On a recent trip thru CA, I made a detour thru the lesser known Amador County. This region of the Sierra Foothills,which is not as popular as Napa and Sonoma, is warmer than those regions and is known for producing some outstanding zinfandel wines. Nine Gables Vineyard and Winery is a family owned and operated winery of Jerry and Pam Notestine. The name comes from the nine gables on the house they built in 1992. The Nine Gables winery has been producing wines since 1998, although the Notestine's have been crafting wines at other locations since 1978. I had a very enjoyable tasting and conversation with their son Ryan who was very knowledgeable of the winery history as well as each of the wines. I brought home several bottles of the 2006 Ottimista Vineyard Barbera which had a nice dark red color and a nose of red and black berries. The berries were predominant in the initial taste, along with a hint of cherries and even some blueberries. This is a nice medium bodied wine with little tannins. Decant this wine for 1-2 hours and it becomes a very nice wine. It was the perfect match for our pasta with bolognese sauce. Would also go well with pizza. I recently received a shipment of the 2007 Barbara, which I tasted out of the barrel. I hope I can hold off on opening it until 2010-2011. If you are doing a CA wine tour, make a stop in Amador County.
Well, I held off till May 2010. I just opened the 2007 Barbara from the Ottimsita Vineyard and it was very tasty too. Although not from Italy, it was nice Barbera with dark cherry and plum aromas along with mushroom and oak. I always appreciate the earthy aromas from true Italians wines but this had a some earthiness to it also. On the palate is dark fruits along with the cherries. Although very young, the tannins were round and and the acidity was well balanced. The 2007 Barbera retails for $25. For our taste, the Italian Barbera's are the best but this is a very enjoyable wine. It retails for $25. I will hold the next bottle for abother 5 years, hopefully. Should be a great wine with more cellaring. We served it with a wood-fired flank steak (local farm butchered) with a spicy chimichurri sauce. Although it is a medium to fuller bodied wine, it did not overpower the thinly sliced, tender meat and actually complimented the sauce quite well. Give this wine a try!!!