Italian grape varieties that were once an integral part of Mendocino viticulture are again drawing the attention of wineries here as well as other regions in the United States.
The wines we have made at Monte Volpe (which means Fox Mountain) since our first releases in 1991 are rich in color, fragrance, flavor and offer a great deal of finesse. Their structures are reminiscent of their Italian ancestry, but they display a vibrancy that is the hallmark of wines that are produced from fully ripened grapes.
The focus of this brand is on the classic red varieties of Tuscany and the supple white cultivars of Friuli.
2013 PRIMO ROSSO
Primo Rosso, first red in Italian, is a blend of many old world varietals, many which have been grown here for over a century: Zinfandel, Primitivo, Carignane, Petite Sirah and Syrah were grown on the benchlands and hillsides of the Ukiah and Redwood Valleys. All of these grape varieties make beautifully fruity wines with good dark colors, full tannins and good balanced acidity. These varieties complement each other in so many different ways.
This creative blend produces a wine of extraordinary balance. This wine has a dark purple-garnet color, with fruity aromas and flavors of plums, blackberry jam, spice and earth with hints of toasty oak. Rich full flavors, ample tannins and balanced acidity seamlessly carry through to a long, complex finish. You will never find a red wine in the world that has been aged longer in oak barrels for this price.
Enjoy this wine with grilled steaks, pasta with forest mushroom sauce and lamb chops with rosemary and garlic sauce. Primo Rosso also make a great companion to hard well aged cheeses.
2015 PINOT GRIGIO – Mendocino
Pinot Grigio has quickly become one of the most popular white grape varieties in the world. This rust-gray tinted skinned grape, enjoyed for centuries, is said to be a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape. However, it seems unsure whether it is a red or white wine grape, hence, grigio, meaning gray. Monte Volpe is the oldest producer of Pinot Grigio in California.
This blend has produced a rich, floral wine with aromas of tropical fruits, cantaloupe melon, and multi-colored Jonathan apple with a hint of wet stone. A lively mouthful of spicy apple and stony minerality is balanced by crisp acidity throughout the finish.
Excellent as an apperitivo or serve with seared scallops with Beurre blanc sauce, grilled swordfish or chicken picata.
2011 TOCAI FRIULANO – Late Harvest “Dolce Alexandra”
Only twice in a decade do we get the opportunity to produce late harvest wines. It is a special combination of the timing of the weather (rain and heat) and the variety of grapes. 2011 was a difficult vintage for most of us on the north coast of California because of the large amount of early rains during the harvest. It was however a great year to make late harvest wines. We have made 3 versions of this wine over the years and this is the most spectacular. As the Tocai Friulano from Lowell Stone’s Fox Hill Vineyard was beginning to ripen, a large amount of rain appeared along with some very warm temperatures which caused the perfect conditions for Botrytis Cinerea (Noble Rot) to form. After several weeks of watching the Botrytis spread and intensify we decided to harvest. We have never seen nor heard of in our lives a brix of 60 degrees. After months of trying to get the wine to ferment in French Burgundy barrels beyond 7% alcohol we gave-up. The wine was then aged for two years to increase its complexity and stability. The resulting wine is thick and viscous, like apricot honey, with a final residual sugar of an amazingly decadent 43%. Truly, one of the finest dessert wines ever produced!
A fabulous wine to pair with very sweet fruit desserts or to enjoy with very ripe creamy Gorgonzola cheese, or just pour it over vanilla ice cream.
2014 TOCAI FRIULANO – Double Gold medal at 2016 Mendocino Wine Competition!
This relative of Sauvignon Blanc was named after a traditional Friulian wine glass. The grapes were grown in the benchlands above the Russian River in Mendocino County and is 100% fermented and aged “sur lie” for 4 months in French Burgundy oak barrels. This aromatic variety produces wines with a distinctive spicy and honeysuckle character that is framed with clean crisp acidity that makes it an ideal companion with grilled fish or fresh shellfish.
2013 SANGIOVESE – Mendocino
Monte Volpe is one of the oldest producers of Sangiovese in California, releasing its first vintage in 1992. 89% of this Sangiovese is from the Hidden Hawk Ranch in the foothills near the township of Calpella, just north of Ukiah. The final 11% percent is from Fox Mountain Vineyards owned by Lowell Stone, which is located in the foothills of the Ukiah Valley.
In these vineyards, shallow rock laden soils, warm southwestern exposures and cool nights produce grapes with superb balance, concentration and fruity aromas and flavors. The grapes were hand-harvested at an average of 26 degrees brix from September 16th to the 29th. After crushing the grapes into small open-top stainless steel tanks, the must was cold soaked for 4 days and then pumped over and punched down twice daily for 2 weeks during fermentation, before being pressed off into French Burgundy oak barrels (25% new). After aging in barrels for 26 months, the wine was egg white fined, rough filtered and bottled on November 30th 2015.
Enjoy with grilled steaks, pasta with forest mushroom sauce and lamb chops with rosemary sauce.
Our 2015 Sesso is an equal blend of Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, and Tocai Friulano that was harvested between September 11 to September 19. After crushing and pressing the juice was cold settled then racked into French Burgundy oak barrels for fementation and sur-lie aging. without malo-lactic fermentation. The wine was bottled on September 14, 2016. Enjoy with grilled swordfish steaks covered with fresh fruit salsa, or with shellfish pasta, such as clams, mussels, and scallops with a light white wine cream sauce.
2015 PRIMO BIANCO – Double Gold medal at 2016 Mendocino Wine Competition!
These grapes were harvested at an average 23.5 degrees brix through the months of September and October, 2015, sourced from vineyards in the benchlands and the valleys of Ukiah Valley, Redwood Valley, and Potter Valley, all overlooking the pristine Russian River. Many of these vines are as old as 40 years. The grapes were crushed, pressed, cold settled and then racked into neutral French Burgundy oak barrels. All of the lots were 100% barrel-fermented and “surlie” aged for 7 months with no malolactic fermentation. The wine was bottled April 10th 2016.
Excellent as an apperitivo on a sunny afternoon with friends or when paired with roasted game hens, scallops, grilled sea bass and chicken braised in white wine.
2014 NUBE BIANCO
In 2004 when we purchased an old tree farm in Potter Valley, which is at the headwaters of our beloved Russian River, we had a good idea that it was going to be a great place to grow many white grape varieties, especially Italian. With its high altitude, short season, rich soils, warm days and very cool nights Potter Valley produces grapes with low PH’s, high tartaric acids and an abundance of fruity aromas and flavors.
100% of this wine comes from our Nube Bianco Vineyard. This vineyard is located on the eastern side of Potter Valley on a slight bench above the Russian River, about a quarter of the way into the valley. This eastern fork, along with its western fork that, runs through Redwood Valley, represent the headwaters of the legendary Russian River. Here the river is at its best and purest form.
Altitudes in these two valleys run between 1200ft to 800 ft. elevation. We planted this vineyard with mostly white grape varieties. The main plantings here represent Arneis, Moscato Bianco, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Tocai Friulano.
All of the grapes were grown in the Fox Mountain Vineyards owned by Lowell Stone, which is located in the foothills of the Ukiah Valley. These were the first and the only Montepulciano vines planted in America. Many of these vines are now 20 years old.
Hand-harvested at 25.6 brix on October 28th, 2013 these grapes were crushed and destemmed into small open-top stainless steel fermentors. After 4 days of a prefermentation cold-soak, the wine was fermented for 2 weeks while the cap was being pumped over and punched down twice daily. After ageing for 24 months in 100% French oak (of which 24% was new Vosges forest burgundy barrels) the wine was egg white fined and bottled on November 30th 2015.
The finished wine has a dark purple-garnet color with aromas and flavors of spicy dark fruits and blackberries. A complex bouquet of toasty oak, cedar and earth tones blend perfectly with the fruit forward aromas. Rich, full tannins and mouthwatering acidity produce a great food wine that is capable of ageing for a long period, which is unusual for this wonderful variety. Food Pairing: A perfect wine for wild game, roasted leg of lamb and stews infused with herbs and spices.
Negroamaro (meaning black bitter) is a red wine grape variety native to southern Italy. It is grown almost exclusively in Puglia and particularly in Salento , the peninsula which can be visualised as the “heel” of Italy. Our Negroamaro is grown by Gil Tournour in the Calpella Township of Mendocino County. This wine was aged for 24 months in 20% new French Burgundy oak barrels. Classic aromas and flavors of dark berry fruit and spiced notes of cloves, cinnamon and allspice, make this aperfect wine for wild game of meat lover’s pizza.
Our Primitivo is produced from grapes gown in the wetern benchland of the Calpella Township and the eastern foothills overlooking the Russian River above the Ukiah Township in Mendocino County. The wine was aged for over 24 months in 25% new French Burgundy oak barrels. Classi aromas and flavors of ripe berries, dried plums and earth, make this a perfect wine for wild game, roasted meats and hearty cheeses.
Vesuvius is a white wine blend produced from the native white Italian grape varieties that grow around that fabled volcano in the Campania region of southern Italy. The final blend for this wine is approximately 25% each Greco de Tufo, Fiano, Falangina, and Coda de Volpe. Aromas and flavors of ripe melons and white peaches makes this a perfect apperitivo or a perfect partner for grilled fish, roasted poultry and soft ripe cheeses.
100% of this wine comes from our Nube Bianco Vineyard. This vineyard is located on the eastern side of Potter Valley on a slight bench above the Russian River, about a quarter of the way into the valley. This eastern fork, along with its western fork that, runs through Redwood Valley, represent the headwaters of the legendary Russian River. Here the river is at its best and purest form. Altitudes in these two valleys run between 1200ft to 800 ft. elevation. We planted this vineyard with mostly white grape varieties.
2013 PEPPOLINO – Mendocino
Peppolino is a wine that offers the winemaker the opportunity and freedom to create a truly unique wine, which is the most expressive form of winemaking. Gently handcrafted from specially selected lots, this blend of three classic central and southern Italian varietals has come together to create a wine of great structure and elegance. In the Tuscan dialet, Peppolino is the word for the herb thyme.
This is a wine of great structure. Exotic aromas of violet, spices, and notes of black licorice weave throughout the vibrant blackberry fruit and tar character. Firm tannins and velvety middle culminate in a long lasting, harmonious finish that laced with toasty oak. This wine’s complexity and depth of flavor will continue to evolve with further bottle aging.
Enjoy with grilled steaks, pasta with forest mushroom sauce and lamb chops with rosemary sauce.
2014 Aglianico – estate grown
Aglianico (eye yah nick oh) is native to southern Italy in the provinces of Basilicata and Campania where it is known as the Barolo of southern Italy. Monte Volpe is one of a handful of producers of Aglianico in California. It is a very difficult variety to grow here because it buds out early so it is susceptible to Mendocino counties harsh frost season and it ripens very late so it is potentially ruined by our early rains in the autumn. 2014 was an excellent vintage for late maturing red varieties.
Our Aglianico vineyard is located above the Ukiah Valley on an eastern benchland and the soils are shallow and a mixture of large rocks and clay so the water penetrates right through the soil. This is our third vintage of varietal labeled Aglianico. These grapes were hand harvested at the end of October producing a wine that is dark purple-garnet in color with aromas and flavors of ripe boysenberry, smoky cherry, spicy wood and earth, with ripe, full tannins and a seamless balance that carries through to a long, lush finish.