The 2008 Raffaldini Montepulciano, from the Swan Creek AVA in North Carolina, received extended oak ageing. It starts with some VE/VA up front, fleshy ripe strawberry/raspberry and oak terpene notes. In the mouth, strawberry flavors dominated with a structure of finely dusty, suede-like, lightly drying tannins, a light body and softer acids. It finished creamy, with a waxy edge. On the second day, a more distinct though faint aroma of rose petals accompanied the previously noted fruit. The fruit flavors became accented by a hibiscus-like note. Supple, smooth, fine, tannins and good acids and balance defined its structure. The finish was more truncated and more drying on the second day. This wine was a nice companion to the mushroom pizza and did not compete with any of its elements. Paired with blackened salmon, it worked structurally, clashed somewhat, aromatically. (12.5% ABV, 2 bottles tasted, production volume unknown)
The heritage of the grapes that make our favorite wines has always been European, but will it remain so? Are there currently legitimate rivals to the vinifera monopoly that has ruled our palates? “Drink American” could be the slogan for the United States’ fairly recent class of vanguard winemakers and vintners declaring that there are.
Can American Vitis species produce wines that compare with those made from vinifera on a global stage? If so, will the wine traditionalists ever accept them? While continued research and experimentation with these varieties will hopefully answer these questions, perhaps an educational introduction will get the ball rolling.
This was given to me by a good friend when I lived back in Ohio. She and her family visited North Carolina, and she brought some wine back to try. This is the first from the Carolinas I've had the opportunity to try. While three-quarters of the bottle is Cab Franc, it also contains 20% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium garnet red color. A medium intensity nose with red fruit, oak, and earthiness. One the palate it was clean, and relatively light to medium in structure, tannin, flavor, and acidity. Juicy red fruits. While I wouldn't call this a stellar bottle, it wasn't bad by any means. More importantly, it definitely has me intrigued to try other wines from the Eastern sea board!