2005 'La Famiglia' Red Hills Lake County Barbera
Barbera •Snows Lake Vineyard
California: Lake County
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Bring on the Knight
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Arimda Winery. Secure their delicious, budget-minded, expectation-exceeding La Famiglia Barbera for our deserving Opratives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Armida Winery/La Famiglia
Wine Subject: 2005 La Famiglia Red Hills Lake County Barbera
Winemaker: Brandon Lapides
Backgrounder: The Red Hills Lake County AVA is distinguished by red volcanic gravelly soils and a distinctive lake-land effect breeze/wind that moderates temperatures. Much of this unique appellation overlooks Clear Lake and the town of Kelseyville. Vineyards in this region benefit from a daily breeze that cools the vines after long, hot days. The Red Hills Lake County AVA is a part of the larger, multi-county North Coast AVA comprised of four counties: Lake, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino.
Barbera is one of the most prolific grapes of Italy’s Piedmont. Generally light, fresh and fruity in character, Barbera is fast becoming a popular varietal to many adventurous U.S. wine-drinkers. It is ruby-red in color and darkens as it ages. Furthermore, as it ages Barbera typically loses some of its acidity and grows in terms of aroma and taste components. It was first brought to the United States and planted in Napa Valley by Italian immigrants.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet hues, with an opaque and darker heart of darkest cherry. After a hearty swirl, tall legs take forever to emerge before stretching into straight, skinny, wine-stained strands that move slowly down the glass.
Smell – Dark and dusky, with brooding aromas of smoky anise, overripe blackberry, braised fig, black licorice, black cherry and toasty vanilla. After the wine breathes for a while, soft spice and stewed currant emerge.
Feel – Soft and light-weight on entry. Then, soft, integrated tannins add a slight grip at the tip of the tongue, spreading an easy, mild dryness to the corners of the palate.
Taste – Black cherry, cocoa-dusted chocolate cherry (imagine it!), braised fig, super-dry black currants, smoky blackberry, and very-slightly burned blueberry.
Finish – Long and very full-flavored, with fine, smoky flavors of dark fruit that slowly yield to a soft, spreading dryness that supports smoky, intriguing flavors right out to the very end.
Conclusion – This delicious 2005 La Famiglia Barbera comes to us by way of our dear friends at Armida Winery, who know a great thing (grape) when they spot one. Their acquisition of the La Famiglia brand was a major coup – for you, dear Operative. This terrific wine is a balanced, delicious, exciting gem of a wine that won’t break the bank. This smoky, flavorful, complex wine is really a delight to drink and share. With dark fruit, dusky flavors and a dynamic mouth-feel, this wine provides plenty to talk about. Pair perfectly with a rotisserie chicken. This wine gets a very hearty Wine Spies recommendation!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Armida Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Our Barbera is grown on the high elevations of the Red Hills in Lake County. The rocky deep soils from an extinct volcano aid in producing intense concentrated red wines. The immaculate fruit was picked at daybreak and de-stemmed into an open top tank. Minimal handling during fermentation allowed for the fresh red raspberry and cherry aromas to dominate. Barrel aging for 36 months in large Hungarian puncheons allowed for skin tannins to fully soften and integrate with the tannins from the oak. The nose is wonderfully complex – full of cigar, black cherry, with hints of dried herbs, and even some honey baked ham. The entry is bright with red fruit – the mouth lush with soft tannins and sweet oak, finishing with firmness and sweet oak. This wine pairs beautifully with beef lasagna, beef stroganoff, rosemary lamb chops, pasta with pesto and basil, tomato and basil pizza, veal scaloppini, roast beef sandwich, spicy roast chicken, and most heavy game. And for us, it is our “go to wine” for hamburgers!
About The Winery:
Hello folks! We purchased controlling interest in Armida Winery from Robert Frugoli in 1994. Wow, it is difficult to believe more than 15 years have gone by since we began this grand adventure. On little more than hope, faith, and a little help from our local friendly bank, we jumped into the “family owned and operated” wine business with both feet. Bruce arrived having just sold his super successful home furnishings business in San Jose, and Steve brought his experience including stints as President of Buena Vista Winery and COO of Freemark Abbey Winery. Bruce’s entrepreneurial spirit combined with Steve’s wine industry knowledge, and a whole lot of hard work, has transformed Armida Winery from a sleepy little winery producing pretty good wines to a much more lively place focusing on ultra premium, hand crafted, single vineyard wines from the top vineyards of neighboring Dry Creek, Russian River and Alexander Valleys.
We make over ten different wines showcasing some of the very best vineyards in Sonoma County including Maple Vineyard Zinfandel, Flora Ranch.
Zinfandel, Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir, Black Kite Pinot Noir, Bacigalupi Pinot Noir, Castelli-Knight Pinot Noir, Parmellee-Hill Pinot Noir, Stuhlmuller Chardonnay, Keefer Chardonnay and Durell Vineyard Chardonnay. From our seven-acre estate vineyard we produce Il Campo (“Field Blend”), a delicious combination of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. We also produce “POIZIN” (Zinfandel), “The Wine to Die For,” and “ANTIDOTE,” a beautiful Pinot Grigio in cobalt blue half bottles.
Over the years we have met so many interesting people. Many of our best customers are our friends and we enjoying seeing them and being able to spend time with them. We don’t make a whole lot of wine, preferring to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. As such, practically all of our wine is sold directly to members of our wine club and those of you who visit us at the winery. Our wine club always gets first crack at our smallest production wines, a privilege they seem to enjoy very much! We invite you to drop by here any time between 11am and 5pm to try our wines and enjoy the ambiance of our hillside property and views. If so inclined you might want to bring along lunch to enjoy on the large patio overlooking the Russian River Valley, or perhaps play Bocce Ball on the court above the pond. We take our wines very seriously, but once they are “made,” we make sure to have a whole lot of fun.
On any given day you will find us working in the tasting room along side Janet or Kristina, tending the garden, fixing something (maintenance is non ending!), doing office work (not our favorite) or helping wine maker Jessica and cellar master PW during harvest. We will be sure to say HI when we see you!
Appellation: Red Hills Lake County – Snows Lake Vineyard
Harvest Dates: 11/2/05.
Grape Varieties: Barbera
Barrel Aging: 36 months in Hungarian cooperage
Total Acidity: .58 g/100mL
Residual Sugar: Dry
Number of Cases Bottled: 300