Thank heavens the servers for Able Grape are in an airconditioned data center, ’cause here at Able Grape world headquarters (a.k.a. my modest flat in San Francisco), it’s hot. We don’t have air-conditioning, the windows in my office face south, and on these old wooden buildings, the roof heats up, making the upper story something like 110˚F inside. I’m just sitting here baking, like a sweaty little gougère. Yes, it can get pretty darn cold if the fog rolls in, hence the apocryphal Mark Twain quotation “the coldest winter I ever saw was a summer in San Francisco” — but if Mark Twain were here today, we’d be out back at the barbeque and drinking a slightly chilled bottle of Grignolino. The bottle pictured has been one of my favorites this summer, the 2005 Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese “Poggeto,” from La Casaccia. It’s got a fairly intense aroma of wild strawberry, black pepper, and violet. Its light body, moderate (12%) alcohol, and refreshingly high acidity make it a great summer wine. The color is pale ruby, but the intensity of aroma, the pepperiness, and a zing! of tannin tell you this ain’t no rosé. It wants food (and so do I; all this writing is making me hungry).
If you’re curious about Grignolino, may I recommend Maurizio Gily’s great article “Grignolino, the anarchist of the Monferrato” (citing Luigi Veronelli’s apt description of Grignolino as an “anarchist”), on Wein-Plus, where he has also published a fine article on Dolcetto. On my last visit, Maurizio was kind enough to introduce me to the gracious Giovanni and Elena Rava at La Casaccia, where I tasted the ’06 of the Poggeto, and their lovely Barbera as well. An up-and-coming producer to watch — and a beautiful underground winery as well. Those are the stairs down into one of their infernotti on my profile page.
Now back to (attempting) work in my own inferno… (sadly, no final t on that one).