For the last few weeks my wife, Ita, and I have been busy planting our new winery: Los Milics Estate Vineyard. At the end of a long day recently, we still had to clip Marsanne vine roots in preparation for the next day’s planting session. I started the process while my wife went to pick up one of our kiddos from school. I asked her to stop by Kent Callaghan’s winery in Elgin on her way back to pick up a couple of bottles – one of the perks of wine country living. To my surprise, Ita came to the barn with a bottle of sparkling.
“It’s my version of Col Fondo,” Callaghan responded to my inquisitive text. “Say what?” was my eloquent response.
OK, let’s back up. Most of you have had Cava or Prosecco. These are normally made in the Charmat method where the secondary fermentation – which makes the bubbles – is performed in pressurized tanks. Before the tanks were available, these bubbly libations only underwent one fermentation — in the bottle. The resulting wine made is a little cloudy, because it’s bottled with its lees, or the sediment, in the bottom of the bottle. This is where the name comes from: col fondo in Italian means “with the bottom.”
Callaghan’s version is made from 50 percent white grapes like Marsanne, Malvasia Bianca, Roussanne. The other half is from Grenache and Graciano. The result: savory and tropical aromas leap out of the glass and onto the palate. Due to the lees contact, it has a tactile quality that’s not as present in filtered wines. You can find the wine at Callaghan Vineyards, but if you don’t want to wait until your next trip “down valley,” pick up a bottle at ODV Wines in Tempe (odvwines.com). I assure you, it will mitigate the July heat.