Yesterday, I mentioned that wine maker Aldo Vajra feels that wine should unify people at the table, it should bring family and friends together. This impressed me and I have since found another winery, in California, which seems to share this philosophy. Palmina wants to bring "...people back to the table to sustain themselves with good wine and food, conversation and a small respite from the hustle and bustle of today’s world."
In 1995, Palmina was formed by famed winemaker Steve Clifton in Santa Barbara County, California. He named the winery after a close friend, Palmina, who sadly succumbed to breast cancer. The winery produces wines from Italian varietals but they are not trying to copy the wines of Italy. They are intended to be fitting to to the region where the grapes are grown, though they are definitely Old World in that they are intended to be food wines. These are not your typical big and bold "Cal-Ital" wines, but rather something more elegant and lighter.
The 2005 Palmina Dolcetto ($18) is a blend of grapes from two vineyards, the Honea Vineyard and the Zotovich Vineyard. The Zotovich Vineyard is located in the cool climate Santa Rita Hills and is supposed to bring "...a darker fruit profile and lively acidity to the blend." The more eastern Honea Vineyard has a slightly warmer climate and "..lends red fruit notes and flavors and soft tannins..." to the wine. The grapes were hand harvested and the wine eventually was aged for five months in neutral oak barrels. The wine was intended to be drank young, to be an every day drinking wine.
This is a very dark red wine, nearly purple, and it has an intriguing nose that is earthy and fruity, especially ripe plum and blueberry. On the palate, it has moderate tannins that smoothed out with the pasta dish I ate with this wine. It has an interesting mix of flavors, including lush black fruits with hints of clove and leather. It actually seemed to be more of a serious wine than most everyday drinking wines. It has a decently long finish and is maybe a bit more muscular than many other Dolcettos I have tasted. That is not bad, just different. I did enjoy this wine and it definitely needs food to show its best side.
This wine does seem to fit the Palmina philosophy as it is wine best served with food. As I said before, people in the U.S. should embrace this philosophy, sharing more wine at dinner, with family and friends. I will check out another Palmina wine too and report back on that as well.