Ponzi Dolcetto, 12 Willamette. PS I’m in Oregon.

Welcome to my first blog post from the state of Oregon! But first, a disclaimer to those that didn’t know I had relocated…

In the past, I’ve always blogged about wines that were available for purchase at Cellar on Greene in Columbia, SC, because that was where I worked! (duh). Now that I’m here, I want to continue to write, but I don’t want to alarm anyone or confuse any local Columbia readers when I write about wines that may not be available at Cellar. I loved using the blog as a platform to expose people to wines available at Cellar, and that was the original intention of starting this blog. And it served me (and you, I hope) well. But as I’ve entered a new phase, I hope that if you’re a Columbian, you’ll continue to read if for no other reason that you’ve grown fond of my writing and you love to read about new and different wines. But in an effort not to create work for Ricky, don’t expect everything I write about here to be available at Cellar, or for that matter, in South Carolina at all. I hope to bridge the gap, and will do what I can to assist. So sit back and hopefully enjoy this new ride I’m on!

So- TONIGHT! Ponzi Dolcetto! Purchased at the Ponzi Wine Bar in Dundee, OR for $25. Conveniently located just down the road from me. How awesome is that.

Dolcetto in Willamettte? Who knew!

Dolcetto in Willamettte? Who knew!

So, Dolcetto? Who woulda thunk. I thought I was all cool because I knew Ponzi made an Arneis (amazing Italian white varietal), but now I get here and discover this Dolcetto! I tasted it at the Dundee Bistro a few nights ago, really enjoyed it, and knew I’d be picking up a bottle at some point. Here’s the skinny on Dolcetto: most is found in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Some was brought to Cali by expat Italians (go figure!). This particular vineyard was planted in 1992 in the Chehalem Mountains AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Is there more Dolcetto to be found in Willamette Valley? Dunno! Yet, anyway. I’m only in the first week of discovery here.

deets, heard.

deets

So this wine is a 2012 vintage, and since it’s my first time having it, I can’t compare it to other vintages. BUT- I have to say, it’s freakin’ slammin. Not sure if they submit for scores or not, but I could see this scoring a solid 90 or 91. From someone important. If that’s important to you. Why’s it so good? 1.) it’s varietally correct. It reminds me of several Dolcetto d’Alba’s I came into contact with in the SC market. Perhaps a slightly higher price point, but with the production level on this one and relative scarcity, that’s to be understood. So 2.) it’s delicious, of course! A beautiful deep, vibrant purple/magenta with nice medium density. A nose of mulberry, blackberry, licorice, briar patch, and a nice streak of herbs- mint, maybe a touch of rosemary. With a sturdy tannic finish, I find this to be a perfect sipper. What would marry nicely with it? Braised lamb? Something wintery? Yes, I think so. This wine is robust, yet not in-your-face. Certainly best drunk within a few years of bottling, in my opinion. I’m into it.

Sadly, I’m almost 100% certain this wine is not available in SC. That just means you’re gonna have to get your tail to Oregon and visit the winery.

So, how am I? Is anyone curious? Now that I’ve had a glass of wine, I’ll share. Granted, it’s been less than a week, but it’s been a little up n’ down. Highs and lows. Highs? Realizing I can go wine tasting any time I want. Amazing scenery. Great people. Did I mention amazing scenery??

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Sunset at Belle Pente yesterday.

Sunset from my house tonight.

Sunset from my house tonight.

So, lows? Not having a job. YET, anyway. I do have leads, and I remain optimistic, but I pretty much hate not being employed. I like to work. It’s hard to feel like I’m getting in the groove when I don’t have any real “purpose” on a day to day or even hourly basis. But writing seems to make me feel more like “me”, so if anything else, that is a motivator to keep writing. Other lows? I do miss y’all. My Columbia peeps. I miss my constant slew of work-related texts. I miss Ricky Mollohan’s ass. I really do. It’s strange to not be able to talk to him about Homeland and The Blacklist spur of the moment. I hate that while I was driving here, Vincent Sheheen did NOT become the governor. I truly hate that for the state of South Carolina. I feel far away, and that’s a little hard to swallow. But at other moments, it feels amazing to be far away.

But I’m good. I got this.

Now go drink some wine! Cheers, y’all.

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One Wine to Rule Them All- Verso Rosso Salento, 2012 Italy

THIS is your big Winter Red!!

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I’m 1000% serious.  This is absolutely THE wine you are gonna fall head over heels for during the chillier months that are upon us.  The best part?  You’ve probably never heard of these grapes.  You might not know how to say Verso or Salento (VAIR-so and sa-LAIN-to).  Heck, you might not have had an Italian wine quite like this before.  But trust me, YOU’RE GONNA FLIP!!

This wine is special for several reasons– first, it comes to us from one of my favorite portfolios, Small Vineyards.  In order to be included in Small Vineyards, the wine must be hand-harvested, from a family-owned estate, and be farmed in an ecologically friendly manner.  Note the word organic is not in use here; in my opinion it’s a bit irrelevant- you can trust that this wine comes from people that really cares about their impact on the environment as well as making the best wine possible, which I trust over a USDA certification eight days a week.

Raisins are tasty.

Raisins are tasty.

Second, this wine is big and sexy for a cool reason; a portion of the grapes (no, I’m not sure which ones) were allowed to “raisin”- which is exactly what it sounds like!  Also known as “appassimento”, it is a process of allowing the grapes to hang out and dry a bit- concentrating their sugars.  It is a labor-intensive process, which results in the reduction of the yield.  A labor of love, I would call it.  So it means they end up with LESS total wine to put into bottles, BUT the wine that results is so rich and flavorful it’ll leave you speechless- and (AND!) it it not weighed down with a high alcohol content!  This wine comes in at a solid 14% abv.  That’s a full 1.5-2 percentage points less than your average Cali Cab, Zin or Shriraz- the typical wines “big red” drinkers tend to like.  Balance, people- balance!  And it means you can drink a bit more of this guy without that thick, heady feeling you get after two glasses of Zinfandel.

Alright, so I got wine-nerdy there for a minute- so let’s get moving with HOW IT TASTES!  Because that’s what’s gonna keep you coming back for bottle after bottle.  But before I forget, this wine is a blend of 60% Negroamarao, 35% Primitivo (aka Zinfandel’s parent grape) and 15% Malvasia Nera.  A giant nose of figs, cloves, anise, vanilla, raisins (go figure), a hint of olives and black peppercorns, a nice lift of dried flowers and red berries and blueberry.  The texture is silky, polished and mouth-coating.  There’s some unique spicing at work here that I can’t quite pinpoint… I want to say it’s Sumac, but I can’t be positive.  It’s taunting me.  The wine finishes with elegance and a tangy little pop.

So I saved the BEST FOR LAST!  This bottle will cost ya just $16!!  

To add to the fun, this wine is available as part of TURKEY PACK #2 at Cellar on Greene this year!  That means you can have it along with three other swell bottles to take to your Thanksgiving feast quickly and effortlessly.  Never heard of a Turkey Pack?  Well, you must click here and check them out.  They’re only our most popular wine club item every year!  Good news is, you can absolutely grab them as a walk-in purchase- it’ll take 2 seconds for us to pack you one.  So you can leave it til last minute, if you’re at all like me!  

Happy Thanksgiving, wine-lovers!