Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Wineaux: Wines to drink while waiting for Il Papa

SusanLeonardiWineauxW

By
From page A7 | October 03, 2013 |

The new pope’s penchant for cold calling has encouraged me to wonder every time my phone rings if it might be Francis I on the other end.

He could, for instance, be calling to congratulate me on my recent marriage to a Pope or to thank me for the many enthusiastic words in the last few columns about Italian wines.

As the weeks go on, though, and the callers turn out to be machines alerting me to mortgage deals or utility bills, my hopes are fading. Perhaps it’s time to leave the Italian beauties alone for a while and write about local wines again.

And what could be more local than Route 3 Wines, located on County Road 95 with a tasting room at RootStock in Winters? Route 3 is a relatively recent addition to the Yolano region wine scene. The first vineyards were planted in 1988 by Joe Muller & Sons in what is now the Dunnigan Hills AVA. Eventually expanding to 270 acres of grapes, the Muller family started Route 3 Wines in 2007.

All of the grapes for their own wines come from the historic Hucke Ranch, named after the family who first owned and farmed the land. The Mullers named their winery Route 3 after the original rural postal route, liking “ the symbolism of the connection to our history and our commitment to the future of our farming.”

Route 3 makes nearly a dozen wines, and at RootStock you can taste whatever’s currently available. I had a chance to try four of them last week — the 2012 GdT, the 2010 Dry Rosé, the 2011 Grenache and the 2010 Merlot — and liked them all. My favorite was also the most expensive, the grenache, which retails for $18.50. Clean, spicy and herby, this wine is made from grapes grown on a hillside vineyard overlooking a pond surrounded by eucalyptus trees.

Learning that, I began to detect a trace of eucalyptus in the wine itself — perhaps only the power of suggestion, but nice nonetheless. Very versatile, this garnet-colored wine will pair well with all manner of early fall dishes, say a dish of butternut squash ravioli or a mushroom risotto.

The Route 3 Merlot is big and bright without being correspondingly high in alcohol (13.5 percent). Its berry and cherry flavors and mild tannins worked very well with my gnocci in sage-butter sauce, and it would also stand up to a steak or a lamb stew. I poured it for a couple of people who said they usually don’t drink merlot, and they liked it, too.

Less expensive ($12.50) and very low in alcohol (11.4 percent), the GdT is a delightful white. I’m not fond of the name, which sounds to me a bit like a pesticide (hardly doing justice to Route 3 Wine’s commitment to sustainable agriculture) but is actually short for Greco di Tufo, a native grape of Italy’s Campania. It’s also the name of the region that produces very prestigious whites from this grape and so “Greco di Tufo” is off-limits as a name for any wine produced outside of it, hence the “GdT.”

The grape is thought to have been brought to Italy by the Greeks (which explains the “Greco”), and “Tufo” refers to the type of rock on which one of the wine-producing villages (also “Tufo”) is built.

Confusing enough?

Fewer than 100 acres of Greco di Tufo are planted in California, so if you’re looking for an unusual wine gift, this bright, crisp, dry white with flavors of peach, citrus and honey would be perfect. Like the Grenache, it’s extremely food-friendly — it works well with all sorts of appetizers and cheeses as well as seafood and chicken dishes. I also like it on its own. It’s good chilled, but as it warms you get more of the nice mineral flavors.

You can buy Route 3 wine at Nugget and the Davis Food Co-op, as well as at RootStock, and you can order it at restaurants like The Porch and Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento and, in Davis, Monticello Seasonal Cuisine.

Greco di Tufo, even in its Californian incarnation, brings me back to the subject of Italian wines. I don’t want to ignore them completely — just in case Pope Francis is perusing today’s Enterprise. I’ve bought three wines from Italy recently — all $10 or under — at Nugget. One, the Santa Cristina Toscana, is on sale for just $6, and I hoped to like it enough to buy a case. I didn’t. It seemed kind of dull and oaky. The other two, though, have been quite excellent accompaniments to the fall fare I’ve just started cooking and eating, like winter squash lasagne.

The first is the Valle Reale Vigne Nuove 2011 — a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It’s a lively, youthful, medium-bodied red with lots of berry and cherry notes and tastes like the sort of wine you’d be served in a Roman trattoria. Just the thing to go with a good, hearty red sauce.

The second is the 2008 Cacciata Toscana from the Chianti Classico region. A blend of 85 percent sangiovese and 15 percent cab, it’s very soft and silky. It doesn’t taste nearly so Italian as the Vigne Nuove — it’s a bolder wine, more in the California style, with some nice spice. Just a tad too much oak, but as you know, I’m on an anti-oak kick right now, so I suspect most folks would disagree.

In any case, it’s quite a drinkable wine and has the added attraction of a label with a beautiful etching of a wild boar ( “cacciata”). Why this animal? The wild boar will, apparently, only eat grapes when they’re perfectly ripe, so winemakers can follow their lead at harvest time. But the name is appropriate for another reason: the wine would go nicely with wild boar or other gamey meat.

Have you tried it, Papa Francesco? Let’s talk.
— Reach Susan Leonardi at [email protected] Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

Comments

comments

Susan Leonardi

.

News

Breaking barriers: For Prieto, it’s all about hard work

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Council to hear about drought pricing

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Peaceful Baltimore demonstrators praise top prosecutor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Nigeria: Nearly 300 freed women, children led to safety

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Graveyard thefts land three Woodlanders behind bars

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Downtown altercation leads to injuries

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Woman arrested for brandishing knife on overpass

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Yolo DA launches monthly newsletter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Can plants talk? UCD prof will answer that question

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

A Scottish setting for local author’s next book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Free beginner yoga class offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Video discusses surveillance of prostate cancer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

NAMI support group meets May 10

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Dr. G featured on the radio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Indoor Fun Fly comes to Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Internships move UCD doctoral students beyond academia

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Make Mom a warm vanilla sugar scrub

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
The secret to Mother’s Day gifting success: Give time, not stuff

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Letter book is series of collected missives thanking Mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
If your mom fancies something fancy, consider a tea party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Out of Africa and back to Davis: James Carey will give special presentation

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Tuleyome Tales: How are a snake and a mushroom alike?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
Tuleyome hosts Snow Mountain camping trip

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Forum

End of life doesn’t mean life must end

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Advancing education for California’s former foster youths

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

With sincere gratitude

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
A wonderful day of service

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Please help Baltimore

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Eyewitness to the ‘fall’ of Vietnam: It was not a bloodbath

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5 | Gallery

He can’t give it up

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

 
 
Dangers from prescription pills

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

.

Sports

UCD softball splits with Titans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Trifecta of Devil teams open playoffs Tuesday

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Defending champ DHS clinches a baseball playoff berth

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Making memories at Aggie Stadium

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: DHS boys win to reach lacrosse playoffs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie women speed past Hornets

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
Pro baseball roundup: Hudson pitches Giants past Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Arcadia partners on soybean trait to improve yield

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Marrone opens new greenhouse

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
New firm helps students on path to college

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A8

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, May 3, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8