Passalacqua Winery, Lavender Hill Primitivo
My notes say “TAKE THIS HOME” and I did. You should too. I’ll update this when I taste the purchase – I enjoyed this wine so much I just sipped and sipped and couldn’t write a thing.
What’s Primitivo? you may be asking. Zin. It’s Zinfandel. And in the Dry Creek area of Sonoma, it’s hella fantastic. Primitivo is one of those vines that makes its best wine grapes when it struggles a bit, and since it forms its fruit relatively early in the growing season, it benefits from the cooler, milder summer of the Dry Creek AVA. This allows winemakers to create juicier Primitivo wines with the blackberry, anise, and pepper notes the area is known for.
According to Passalacqua’s website, the Lavender Hill vineyard is a rocky hillside area surrounded by… you guessed it, hella lavender. I don’t know if it’s just the power of suggestion, but this wine has hints of dried lavender and herbs. I love when the flavor of wine (and okay, its name, too) inspires a mental image of the vineyard it came from.
We’re revisiting this guy with pizza tonight. It’s unusual for such a young wine to already show so much complexity, so there may be some evil magic going on here. In the glass, it’s dark ruby and full bodied. Robust nose after agitation featuring scents of under-ripe blackberry, herbs, and sour flowers. Fairly sweet not spicy at all. The mouthfeel is hella smooth, plum lingers on the front palate while a cinnamon and baking spice slowly engulf the back palate. The two merge for a warm, long, tannic blackberry and dry forest floor finish.98/100
The Hella 5 Star System
We have adopted the opinion that fine art, music, wine, cigars, and other comestibles are governed by a unifying principle, which is that the intention of the artist matters. Art can be judged by the patron only as it pertains to the emotive and inductive properties of that art. We think Winemakers and Torcedors are artists.
Here at Hella Wine, we cut our wine-rating teeth on the wildly popular wine app Vivino. Vivino has an integrated five-star system for rating wine, but no standardized rubric to go with it, so we had to define what the star ratings actually mean, and we did so in a very personal way. This system takes into account: price, aesthetics, situational variables, relationships, and any other completely biased information we can come up with. This makes our system predictably emotional, and ratings change from glass to glass, even possibly from the same bottle.
Without further ado, our 5 star rating system revealed
I wont drink/smoke this even if you buy it!
I would drink a glass of this or smoke 1 if you bought it, but I would not order this for myself.
I would buy a glass/one cigar and enjoy it.
I would buy a bottle/5pack of this and really enjoy it.
I'd buy a case/box of this because I just love it.
The Hella 50 to 100 System
We also will usually apply the commonly used 50-100 point scale to our ratings. This tasting format, familiar from the annals of the indelible Robert Parker and Wine Spectator Magazine, does not take price or my ability to afford the wine in question into account. The situation that the drink or cigar was tasted in does not matter. This scale only reflects the quality of the wine/cigar in relation to other wines/cigars we have tasted.
You may loosely infer from this rating:
96-100: A hella amazing wine/cigar of super bold complex character displaying the attributes we hella want to find in the best wines in the world. Wines like this are hella awesome.
90 - 95: An amazing wine/cigar with hella character. Wonderful stuff, we feel lucky to try these.
80 - 89: A hella good wine/cigar, no noticeable flaws but it's just good/okay.
70 - 79: Hella basic, not so memorable wine/cigar. It's good, but just missing that something that makes it hella good, or even special.
60 - 69: Something bad happened in this wine/cigars life. Maybe it got left in a car and cooked, or maybe it sucked to begin with. All we know is we hella don't really want to finish it. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team.
50 - 59: This wine/cigar hella sucks.