July Imported Wine: 2012 Perazzeta ‘Sara’ Rosato I.G.T., Tuscany, ITALY

Alessandro Bocci is truly passionate about making wine according to traditional methods, capturing a sense of place in each bottle, and sharing with the world his love for his land. His wines speak of the terroir and exude layers of flavor obtained from the deep root system he so lovingly tends. Spreading his arms wide to display the 200º view of the valley below, he grins, “I have to come work here every day.” And how beautiful it is. Driving up the dusty road to the estate, one is surrounded by olive trees, yellow Scotch Broom, and the occasional animal. Across the silent valley, Montalcino seems at once close, and a world away. Once a one-man show, Alessandro is now joined by his daughter, Sara, in the fields, and is joined by fifteen friends and family members to help during harvest. The density and complexity of his wines he attributes both to the unusually rich soils of the Montecucco zone, and to the family’s incredible selection standards. “Every year,” says Bocci, “we throw away approximately twice as many grapes as we press.”

History of Rosato and its Relation to Perazzeta: In the fulfillment of a dream, Alessandro Bocci from Perazzeta was able to procure a small plot of prime vineyard land just across the road from his estate, in Montalcino. The vines are too young to make Brunello, but are already producing wonderful fruit–absolutely perfect for a world-class Rosé.

A Rosé (from French: rosé also known as rosado in Portugal and Spanish-speaking countries or rosato in Italy) is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. It may be the oldest known type of wine, as it is the most straightforward to make with the skin contact method. The  pink color can range from a pale “onion”-skin orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grape varieties used and winemaking techniques. There are three major ways to produce rosé wine: skin contact, saignée and blending. Rosé wines can be made still, semi-sparkling or sparkling and with a wide range of sweetness levels from bone-dry Provencal Rosé to sweet White Zinfandels and blushes. Rosé can be made from a wide variety of grapes and can be found all across the globe.

Varietals: 100% Sangiovese

Alcohol: 13.5% by volume

Tasting Notes: Made by Alessandro and his daughter, Sara, this beautiful Rosato delivers unexpected power and delineation. Yes, it has richness. Yes, it is bold. But it is flinty and beautiful, and never heavy in the mouth.

Food Pairings: The Rosato is a perfect accompaniment to fresh heirloom tomatoes, scampi, ricotta ravioli, and calamari.

July Domestic Wine: 2010 Bonny Doon Vineyard ‘Contra’ Old Vine Field Blend, Contra Costa County, CALIFORNIA

Contra is a wine that reflects the opposite of modern winemaking sensibilities, meaning wines overworked and amped up, pushed and prodded into Procrustean palate-numbing sameness. À rebours, this wine is a contrarian blend of the most old-fangled grape variety, carignane, from several extremely old (100 year+), nongrafted, dry-farmed head-trained vineyards, located in Contra Costa County, and the puer aeternus syrah, young, vibrant, racy and peppery. Contra is a somewhat contradictory flashblack/forward to the straightforward, frank wines of yester- and future-year. A field blend that contravenes contraindicated convention, with aromas of cherries and licorice, flavorful cassis, blackberries, and silky tannins. A wine (hardly) contraindicated for gastronomy, it is above all, contrapuntal.

Ideology of Bonny Doon Vineyard: Dedicated to producing wines in a more unaffected, hands-off style, with a particular emphasis on the expression of terroir, or unique sense of place, Bonny Doon Vineyard fashioned the 2010 Contra from hand harvested grapes from the Central Coast — from the northernmost reaches of old vines from Contra Costa County’s Del Barba and Evangelho Vineyards, and its more Southern climes, Arroyo Seco’s Ventana vineyard, San Luis Obispo’s Alamo Creek vineyard, Monterey’s Rancho Solo vineyard, and Santa Maria Valley’s famed Bien Nacido Vineyard. Hand sorted, indigenous yeast fermented in individual lots, extended maceration and 100% ML, before blending to achieve to a wine that is bursting with life, exuberance and deep vitality.

Varietals: 68% Carignane and 32% Syrah

Alcohol: 13.7% by volume

Tasting Notes: The 2010 Contra marries the fresh blackberry and cranberry aromas of old vine Carignane with the classic old vine Syrah, bringing notes of licorice and leather. This vintage provided a bright acidity with black cherry, blackberry, and a mix of spice on the palate. The silky tannins provide this wine with a texture to savor.

Food Pairings: This wine pairs well with grilled meats and good BBQ!