Unti Vineyards: Italian Grapes, California Soil

Vintner Mick Unti started his label Unti Vineyards in 1997, the same year that Sam took over the reins at Bi-Rite. Not surprisingly, Sam was an early supporter of Mick’s wines, and we have continued to carry his fantastic Dry Creek Valley wines ever since. Mick is well known for his Rhone inspired wines, but he also makes amazing wines based on Italian varietals. We just brought in a trio of these tough to find bottlings, including the elusive Montepulciano. If you’re ever near Dry Creek, stop by the winery for a tasting and be sure to mention Bi-Rite!

2009 Unti Vineyards Barbera $28.99
In Piedmont, Barbera plays second fiddle to the noble Nebbiolo of Barolo and Barbaresco fame. Here in California, Nebbiolo is extremely difficult to grow, but Barbera does just fine. Mick’s version is a dead ringer for a modern style Piedmont Barbera with ample fruit, a touch of oak aging, and that characteristic acidity that makes this such a food friendly wine. When he doesn’t know what’s for dinner, Mick opens his Barbera; it plays well with just about anything you can throw its way.

2009 Unit Vineyards “Segromigno” $25.99
Segromigno is a small village in Tuscany where Mick’s grandfather was born and where his cousins continue to live. Like his Cotes-du-Rhone inspired blend “Petit Frere”, “Segromigno” is a blend styled after the regional wines of central Italy, in particular those from the Marches. This vintage is 92% Sangiovese and 8% Montepulciano and boasts beautiful aromatics and a juicy, fruit laden palate. Mick thinks it can age for a few years, but why wait when a wine tastes this good!

2008 Unti Vineyards Montepulciano $28.99
Montepulciano is one of those tricky Italian grape varietals that is also inconveniently the name of a famous wine village in Tuscany. Since names of places can’t be appended to wines made outside of their place of origin, you can be certain that this wine is Montepulciano the grape and not a Rosso di Montepulciano. What isn’t confusing, however, is how delicious this full bodied red tastes. Packed with dark cassis fruit and hints of chocolate, this is perfect for rich pastas with meat. For those patience enough to hold onto this wine, five years of aging will open it up to reveal even more complexity.

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