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Gringolino Wine: A Match for Spring and Summer

two glasses of wine against the summer sky

By Gina Trippi

Grignolino goes way back; both historically and for us at Metro Wines, personally. The other half of Metro Wines, my husband, John Kerr was born and raised in Napa.

Late in the 1970s and early 1980s he toured wineries, already looking for the difference! Most had the same varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

“Only one wine stood out for me,” says John, “Grignolino made by Heitz Cellars.” This is the winery that makes some of the top iconic wines from Napa. And yet, while the bottles probably provided little revenue, Heitz continued to produce Grignolino.

Mystery explained. In talking to the staff, John discovered Grignolino was the winery owner’s favorite grape.

Even now, most shoppers do not know about Grignolino. Now is the time to meet this grape as the lighter body and fruit are a match for spring and summer. The crispness is reminiscent of a white wine but with slightly more weight, Grignolino stands up to any picnic.

Grignolino, a temperamental varietal to grow, is a red grape from the Monferrato hills of Piedmont. The varietal has been in a battle for press with its neighbors, big boys such as Nebbiolo which makes Barolo, Barbera and Dolcetto. As a result, Grignolino has never ventured far from home, although today, there are Grignolino vines in California, in the Santa Clara and Napa valleys.

Heitz Cellars still makes an extraordinary Grignolino with characteristic flavors of strawberry and raspberry and a touch of pomegranate. While other wines from Heitz are available in North Carolina, the Heitz Grignolino is not.

But, we got you covered! Our bottle is from the source, La Casaccia “Poggeto” Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese. Poggeto is 100% certified organic Grignolino, from vines raised in limestone and chalk at 450 meters in elevation and fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures with ambient yeast.

Poggeto is the top of the hill owned by Giovanni Rava and his wife Elena. Close by is their 18th century cellar in the village of Cella Monte, in northern Monferrato. Cellaring results in a wine that is bright and aromatic. And the cellar, carved out by their great-grandfather, was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

The cellared Poggeto is floral yet dry with red fruit and spice laced with just enough fine tannins to give the wine spring but not sharpness. This wine can be served at room temperature, but it shines at 55 degrees.

Beautiful pale cherry color in the glass, Poggeto is meant to drink fresh and young. Grignolino makes a joyful aperitif and a great partner for Sunday Brunch pairing with flavors from parsley to black sesame to citrus.

The importer says that, even today, few people know about Grignolino. So, this gorgeous grape combined with its relative novelty makes it a hit with guests. And at under $20 a bottle, Poggeto appeals to adventurers on a budget.

Looking for something a little different? Try Poggeto Grignolino!

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