton Cabernet Franc. I recommend using a dark, rich flavored coffee. I used an Ethiopian coffee. Yummy!
½ cup butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
Walnut halves for garnish
Over hot water, melt 1 oz unsweetened chocolate with 1 Tbsp butter. Stir in 1 cup un-sifted powdered sugar and 1 to 2 Tbsp hot coffee, or enough to make smooth and spreadable.
Cream butter with sugar until well blended. Add chocolate and eggs. Beat until very smooth and fluffy. Add flour, baking soda, and buttermilk to bowl. Mix, using low speed, until blended. Stir in vanilla. Turn into well-greased and floured 10 inch tube-type pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool 5 min, then turn out of pan onto wire rack. Cool completely. Spread with icing. Garnish with walnuts. Enjoy!