Palmina, Santa Barbara vintner Steve Clifton's Italian-inspired venture, is producing some very fascinating wines that have much more to offer than the typical Cali sunshine and oak. If there's one general unifying quality to Palmina's wines, it's acidity, though minimal new oak influence is probably a close second. The Palmina 2004 Mattia, a blend of 55% Refosco, 30% Cabernet Franc and 15% Merlot, follows this rubric. While the blend appears a bit odd, it's supposedly a common combination in Northern Italy according to the notes on the Palmina website.
This is dark, hearty and, yes, acidic. It's definitely a food wine, though the linear acid driven flavors, chalky minerality, and earthy, spicy finish are enjoyable on their own. While this is a weird one, there are also rose petal flavors--kind of earthy and floral, if that's possible. What's most interesting, though, is that the bouquet is starting to take on some pleasing aged characteristics. The fruit has acquired a kind of cherry preserve quality, but it's not jammy like a young wine. It's somewhere in between really ripe red fruit and dried red fruit in a way that only occurs with some bottle age. There are also hints of dried herbs and roasted peppers in the background. Though the tannins are mellowing a bit, there is still plenty of structure and if I had another bottle, I'd hold it for several years, at least. It's worth noting the ABV is a modest 13.5%.
This is a wine that delivers. The fruit aromas are typically Californian, but the structure and minerality have an angular Old World edge to them. We drank this wine after a Palmina tasting last week, and I'll be posting notes on that tasting shortly.
Pros: High Acid, Minerality, Aged Aromas, Structured, Food Wine
Decant: Yes, for sediment and to open up
Price: $28 from Palmina Wines
QPR: Fair (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)