Home California Wine Review Comics: The Current Palmina Portfolio

Wine Review Comics: The Current Palmina Portfolio


Tasting Palmina with Steve Clifton

Though he’d arrived back from a work trip in Hawaii in the middle of the night only hours before, Steve Clifton was kind enough to make time to taste Katherine and I through the entire current Palmina portfolio. And it’s huge. Here are comics for each of the Palmina wines we tasted.

There is a wonderful consistency of quality across these wines, with each also serving as good food wines, offering a nice balance of pleasure and interest. The Botasea Rosato, Dolcetto, and Santa Barbara Vineyards Barbera are likely the three most flexible for food pairing, with the Santa Barbara Vineyards Nebbiolo offering the easiest approach for the heartier wine options including a range of Nebbiolos and the Lagrein.

Following is some information on 16 wines of the Palmina portfolio.

Palmina White Wines

2010 Tocai Friulano, Honea Vineyard

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Planted in 2002 the Honea Vineyards Friulano gave its first vintage in 2005. The 2010 was given all stainless cold fermentation.

It offers nice distinctive minerality with a pleasing saltiness and acidity. The nose and palate offer almond, citrus flower and zest and mixed pepper. The fruit is picked through multiple passes to keep the acidity up, from a unique limestone river bottom soil with little irrigation.

2009 Subida, Tocai Friulano from Honea Vineyards

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Taking the same fruit at the same time from the Honea Vineyards, the Subida is an orange wine style Tocai Friulano made with 36 days of skin contact, no SO2 or CO2, little punch down, and gross lees moved to barrels. The wine is aged in neutral French oak to allow micro-oxidation but no flavor impact. Malo-lactic fermentation occurs in barrel, and the wine is moved via gravity from barrel to tank, then tank to bottle with no fining or filtration.

The wine opens significantly in the glass, also showing the acidity more vibrantly as it opens. The flavors open from dusty, dried citrus notes to include light pineapple and more floral elements. There are nice nut and white floral elements throughout with tart acidity and toast.

2010 Malvasia Bianca, Larner Vineyard

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Fermented, after a 24-hour cold soak, in neutral barrels, the Malvasia Bianca includes an overnight maceration to heighten aromatics, and deepen the palate, and help relieve bitterness otherwise common to the grape. It is made with all indigenous natural yeast.

The nose here is vibrantly tropical floral with pear, apple, and meyer lemon notes, while the palate becomes white floral, mildly stemmy, with meyer lemon, lemon zest and light apple skin. There is a significant contrast between the nose and palate that makes the wine intriguing. Steve says it is his favorite oyster wine, and it certainly presents as great for seafood.

2010 Arneis, Honea Vineyards

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The Honea Vineyard was started in 2002 for Palmina growing a mix of only Italian varieties on 20 acres.

The Arneis carries fresh, vibrant citrus blossom, nice salty minerality. It’s ripe in the mouth, with a good acidic mouth pinch, a floral nose and opening palate, and a salt and citrus finish. This wine is precise, and clean, with a pleasing texture.

Palmina Rosé

Botasea 2011 Rosato di Palmina

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Though previous vintages of the Botasea have offered a higher proportion of Nebbiolo, two vineyards of Nebbiolo were lost to frost, resulting in more Dolcetto currently being used in the Rosato as a result. The 2011 carries 50% Dolcetto, 25% Nebbiolo, and 25% Barbera.

There is a nice berry and white pepper, well integrated nose. The wine would work well alongside fuller foods offering a nicely dry presentation, medium acidity, and a medium long finish.

This wine was designed to work with foods like a lighter style red wine. It makes me want red meat and fries, and also does well alongside grilled tuna or smoked mussels.

Portions of the proceeds from this wine also go to Breast Cancer Research.

Palmina Red Wines

2010 Dolcetto, Santa Barbara County

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Fermented and aged in 50% neutral oak barrels, and 50% oak tanks, the Dolcetto is the most versatile of the Palmina wines doing well with a huge range of foods, or alongside your cooking process as you get food ready. Having first been made in 2004, it’s also proved to do well with some age, though designed to be drinkable young.

The goal of this wine is to aim towards the light side of things while offering rich flavors. It offers wild red berry notes with mixed pepper, a pleasing light mouth grip, and good freshness.

2010 Barbera, Santa Barbara County

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The Santa Barbara County blend of Barbera is meant to be a little more forgiving, and food flexible presentation of the Barbera varietal.

It smells and tastes like the fresh, juicy, lightly bitter crunch of raspberry and blackberry offering a juicy mouth, and pleasing watery, mixed pepper finish. This wine is dry in the mouth and well balanced.

2010 Barbera Alisos

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The Alisos presentation of Palmina Barbera shows a spicier, richer flavor and body than the Santa Barbara County blend. There is a light bitterness and cracked pepper element here integrated into a rich berry, and earthy note Barbera, all with a clean, watery finish.

2009 Alisos, Santa Barbara County

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Palmina’s first wine, the Alisos was designed to mimic a Super Tuscan style with 80% Sangiovese (10% of which was dried and then rehydrated before pressing), and 20% Merlot.

The passito grapes deepen and concentrate the fruit flavors here into dark raisin, alongside the juicy red cherry and raspberry notes. There are also classic Sangiovese elements of orange zest on the nose, and juice in the mouth. There is great food friendly acidity here.

2008 Undici

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100% Sangiovese, the Undici carries a dark nose, showing wonderful spice, orange zest, leather, tobacco, and red cherry. There is a light fresh finish, following a medium body of yum.

2009 Lagrein

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The Lagrein wants food, with meat proteins helping to bring out the range of flavors on the full bodied varietal. There is a rich mix of cigar box, red and dark fruit, and a pleasant drying mouth grip here. I’m a fan of this grape.

2007 Santa Barbara County Nebbiolo

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Spending 3 1/2 years in oak, and 1 year in bottle before release, the Santa Barbara County presentation of the Nebbiolo is meant to be the most approachable of the Palmina Nebbiolos. It loves air and wants a lot of time in decanter or glass after opening.

The wine shows violet, red fruit, lots of spice, and cracked pepper. it is nicely drying, with medium acidity, and a medium long finish.

2006 Stolpman Nebbiolo

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The Stolpman Vineyard Nebbiolo comes from a barbaresco clone grown in a limestone vein. It’s a wonderfully feminine presentation of strength and elegance with floral–violet and rose–spicy, and leather notes alongside cigar box.

2006 Sisquoc Honea Vineyards Nebbiolo

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A more sinewy, athletic version of Nebbiolo, the Sisquoc uses a Barolo clone. The structure here is tight and focused, while fluid, carrying raisin, date, juicy berry, and dried violet plus touches of musk.

2006 Honea Vineyard Nebbiolo

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In the Honea Nebbiolo the Barolo clone is grown in limestone taking the clone of the Sisquoc grown in the soil type of the Stolpman. There is a strength and fullness here, with a rich and tight presentation, though it is more open than the sinewy Sisquoc. The flavors here are rich leather, and cigar, with dried violet, spice, and cracked pepper.

Palmina Dessert Wine

2006 Santita, a Malvasia Bianca Appassimento

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A perfect biscotti wine made from grapes dried for a 120 days and then rehydrated. The wine is nutty, with dried white herbs, light oxidized notes, touches of molasses, date, dried fig, and dried apricot, as well as touches of dark toast. It is a lovely dessert-style wine offering the rich concentration of the style without the sweetness.

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