This month we bring you wines from regions thousands of miles apart; Mendocino County, CA and Bolognano, Italy. One winery produces hundreds of cases, and the other produces millions of cases. One wine is made from a traditional rosé grape (Carignan), while the other is made of traditional Italian grapes (Sangiovese and Montepulciano). What they do have in common is that both producers make delightfully refreshing rosés which we will be sharing with you!
Catina Zaccagnini was established in 1978 in a small town in the Abruzzi region, which guards important treasures and traditions. Starting as a family-run business, the winery has grown rapidly and steadily with the goal of “absolute quality, from cluster to glass”, with more than 300 hectares of beautiful vineyards, well-kept and monitored at every production stage. This wine is a blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes. It’s easy to get confused about Italian grape varieties (there are over 350!), and Montepulciano can certainly cause confusion. In Abruzzo, Montepulciano is the main red grape, but it is also the name of a region in Tuscany, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is made from Sangiovese, not Montepulciano.
Trail Marker wines was started in 2012 by Drew Huffine and his wife Emily Virgil; purists who like wines that are well-balanced and have a “certain something” about them that defies description. Over the years Drew has created wines for many well-respected wineries but after he married Emily, she convinced him it was time they create their own wine. No mortgage. No kids. Let’s do it! Trail Marker was born.
Drew entered the wine world attending UCSB, living near Santa Barbara’s wine country. While pursuing a master’s degree at Cal State LA, Drew worked at Colorado Wine Company. There he met Kent Humphrey of Eric Kent Wines. Kent encouraged Drew to head north to work a harvest. From there, Drew was off and running. He worked at Copain, DuMol, Kosta Brown and Wither Hills and becoming the winemaker for Tuck Beckstoffer Wines. In 2013, Drew became the head winemaker for R2 Wine/Roessler Cellars, where he still consults.
Carrie Upson- General Manager
About the Winery: The 500 acres of the estate of Ciccio Zaccagnini is in Bolognano, alongside the Rome-Pescara highway, in the province of Pescara. It is situated approximately 30 miles from the coast and about 8 miles from the Maiella Mountainwhich rises 9,000 ft. The vineyards are in the cru section called "Colle Morto di Bolognano". Marcello Zaccagnini, the dynamic director of the operation, together with his winemaker, Concezio
Marulli, have been protagonists in renovating wine making in Abruzzo. Keeping an eye on tradition, each bottle in this line, wears a small piece of the "Tralcetto", or grape vine, around its neck; they also pay close attention to advancing technologies and modernization. Vines cultivated by Marcello Zaccagnini include Montepulciano and Trebbiano, both classic wines.
About the winemaking: The vines are farmed sustainably, and hand harvested. The wine is made from a selection of free run juices after the grapes are destemmed, crushed, and cold fermented. It sits on the lees for about 3-4 months and then further aged in stainless steel tanks before bottling. The entire fermentation process is carefully managed so the wine can preserve all its delicate and complex aromas.
Tasting notes: Zaccagnini has added a perfect complement to its extremely successful Montepulciano and Pinot Grigio wines by releasing this beautiful Rose. It is made from a tasty blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes, harvested from a single vineyard. It has an attractive pink-coral color and possesses bright, fresh white blossom aromas. On the palate it is light bodied with delicate, mouth-watering red berry flavors.
About the Vineyard: The 2019 Trail Marker rosé of Carignan heralds entirely from the organically farmed Bartolemei Brothers vineyard in Mendocino County. The vineyard has been in the Bartolemei family name since the 1800's and the Carignan vineyard was planted in the early 1930's & late 1940's (between WWII). These are dry farmed, head trained vines shooting up from red rock - a stunning place to grow this Southern Rhone varietal.
About the winemaker: “We're purists at Trail Marker Wine Company. We source fruit from small, yet responsibly farmed and passionately cared for vineyards, anywhere from Mendocino to Santa Ynez. Our traditional winemaking style allows us to make wines that are high acid, low alcohol — well balanced expressions of these uncommon places. They are wines we like to drink and share, and we think you will too.”- Drew Huffine Winemaker/Owner.
Tasting notes: The resulting rosé showcases a beautiful, crisp acidity and an elegant palate that pleads for sweltering days at the beach, backyard BBQ's or the late morning brunches that inadvertently lead into all day adventures. The appearance is a sweet onion skin, ultra-pale color. Aromas of grapefruit and fresh cut strawberries, and acid-driven, tangerine oil with watermelon rind. Light, refreshing body, and a quick finish that keeps you coming back for another sip.