2006 Tamas Estates Prima Red

The "Prima Red" Lives Up To Its Name

Yeah, I'm back, raving about yet another wine from the Livermore Valley. Bored yet? Or, are you getting excited about trying some wines you haven't had from a wine region that maybe you'd never even heard of before I started writing about it?

Oh my, the hubris.

At any rate, this is another winner from Tamas Estates, the Italian variety-focused arm of the Wente Vineyard empire. It's a blend of 63% Barbera, 25% Merlot, and 12% Syrah. I almost thought, "oh, like a Super Tuscan!" and then I remembered that Barbera's ancestral home is the Piedmont, not Tuscany. So... a "Super Piedmontan"? Perhaps.

The wine is a dark red in the glass, then lightens slightly, but not much, at the edges. On the nose is a dark chocolate note that actually hides just a bit of red cherry. The chocolate note is obviously the influence of oak mixed with some really great bitter and sweet notes that mingle around your nostrils and cheerily greet each other as they pass. Maybe they even high-five. I can't be sure.

Good news for this party, it follows through on the palate. Chocolate, spice (like an allspice or ginger or something equally wonderfully bitter) and the cherry turns sour. Which is awesome, of course. The wine is refreshingly light in the mouth and is tannic enough that it might need another year or two. Make no mistake, this is a party wine--something to celebrate with--but it also has enough structure that just thinking about pairing it with a pork tenderloin or Cuban sandwich is getting my mouth watering.

Verdict: A-

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