Tenuta Olim Bauda Grignolino d'Asti 2014
Wine: Tenuta Olim Bauda 'Isolavilla'
Region: Asti, Piedmonte
Grignolino [gree-n'yoh-LEE-no] isn't a grape we see very often, no doubt because it's an ancient variety that has become nearly extinct. It produces a very pale red wine, as you can see here, the base of the glass visible almost as if it were holding water not wine. It's planted mainly and almost exclusively in northwest Italy's Piedmonte, region. It can be a problematic grape to grow, susceptible to various fungal afflictions known to wine grapes, like powdery mildew and bunch rot. It has also an unusually high ratio of pips to berry, with 3 to 4 times as many seeds as most other varieties. To make a wine as soft and feminine as this one, the Bauda family takes extra care to gently press the grapes before fermentation, avoiding excess tannin extraction from the pips.
The fourth generation of Baudas are now running the estate, with brothers Dino and Gianni, and their sister, Dina. They practice sustainable viticulture that falls in line more closely with organic practices than the umbrella term often dictates, as they have banned all chemicals in the vineyard except when absolutely dire, and even those are of the less offensive kind. All fruit is hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks. Barbera appears to be their prized bottling, but I'm a huge fan of the grignolino and it's light hue, high acid and earthy character, and sheer authenticity. It's not trying to be anything other than exactly what it is. Bravo.
The Tenuta Olim Bauda 'Isolavilla' Grignolino 2014 shows dried cherry and fine ground pepper, iron and earth aromas followed by more mineral and pepper and soil on the palate. The tannins are present but so well integrated, so light, that you almost feel as if you're drinking a rosé. In fact, a little chill on this beauty enhances her poise.
All the better that I picked this up at Bacchanal in the Bywater here in New Orleans. It's a restaurant experience like no other, with an unparalleled upbeat vibe that evokes time and again that sincerest of compliments, from revelers both virgins and veterans alike, "It's magical!" Indeed it is. It's pretty damn magical to work there, too, and I am beyond excited to have recently become a member of the Wine Room team. If you haven't been, hurry down, then relax, take it easy and drink in the goodness.