Made Up Names Can Make For Great Wines
The woman at Tamas Estates' tasting room was very frank.
“Andiamo isn’t a varietal or style. We made up the word.”
Why? It has to do with certain California wine label laws that state when a winery can (and when they cannot) list a grape varietal on a wine’s label. Seventy-five percent of a wine’s content must be of the stated varietal, assuming there is one at all.
Tamas' “Andiamo” is 50% Zinfandel, 47% Sangiovese, and 3% Petite Sirah. So while it isn’t 75% any one grape (and hence, has a made-up name) it is 100% delectable.
As a friend likes to put it, “that’s some good juice.”
The nose on the Andiamo is very earthy and rich, it smells like an orchard in the summer, you can almost smell tree bark in there (oh yeah… the wine is fermented in oak barrels, isn’t it?). There’s also a hint of warm spice, like nutmeg or cardamom or something similar.
On the palate, the wine is rich and lustrous. Notes of coffee and chocolate mix with a very dark and hearty raspberry note. The wine feels like drinking velvet.
This is not to say it’s anything like, for instance, Porto or Madeira. It’s not thick or sticky feeling, or really all that sweet. But the flavors are big and bold and quite impressive. Recommended.