Greg Graziano is a very, very busy man. Having inherited vineyards that were planted by his grandfather in 1918, he has successfully established FOUR different labels under which he produces an astounding 30 to 40 different wines (I truly never could get an exact number, so this is a guess).
The Saint Gregory label is the first one that was established. Under this label are wines of the Burgundian ilk. Monte Volpe means "fox mountain" and this brand is for the development of Tuscan red varietals and whites from Friuli. Enotria is Greek for "land of wine" and was developed to promote Piemonte varietals. Lastly, under the Graziano label, are the classic Mendocino varietals; Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs.
I was extremely fortunate that it was a quiet morning during my visit and the lovely lady behind the counter was patient with me as I tried through all the labels and all the wines. I was doubly more fortunate that instead of working through one label at a time, and possibly forcing me to jump to-and-from whites and reds, she laid them out in the order in which they should be tasted. My suggestion is to really only pick a few and not attempt to go through the twenty+ that I did…
Enotria Arneis, Mendocino; Uvaggio Isabella – Enotria is Greek for "Land of Many Grapes" and Arneis is a very unusual varietal with a Piedmont heritage. Pale yellow color with decidedly delightful green apple and pear aromas. Very crisp entry that brightens into a tang in the mid-palate. Long finish with pale herbs and bright fruit. $12.00
Monte Volpe Tocai Friulan, Mendocino – Grapefruit, ripe lemon, and sweet floral tones in the nose. Not overwhelming, but well-integrated. While there was a sweetness in the bouquet, the entry was an engaging spicy crispness. There was a hint of sweetness in the center, but a long, supple finish balances out. $10.00
2002 Monte Volpe Primo Bianco, Mendocino – A blend of Arneis, Tocai, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay grapes. Clean lemon peel and faint tropical notes in the nose. Clean and easy with a brightness of peach and a slightly creamy finish. $10.00
Graziano Rose of Carignane – Intensely delightful aroma of sweet red apples and strawberries. Great acidity and long, structured finish. Too much fun! $12.00
2002 St. Gregory Pinot Noir, Potter Valley – Brownish tinge around a bricky orange/red tone. Warm strawberry and earthy dark fruit aromas. Surprisingly sweet tones in its core with a balanced, even finish that is engaging. $16.00
2002 St. Gregory Pinot Noir, Mendocino – Slightly oxidized with a hint of hospital smell. Thin red fruit with a metallic finish. $16.00
2002 St. Gregory Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Romani Vineyards – A more bretty example of Pinot with dusty, dried twigs in front of mature strawberry flavors. $22.00
2001 Monte Volpe Sangiovese, Mendocino – Decidedly cinnamon tones along with the bright, acidic fruit. Easy and relatively simply. $16.00 Note: This wine was tasted blind along side the following — I was only told that one was bio-dynamic and one was not. Seemed I preferred the bio-dynamic Sangiovese:
2001 Monte Volpe Sangiovese, Bio-Dynamic, Fox Creek Vineyard – Rustic and spicy in structure with an engaging hint of a spicy, candied apple. Tangy entry with some dried floral notes just hidden, but more engaging.
2001 Monte Volpe Primo Rosso – A blend of Barbera, Zinfandel, and Dolcetto. Dark, dusty spice with dried floral qualities. Sweet-like mouth entry of bing cherry and blackberry with a rich, dark spicy mid-palate and dark, floral finish. No price available.
2000 Enotria Dolcetto, Mendocino - "Zinfandel in Merlot’s clothing" was the description given to us by our pourer. Also known as "the little sweet one" because it is so easy to grow. A tease of spice behind the berry fruit. Balance acidity and very easy, fruity wine. Some hints of earth and vanilla on the finish. $14.00
2001 Enotria Barbera – Rustic with dark, dusty spice. Very engaging upon entry with dark cherry and dried lavender and heather in the core. 14.00
2002 Graziano Zinfandel, Potter Valley, Kazmet Vineyards – Dusty cocoa tones with a hint of eucalyptus. Heightened tannic entry of jammy fruit. A tad metallic in the mid-palate with a dry, peppery finish. $24.00
2002 Graziano Zinfandel, Robert Parker Ranch – Spicy dark fruit with ample brambleberry. Softer entry than the aromas portend. Spicy mid-palate and a juicy, full-bodied finish. $22.00
2002 Graziano Zinfandel, Mendocino – Surprisingly sweet nose with a sherry/port-like sweet entry. Liqueur-sweet berry that would make one think it was a late-harvest! $24.00
2004 Enotria Muscato – Engaging aromas of sweet green herbs, ripe pear, and fresh green apple. More green apple on the entry and mid-palate that is a bit sweeter than anticipated. A punctuated, acidic tang on the finish would make it a great cheese wine for dessert, served well-chilled. 12.00
Graziano Family of Wines ~ 13251 S. Highway 101, Ste. 3 ~ Hopland ~ CA ~ 95449 ~ 707-744-8466