We had never heard of Kalpela winery until last year, but that didn't make one bit of difference when we tasted the wine. As we're reading the info on Kalpela, one name leapt off the page like a rocket, Greg Graziano. We have been a fan of Greg's wines for over 40 years. While Parducci and Fetzer were the big guns in Mendocino, Greg just kept making great wines year after year. He still is.
Greg's father emigrated from Piedmont to Mendocino over 100 years ago and did the first thing that came to him. He planted a vineyard, just like his family had done in Italy. Greg's daughter, Alexandra, becomes the 4th generation to carry the torch and the first woman winemaker. No matter what varietal Greg touched, he made it better. The only exception was Zinfandel, which he made even better. They were, and obviously still are extraordinary. His Zins were legendary and we are more than excited to see that he is still making them.
Kalpela is the local town named after a Native American chief. Except in Mendocino it is spelled Calpela. Greg decided to go with the correct spelling. It shows his attention to detail and the details of this selection are worth showing. The grapes come from four different vineyards. Each of them were 40+ years old. The wine was aged in French and American oak for 36 months. It doesn't get any better. From the dark, intense color through the deep aromas of blackberry and strawberry and incredible flavors, it pleases at every turn. Only smoked ribs or brisket will do.