The 2007 Cougar Aglainico is a 100% varietal wine from fruit grown at the Cougar property in the Temecula Valley. The grapes were fermented in open bin ferments using two different yeasts, spent 18 months in new and neutral American oak and bottled unfiltered. Aromas dill and smoky, jammy briary were accompanied by sweeter oak notes. In the mouth, this medium-bodied wine was savory and briny, with faint briary fruit in background and some oak notes again. Fine grained tannins were a bit drying but the acids were proportionate. The medium-length finish was slightly astringent, with chewy tannins in forefront followed by bright briary fruit. On the second day, this wine delivered lots of rich, jammy fruit (more of a mélange of blackberry and blueberry), light oak notes and faint raisin aromas. Light brininess and oak notes dominated the palate. The texture had become sleeker overnight. The initially drying finish soon evolved blackberry-like, plumy juiciness. The brisket brought the brininess into line, while the BBQ Ribs made for an interesting complexity and synergy. (13.7% ABV, 1 bottle tasted, 248 cases made)
This wine is made from 100% estate Aglianico fruit planted in Paso Robles by father and son Dave and Marc Caparone. This planting has the distinction of being the first North American planting of the variety. This wine is bottled unfiltered and unfined after spending 24 months in small oak barrels. This Aglianico opened with big leather, but not clearly barn-like aromas (perhaps a mix of Brett and long oak exposure?). Floral notes and faint jammy berry aromas followed. In the mouth, this medium-bodied wine was kaleidoscope of berries, leather and oak. The mouthfeel was plush, rich and round with good acids and notably dusty and grippy tannins. This led into a drying finish with some heat and faint fruit dominated by leather. Overnight, bretty aromas seemed to become more sharply defined and were accompanied by some light blackberry. In the mouth, vague berry flavors were accompanied by a horseblanket-like character. The structure kept its form with dusty textures, good acids and some heat. The finish was rather drying but juicy and then hot on the second day. The astringency was tamed by both brisket and BBQ ribs. (13% ABV, 2 bottles tasted, production volume unknown).
2006 Musto Carmelitano, Serra del Prete Aglianico started with big, black licorice with a pruney/peppery note up front. Blue and black berry aromas followed but did not last well into the next day. Medium-bodied, with light licorice flavors on supple, finer but quite drying tannins and rather unobtrusive acids. The medium-length finish had two phases: First, it is a bit pruney, the most grippy of all Aglianicos in the line up. Blackberries dominated on the reprise. On the second day, licorice and prune, blueberry pie notes made up the aromas. The wine remained medium-bodied, drying and very grippy. Initially drying, the finish ended juicy with blackberry-like, plumy fruit in the second phase This wine worked better with brisket than with BBQ ribs. (100% Aglianico del Vulture. No oak. 14% ABV. 2 bottles tasted).
A blend of 50% Montepulciano, 25% Aglianico and 25% Sangiovese, the first two from Suisun Valley. Mikael Wargin fermented the three varieties as separate lots using different yeast strains. He then blended and aged them a total of 8 months in 20% new Hungarian oak. This wine opened with aromas of pepper and jammy briary red fruit. Initially present dill dissipated fairly quickly. In the mouth, cherry flavors were backed by hibiscus and oak notes. Supple smooth tannins, good acids, punctuated this well-balanced upper medium-bodied wine. The finish offered briary fruit and some heat. On the second day, the wine settled into aromas of black cherry, licorice notes and hints of hibiscus. Cherry flavors and hibiscus and oak notes persisted unchanged. A plush texture, supple, slight, dusty but finely grained, tannins led into a slightly drying finish focused around cherry and ending in some warmth. This wine was a pleasant companion to the mushroom pizza and went surprisingly well with the blackened salmon. (15% ABV, 2 bottles tasted, production volume unavailable)