Viola Wine Cellars 2012 Alberta Rosso

A little bit of Italy, here in Oregon

Assagio. Portlanders remember it as a cozy neighborhood trattoria with a fantastic wine list. And no wonder, given the commitment to great wine that owner/chef Darryl Joannides brought to the task. His love of Italian food was matched only by his love of Italian wine.

Fast forward a few years: After putting Assagio in the rear view mirror, Darryl dedicated himself to wine. He interned at a Sonoma winery, and later, with celebrated Oregon winemaker Andrew Rich at the birth of the Carlton Winemakers Studio. After discovering the great diversity of Oregon wine, he opened the Cork Bottle Shop in northeast Portland.

But the winemaking bug had bit, and Darryl combined his two loves – Italy and Oregon.

Inspired by Italy, his latest venture – Viola Wine Cellars – is about wine crafted in the Italian style using Northwest ingredients. Starting with just four varietals, Viola is now up to fifteen, constantly experimenting to find the varietals that make great Oregon “Italians”!

But Viola isn’t about some fancy Italianate tasting room in wine country. All the wine is produced right in Northeast Portland, just around the corner from the Cork Bottle Shop.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Viola Wine Cellars, Portland, Oregon
2012 Alberta Rosso

Zinfandel. For many of us, the first time we heard the name, we were served a sugary, pink concoction that barely qualifies as wine.

In fact, Zinfandel is a robust red that many consider to be America’s “native” grape. But actually, it’s genetically similar to the Italian grape Primitivo, a varietal found in Apulia, the “boot heel” of the Italian peninsula. So, Zinfandel makes a perfect grape for Viola’s Italian winemaking style.

The Alberta Rosso is a blend of 94% Zinfandel and 6% Barbera. The Zinfandel provides a full-bodied and fruit-forward quality, and comes from Volcano Ridge Vineyard in The Dalles – the highest elevation site (about 1800’) where Zin grows in Oregon.

Alder Ridge Vineyard’s Barbera brightens up the palate and the finish. Together,they show off a range of fruit flavors from dark raspberry to baked blueberry pie and often show hints of cracked pepper, nutmeg and anise on the finish. Drink with pizza and burgers!

A Cellar 503 selection in March 2015, Urban Winemakers and Collectives Columbia Gorge | Zinfandel

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