2007 Amador County Primitivo
California: Amador County
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Dapprima Primitivo
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure a limited allocation California Primitivo
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Domenico Wines
Wine Subject: 2007 Amador County Primitivo
Winemaker: Dominick Chirichillo
Nestled in California’s once gold-rich Sierra Foothills, the Amador County AVA (American Viticultural Area) has been called California’s last great undiscovered wine growing region. With vineyards that date back to the 19th Century, this region is home to some of the oldest vines in the state. Today, Amador County produces some of the most deeply concentrated and intense Zinfandels (Primitivo) in the state.
Primitivo, a native grape of southern Italy can trace its earliest heritage back to ancient Greece. Genetically, it is nearly identical to Zinfandel with Zin having the identical DNA as the clone of Primitivo found in and around Puglia Italy. Primitivo gets its name from the monks who tended this varietal as they noticed it was one of the first to ripen amongst their vines. Known for its rich and vibrant color, aromas and flavors of zesty cherry and spice, Primitivo is best enjoyed young (within five or so years of bottling), however this wine can and does improve with cellaring as well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby red with a dark but clear heart that shows streaks of glistening ruby when held to the light. Ruby edges with just a slight hint of orange and brick at where the wine meets the glass and when swirled, evenly spaced fat legs cling to the side of the glass.
Smell – Bright and tangy red and black fruit including red cherry ripe plum and tart blackberry lead the way with aromatic sweet spice and toasted oak and hints of black licorice.
Feel – Initially smooth on the attack then tangy and bright, this full bodied dry wine has textured youthful tannins and vibrant acidity. A touch of spice an minerality appear at the tip of the tongue and mid-palate and lingers.
Taste – The tangy and ripe red and black fruit including ripe plum, red and dark cherry found on the nose blends with complex notes of sweet spice, black licorice, bittersweet chocolate and toasted notes. Hints of hot spice, pepper and some cedar box also emerge and adds depth and warmth.
Finish – Long and lingering with the ripe and tangy fruit softly fading leaving behind a touch of the cocoa and sweet and peppery spice.
Conclusion – The 2007 Domenico Wines Amador County Primitovo is a lovely wine that shows plenty of mountain fruit character along with ripe and tangy red fruit. Lovers of Zinfandel will definitely appreciate this Italian version of Zinfandel. Rustic but still refined, with a warm, tangy and approachable flavor and mouthfeel. A lovely wine to pair with any Italian dish you can dream up in the kitchen. Enjoy now or cellar for the next few years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Dominick Chirichillo
WINE EDUCATION: Self-taught winemaker, I started making wine with my Italian Grandfather Domenico Giovinazzo in a basement in Staten Island New York when I was probably 2 years old, and continued until college. He made wine with California grapes shipped into the produce dealers. I then picked up wine making in 1987 making 2 barrels with my Brother Patrick in a 1000 sq. ft. basement in Seaside Heights New Jersey; using my Grandfathers press and hand crusher.
I shared the wine and the excitement of winemaking with family and friends and invited everyone I talked about it, and come make wine with us, we went from 2 to 20 barrels the next year and expanded to 67 barrels over the next few years then moved to a 3000 sg ft facility and got up to 300 barrels and launched the Bacchus School of Wine. I kept that going for a number of years then Franchised the concept in 1997 sold 4 franchises in NJ until 2001.
In 1998 I moved my wife Gloria and our 2 sons Nick and Matt to Half Moon Bay California, I commuted to NJ till 9/11 happened and our first Franchisee died in the World Trade Center Bombing. At that point my wife and I rethought our dream and decided it was time to pursue our dream in California. We then decided it was time to stop the franchising and start something in California.
We unraveled our franchise business, kept our New Jersey, Bacchus operation and in late 2001 planted a 8 acre vineyard in Amador County 5 acres of Syrah and 3 acres of Primitivo.
In June of 2004 we opened our Urban winery on the Peninsula in San Carlos, CA. and became members of the Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association, we source Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from that viticultural region. Since we opened Domenico Winery named in honor of my Grandfather I have received 300 winemaking awards.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Owner and wine maker.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Less is better! Let the vineyard and the grapes make good wine.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: I enjoy making in your face red wines.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: June 2004
AGENT RED: Greetings, Dominick. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
DOMINICK CHIRICHILLO: Thanks agent red, I’m excited to have The showcase my Santa Cruz Pinot Noir, I think that the Santa Cruz Mountain growing region is one of California’s hidden wine treasures, I love sharing the wine and the long winemaking history of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
DOMINICK: YES my experience growing up in an Italian family and the many times I was lucky to learn the basics of winemaking from my grandfather, Domenico Giovinazzo.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
DOMINICK: I first make wine to satisfy my selfish love of food and wine, and more specifically make wines to pair with food
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
DOMINICK: with an open wine, and willing to try new wines.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
DOMINICK: I love what I do and I love sharing my wine and spending time with our winery wine club members and especially new customer that find their way into the winery.
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 approximate location of the Domenico Wines Tasting Room can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Medium to full-bodied, deeply colored, rich and concentrated, sometimes called the Mother of Zinfandel, our Primitivo is grown by Dominick at his Amador County vineyard. Presenting aromas and flavors of ripe black fruit, blackberries, cocoa, plum, spice, black licorice, tobacco and red cherries. A sweet entry, well balanced with firm acids and tannins, pairing perfectly with rich and spicy dishes, lasagna, grilled lamb or beef and strong cheeses.
If you love Lodi Zinfandel, wait til you try this luscious Amador County Primitivo!
All Estate fruit from Winemaker Dominick Chirichillo’s own vineyards.
About The Winery:
Dominick and Gloria Chirichillo’s choice of name for their winery is a reflection of their commitment to their Italian heritage and the tradition of family winemaking. In 1955 in New York, Dominick who is called Domenico in Italian was introduced to these traditions by his Nonno (grandfather), Domenico Giovinazzo. In the basement of their home was a wine press that Nonno showed Dominick; passing down from one generation to another the love of handcrafting wine.
Dominick’s passion for winemaking took him from amateur competitions, while he lived on the East Coast, to commercial status after moving to Northern California. Moving to California has enabled Dominick to choose his grapes hands-on from selected vineyards in Napa Valley, Sonoma’s Central Coast, Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Amador County and the Lodi District. Not to mention he is a member of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association, where he sources Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. As of spring 2006, the wines of Domenico have won 95 Medals for wines produced from these various regions!
Prior to opening Domenico Wines, Dominick and Gloria’s passion for the wine business was shared with others on both the East and West Coasts through Bacchus Winemaking Club. This membership club enabled many more people to create their own wines with custom labels. Over 200,000 cases of wine have been created by amateur winemakers on both the East and West Coasts through the years. See the website, www.bacchuswinemakingclub.com for more information on making your own wines.
Our recipe for success in the wine business is simple… take the finest grapes of California, add Dominick’s passion, blend with family tradition, and you get wine that exudes complexity, finesse, and agreeability. We invite you to come by the winery to taste for yourself.
Varietals: 85% Primitivo & 15% Syrah
Appellation: Amador County