Talk about ‘wow’ wines! These are just a couple of the wines we had on a recent visit to one of our favorite watering holes in Honolulu, Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar. It goes without saying that we’re almost never disappointed with our wine selections here, but these two stole the show on this particular night. Here are my notes and thoughts on each wine:
Tormaresca ‘Neprica’, Puglia, Italy – This is a blend of primitivo, negroamaro and cabernet sauvignon. The waiter said this was one of his favorite wines on the list and we easily understood why. The wine had a great blend of old world and new world characteristics to satisfy palates that have a propensity for either style. Dark, baked fruit and exotic spice characteristics, typical of southern italian wines was the dominating fruit profile in the glass. Even though there was a lot of fruit here, there was enough of a rustic and earthy edge to balance it out and keep the wine from being a tooty fruity wine. Although it had a pretty firm and tight structure, it managed to still convey that sense of gulp-ability that I love about southern italy. A harmonious and righteous partner to the tenderloin with black pepper sauce, bleu cheese and truffle oil on the table. Whoo hoo!
Stolpman L’Avion, Santa Barbara, CA – This was pretty much Rousanne with just a touch of sauvignon blanc? Rousanne is a grape most oftenly associated with the white wines of the Rhone Valley in France. Upon first tasting this wine, I almost got it confused with the Argentinian chardonnay that was on the table. I had to do a little quality control tasting and sampled everyone’s wine on the table to make sure which one was the chardonnay and which one was the rousanne. It had a generous amount of oak that was definitely reminiscent of chardonnay that’s been ‘hit upside the head’ with a big ‘ol oak barrel, but the wine still had enough of the other components that make it a good wine. It still had nuance (something usually lost with too much oak) and length that went for miles before ending strong with a finish that wouldn’t quit. The wine had sumptuous honey and sticky fruit flavors that went perfectly with the pumpkin spiced diver scallops on a bed of risotto. Delicioso!
We found the Tormaresca Neprica at a local wine shop. It weighed in at a value-busting $10.99 + tax. We were happy.
*A note on Vino. I can’t stress how much of a good value this place is for wine and food. When you look at the Honolulu restaurant and culinary scene, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a place that delivers the same across the board wine and food value that Vino does. I always walk away so content with my experience there. This place just rocks it out!