April 19 2010

Friends and Frappato

There are some things that, upon trying them for the first time, we find an instant affinity for.  The same goes for people.  There are some things that take some getting used to… you have to try them over and over again, you have to be exposed to them repeatedly, you have to WORK to find common ground before you can honestly say you like them.  The same goes for people.

This week, one of my college professors is in town, and on Tuesday, I’ll be taking her and her husband around San Francisco as part of their Bay Area Whirlwind Tour.  It was this last Saturday, however, that we had a gathering over in Dublin where students of hers from the Bay Area gathered for a bit of bar-be-que and a bunch of wine.

My two contributions to the wine table were a Primitivo (Layer Cake 2007 – Puglia) and an Organic Frappato (Occhipinti 2007 – Sicily).

Layer Cake Primitivo Label
Layer Cake Primitivo

The first to get opened was the Layer Cake Primitivo.  I picked this one up because I like Primitivo, and at $13 per bottle at CostCo, how could I lose?

While not the most AMAZING Primitivo ever, I understood why they put the (a.k.a. Zinfandel) under Primitivo on the label.  This wine was good. It was thick, fruity and sweet.  The alcohol lingered for quite some time on the tongue after drinking.  It had a robust nose that hinted at it’s jammy tendencies.  It wasn’t an unpleasant thing to drink at all.

What it really wasn’t, though, was the spicy, robust, energetic wine that I’d come to expect in Primitivos.  It was definitely geared towards American Zinfandel fans.  Not a bad thing at all.  Just not what I expected.  I would bring this to a party where I knew folks liked sweeter, fun wines.

Occhipinti Il Frappato Label
Occhipinti Il Frappato

Once the Layer Cake was gone, I cut the wax (not foil) from the top of the Occhipinti bottle and pulled out the cork.  In my time at La Pastaia, one of the most awesome things was getting to learn about the non-Californian grape varietals.  And by non-Californian, I mean not Cabernet, Merlot, and/or Pino Noir.

Through that discovery process, one of the more enjoyable grapes I came across was Frappato. The few Frappatos we had were light and delicate.  Soft enough to eat with a robust fish, or with chicken in a salsa rosa.  They were summer reds, or rosé lover’s red, and I don’t mean that in a bad way whatsoever.  Morgan had told me that generally Frappato was used as part of a blend, and it wasn’t very common to see them bottled by themselves.  So when I saw the Occhipinti at Terroir, I picked it up without hesitating.  The man at the counter asked if I knew Frappato, and when I said yes he told me that I was in for a treat with this one, because it wasn’t going to be anything at all like I expected.

And he was right.

This wine poured a deep, dark ruby color, and the aroma was robust and grassy.  The taste was light and bright, as I expected, but then it exploded on my tongue with this full bodied, sweet, organic flavor that was a little mossy and a little spicy and a lot tasty.  And then, when the brownies were served, it just got better.  And better.  You can bet that I’ll be picking up another bottle of this, despite the $47 price tag.

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Posted April 19, 2010 by Clay in category "picnic


  1. By Jules on

    I’m not surprised about the Layer Cake, but that Frappato sounds delicious. I’m also just starting to pay attention to natural wines, so Terroir intrigues me!

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