La Miraja * Grignolino * Asti, Piedmont, Italy 2018


Serve this a skosh cooler than you would a red wine normally, but do not be fooled by its very pale and pretty appearance – it certainly packs more punch than you’d ever expect. Boasting both bright perfume and fragrant fresh fruit as well as gripping tannins and laser-beam acid. Brimming with strawberries and rhubarb, it is the persistence in flavor and mouthfeel does the trick here. Vibrant red fruit with a slightly bitter backbone plus dried rose petals and some Big Red gum makes for a pretty darn captivating experience.

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GRIGNOLINO [gree-nyoh-LEE-noh]
Grignolino comes from the Piemontese word ‘grignole’, which translates to ‘the pips’ in the local dialect. Cute, yet troubling. Those pips packed inside the grapes are the source of the wines harder qualities like bitter tannins and for a long time finding balance was very difficult. Grignolino was once planted quite widely throughout this area and, like Nebbiolo once was, was used as a blending grape that provided the grip to juicier grapes like Barbera. Many of the Grignolino wines growing in popularity, like this one, are made bright and approachable but there are still a few classic producers that make more ageworthy and complex examples that are also worth seeking out.

Eugenio Gatti is a seventh generation winemaker that makes the La Miraja wines in the armory-turned-cellar of an 11th century castle. Super cool style points. His specialty is showcasing the freshness of fruit from each of the uniquely delicious grape varieties he works with: Barbera, Ruche and Grignolino. And he does exactly that in such a way that every wine I’ve ever had from Gatti seems to positively pounce out of the glass with aromatics. Eugenio is the type of person that seems to get the same pleasure out of watching someone experience his wine as he does making the wine itself. His small production (840 cases total), beautiful wines are always treat to showcase.