Thursday, April 22, 2010

Anderson Valley, Mendocino: Brutocao Cellars




Brutocao Cellars is located in the mid-point of the Anderson Valley AVA. A second location is located just outside Hopland, Mendocino. I wish I’d had time to visit that location as well, which includes a Bocce ball court, and The Crushed Grape restaurant next to the tasting room. On the other hand, I might never have wanted to leave. You can experience this second hand by going to the well-done website and taking a virtual tour, but trust me, the reality is much better.

The Brutocao family came from Venice Italy and chose the Lion of St. Mark as the symbol for their wine label. The original graces St. Mark’s cathedral in Venice. They married into the Bliss family and were soon in the grape growing and winemaking business. Grandfather Irv Bliss purchased the Mendocino County property in 1943, but the first Brutocao wine came out in 1980.

While the whites I tried were well made, my passions include big, earthy Italian-styled wines and I was not disappointed. They also make elegantly styled Pinot Noir wines, as these are the best red wine grapes to plant in the cooler Anderson Valley region. The vineyards are located there and in the Hopland region. The 2007 Pinot Noir Anderson Valley was one of the few filtered wines, although fining was performed on other reds. The wine has an earthy, spicy nose with hints of the black cherry that show on the palate. Wispy smoke from a forest campfire was woven through the earthy mid-palate, carried on by the dark fruit. I really liked this wine.

The Zinfandel and Primitivo wines were also excellent. Since both grapes originated in Croatia, it’s always fascinating to taste the differences when both clones are treated to the same terroir. My favorite wine was the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Hopland Ranches. The majority of the grapes came from the Hopland Contento vineyard with the remaining grapes from the Feliz vineyard. The dark fruit was nicely handled by the French and American oak with only 15% new oak used. I appreciate a subtler use of oak that allows the good fruit flavors to predominate.

I sometimes use the term “dark fruit” when the taste on the palate could be blackberry, dark cherry, or plum. However, I have no term for the way the wine opened up and caressed my tongue, and went down as sinuously as a velvet cloud. Just in case I was mistaken, I bought a bottle and tried it out, appropriately enough, at an Italian trattoria. I was mistaken, it was even better with food. At $22 a bottle, this wine is a great buy, but a case makes even more sense. Salud!

11 comments:

瑜吟 said...

春冰薄,人情更薄;登天難,求人更難。..................................................

Walter said...

dJim,

Appreciated your comments about Brutocao. I hadn't heard of them before, but will be on the lookout. I expect to get through Anderson V. in August. A couple of years ago my wife and I encountered another Hopland Winery,Topel,in a Healdsburg tasting room. I commend them to your tasting, too - Walter Blood

Ko212ryS_Dahle0 said...

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