California is just full of great Italian varietal wines. Being a Tuscan / Super-Tuscan / Sangiovese kind of guy myself, the SoCal AVAs of Temecula, Santa Ynez, Happy Canyon and, of course, the Central Coast/Paso Robles region, provide us with lots of great Cal-Italia juice.
If you don’t know it, there’s a small family owned/operated winery in Paso Robles called Fratelli Perata who specializes in wonderful Italian varietals. The next time you’re on the Central Coast, make sure to pay them a visit. The family will serve you some amazing tastings, and you’ll most certainly walk away with an armful of bottles.
The other night, we opened up their 2009 Bambino Grande – their ode to Super Tuscan. Since their specialty is Sangiovese (and their Sangio sells out almost exclusively to club members), this blend is super GOOD! They won’t tell you the blend percentages or what they use to blend with the Sangio, but I suspect it’s mostly Cabernet – and it’s wonderful.
With the Bambino, we served a penne pasta with a sauce of ground turkey, tomato sauce, chopped garlic, chopped green onion, chopped red/orange/yellow bell peppers, a bit of salt, pepper, red pepper, oregano, basil and a whole handful of chopped mushrooms. Couldn’t decide whether to pass out or run a marathon! And we shared it with my 90-year old mother in law too (just the pasta, not the wine!).
Anyway, wherever you are in Southern California or beyond, start exploring the producers of Italian varietals. Stolpman, Palmina, Mosby, D’Alfonso-Curran – the list goes on and on and they’re oh so good. Check them ALL out!