Region: Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Franc
Taste: Bold, ripe blackberry fruit, with hints of meatiness and a sprinkling of that signature sandalwood and pepper - this is cabernet franc with the volume turned all the way up. From own-rooted, high elevation vines in the northernmost subzone of Argentina's Uco Valley. Winemaker Matias Michelini strives to express terroir with unexpected grape varietals, and we'd say he succeeded with this one.
Pairing: This tiny production Cabernet Franc should be served slightly chilled, and is extremely versatile on the table. You could pair this with any weeknight dinner; tacos to bbq! Our suggested pairing for today however, plays on layering on flavors that highlight the rich-yet-fresh fruited appeal of this cool-climate, high-altitude Cabernet Franc. PS it’s a versatile dish — Ali Slagle suggests vegetarian substitutes for the meatballs below!
Skillet Meatballs With Juicy Blackberries by Ali Slagle
There are four important things to know about this wine and its maker.
1. Passionate Wines is the brainchild of Matias Michelini. He is both the winemaker and agronomist. His winery's focus rests on purity of fruit, a hands-on approach in the vineyard, and are low in production. Currently, he makes two series that come here to Seattle: Via Revolucionaria and Montesco.
2. Matias strives to make experimental wines that express terroir. These wines are low production and are drawn from multiple inspirations, regions, and styles.
3. The Montesco wines (this wine) are small production wines that focus on place and varietals. This is the label for the wines he makes from grapes grown high up in vineyards in Tunuyan and Tupungato. These are some of the highest altitude vineyards he sources from, some very old, and subject to extremely cold weather.
4. Matias continues to experiment with other cuvees with the mantra of producing either atypical varietals or classic varietals in non-traditional methods.
This wine. The grapes for this wine are grown at 1,500 meters of elevation in a young vineyard in San Pablo, Tunuyan, Valle de Uco. The vines are ungrafted, planted directly in the alluvial and calcareous soils, and the resulting wine is full of energy and finesse. It is made in concrete vats from native yeasts and ages about 8 months before being bottled.
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