Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
Aglianico •French Camp Vineyards
California: Paso Robles
What We Say
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Mission Codename: First Growth
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, and secure a limited allocation of their unique and delicious Aglianico, a wine that is a favorite among Jacuzzi winery visitors and wine club members
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2008 Aglianico – Paso Robles
Winemaker: Charlie Tsegeletos
Aglianico (pronounced, roughly “ah-LYAH-nee-koe”) is a black grape grown in the Basilicata and Campania regions of southern Italy. The vine originated in Greece and was brought to the south of Italy by Greek settlers. The name may be a corruption of Vitis hellenica, Latin for “Greek vine”. In early Roman times, it was the principal grape of the famous Falernian wine – which was the Roman equivalent of a First Growth wine today.
Here in California, a very number of producers grow this grape. Our friends at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards have crafted a uniquely delicious Aglianico that is well worthy of your attention.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Gorgeous dark garnet hues with perfectly concentrated color, from core to edge. After a hearty swirl, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind chubby, slow-forming, slow-moving legs that meander down the wall of the glass.
Smell – Bold and bright, with dark cherry and Bing cherry, plum and black licorice. These sit atop cocoa dust, soft baking spice, hard strawberry candy and a hint of dry dark earth.
Feel – Light and cool on the attack, bright and fine. At the mid palate, firm tannins frame the flavors and coat the mouth, giving the wine a very well-structured feel.
Taste – Wild black plum, blackberry and chocolate dust lead thee charge. Then, Bing cherry, red plum, dark strawberry, cranberry, dark spice, black pepper and a fine minerality appear.
Finish – Long and flavor-filled, with dark fruit yielding to dark fruit and minerals, all supported and sustained by spice and black pepper.
Conclusion – The 2008 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Aglianico is a delicious southern Italian-style wine that delivers a great deal of excitement – and originality. Italian varietals are known to be picked before the usual California standard for ripeness, making them brighter and less fruit forward. Usually. This Cali-born Aglianico is darker than most Italian varietals we have shown in recent times, delivering a dark fruit that is balanced by a bright acidity and solid tannin structure. This wine is bold and very flavorful, but not overbearing. Pair with a spicy pizza, or spaghetti with a spicy Italian marinara.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Charlie Tsegeletos
WINE EDUCATION: 30 years of working with winemakers and growers that know what they are doing and what it takes to make good wine. BS Ag Sci and Management and Plant Science from UCD.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Apprentice Winemaker with tiny Pendleton Winery in San Jose; Assistant Winemaker with family owned Hacienda Winery in Sonoma; Winemaker for historic D’Agostini Winery in Amador County; Senior Director of Winemaking for ground breaking Glen Ellen Winery in Glen Ellen; Winemaker for fun-loving Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Balance is everything. Make big flavorful red wines that have sharp edges and make crisp, fresh white wines that tantalize.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Put ten of your favorite wines in a brown paper bags and taste them blind with your friends. I think you’ll like our wines.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1981 Pendleton Monterey Chardonnay released in early ’82.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Charlie. We are thrilled to be showing your *2008 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Aglianico * today. This is a unique wine, and we thank you for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
CHARLIE: Thanks for having me, again!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
CHARLIE: A bottle of 1974 Charles Krug Reserve Cab spun my head around and I wanted to have a go at making something like that.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
CHARLIE: I’ve had a chance to work with a lot of winemakers over the years and each has his “special” winemaking secrets and some of them even work. Joel Aiken who had been the Beaulieu Vineyards winemaker for years once asked me what my wine stood for and that really made me think that each wine I make should stand for something – in other words it should have it’s own signature and not just taste like something else in the lineup.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
CHARLIE: I make it according to my sense of balance and that seems to work out okay for the consumers, sales folks and reviewers. I do listen to what folks say about the wine and then try and refine the wine each vintage.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
CHARLIE: You are showcasing our 2008 Jacuzzi Aglianico. It is 100% Aglianico and the grapes were grown in San Luis Obispo County. We produced under 700 cases of this wine and it is our first year of production.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
CHARLIE: This is a wine of great structure (medium plus tannin) and lovely fig and cherry flavors. It pairs beautifully with flavorful meat dishes or a big flavorful Greek dish and you’ll know why in a minute.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Paso Robles appellation so special?
CHARLIE: The vineyard is about 25 miles east of the town of San Luis Obispo. It gets warm during the day and but it is cooled by breezes from the Pacific Ocean in the late afternoon so you get great ripening and good acid. Really – that is the best of both worlds.
On a historical note it is thought that this grape came to Southern Italy from Greece by way of the Phoenicians. The name is derived from “Ellenico” which is an Italian adjective meaning “Greek”. It may have come to Italy in the 7th Century BC so you get a time machine with every bottle.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
CHARLIE: We have had a lot of visitors lately– from local to international so I have been a tour guide.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
CHARLIE: Pour it, ponder it and drink it. You’ll know if you like it and if my sense of balance works for you too.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
CHARLIE: Don’t take it too seriously – remember it started out as a grape.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Complex figs and cherries with a solid structure of moderate tannins.
This is our first year of production of Aglianico; an ancient variety that was thought to have been planted in Southern Italy in Campagnia and Basilicata in the seventh century B.C. The name is derived from “Hellenic” which means “Greek” – thus providing a clue to it’s origins. It is known for dense flavors and big age-worthy tannins. There are very few acres of Aglianico planted in California and even fewer Aglianico wines produced.
Vineyard Notes: Aglianico is grown in the shadow of Black Mountain at French Camp vineyards in Paso Robles. The vineyard receives less than 11 inches of rain per year and plenty of cool air due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
Production Notes: The Aglianico grapes are handpicked and de-stemmed where the stems are removed without crushing the berries. This is a very gentle process that minimizes the pick-up of bitter components from the skins and seeds. The grapes, with seeds and skins mostly intact, are pumped to one of our temperature controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks and inoculated with a pure strain of wine yeast. The bright, crisp flavors of this flavorful variety begin to emerge as fermentation progresses. The fermenting wine is tasted daily and once the desired tannin level is achieved the wine is pressed using our low-pressure “tank press”. This gentle handling minimizes extraction of harsh components in seeds and skin. The wine, now free of skins and seeds, is settled and then racked to barrels to gain complexity and a toasty character associated with the oak. The wine was aged for a year on 30% new French Medium toasted oak.
Food Pairing: Ideal with seafood or pesto over pasta.
About The Winery
The Jacuzzi trek to America started in 1907, when Valeriano and Francesco Jacuzzi, the second- and third-born sons of Giovanni and Teresa Jacuzzi, immigrated to Washington to work on the railroad. A warmer climate beckoned and the pair eventually made their way to southern California. Years later, they were joined by four other brothers and eventually all went to work in the aviation industry. Soon they would make American history.
In 1911 their father, Giovanni, a skilled wood worker and vineyard farmer joined them. Two weeks was enough to convince him that his sons would never go back. He then returned to Italy with Valeriano to gather up the rest of the family.
World War I intervened and the trip was delayed until the war’s end. During this time, Valeriano had met Giuseppina and fell in love, married and had their first child. Valeriano’s new family, parents and remaining siblings departed from Italy in 1920.
Soon after their arrival in early 1921, Valeriano started working with his brothers at their Jacuzzi Brothers factory. A tragic crash, over Modesto, of Jacuzzi’s first enclosed monoplane took several lives, including that of Valeriano’s brother, Giocondo. At this time, Giovanni asked his sons to cease making planes. Valeriano moved his family to Northern California and purchased a 161-acre farm in Contra Costa County.
During the depression, Valeriano, with help from his older children, planted a portion of the open farm fields with grapes and in 1936 he applied for a license to make wine for home consumption. At that time he was limited to 200 gallons (approximately 84 cases). The vineyard was planted to Zinfandel, Carignane and Mourvedre and he sold grapes for $30-$35 a ton.
In 1937, Valeriano returned to work with his brothers at Jacuzzi Brothers, Inc. located in Berkeley, CA where they manufactured water well pumps and eventually, the bath and spa that bears their name.
Wine Type: Red Wine
Varietal Composition: 90% Aglianico, 10% Alicante Bouschet
Harvest Date: October 14
Barrel Aging: 12 months, 30% French oak
Residual Sugar: .25%