Vintage Eve Circa 12/2015: Nicely Done Vino Noceto

In looking over the Vino Noceto website to prepare my brain’s palate, so to speak, I learned that other than running a recent press release about the winery adopting a new 3 liter refillable bottle dispenser, and that they’ve participated in Family Winemaker events, I don’t think I had ever tasted their “world class Sangiovese.” Nice to have an opportunity to rectify that!

Suzy and Jim of Noceto.

Information about Sangiovese for the Wine 101er from Wine Enthusiast’s Monica Larner: In bad years, vintners vehemently dismiss it as una brutta bestia (“an ugly beast”). In good years, it is elevated to the enological equivalent of sainthood. One thing is clear: Sangiovese is the defining grape of Italy. Thickly skinned on the outside but delicate inside, slow to mature but hard to tame, tightly rooted in tradition but willing to travel, this ubiquitous grape variety is the leading protagonist of the ongoing drama known as vino Italiano…(more)

Tasting, aromas and flavors separated by ;

2012 Noceto Sangiovese, Amador County, 14.1% alcohol (SRP $18.00) – Blackberry, plum, raspberry, wet bark, wet leaves, black peppercorns; bright tart red fruit to start but dark fruit on the mid-palate, peppery, very dry, medium finish. Wanted food with this one. 89 Eve pts.

2011 Noceto Sangiovese, Amador County, 13% alcohol (SRP $18.00) – Pungent plums, plum jam, milk chocolate, coffee, black olive, cracked green pepper; surprising bright developed fruit delivered in a lovely mouthfeel, dark red cherry, good balance, short finish. Thinking this needs a bit of aeration to see what else develops. 88 Eve pts. 

2010 Noceto Sangiovese, Amador County, 14.1% alcohol (SRP $18.00) – Dark fruit dusted in cinnamon, cocoa, walnut, spicy enough to tickle the nose, reminds me of hot chocolate but, you know, not heated; balanced red to dark fruit again, dusty, some tang, nice pepper and spice on the long finish. Didn’t need food or aeration. 90 Eve pts.

NV Rosso Tuscan Style Red Blend, Amador County, 13.8% alcohol (SRP $18.00) – Diced black cherries, blackberry brandy, earth after a rainstorm; wholly appealing with dark juicy fruit, some tobacco, just enough pepper and spice to linger in for a medium finish. This one doesn’t need food or aeration either. 91 Eve pts.

Tasting Room Info

Vino Noceto Winery
11011 Shenandoah Road
Plymouth, CA 95669

Phone: 209-245-6556, Toll-Free: 877-4NOCETO, email: Tasting Room Hours: Monday – Friday 11am-4pm, Saturday & Sunday 11am-5pm

The Press

Nearly two decades after bandwagoners gave up on California’s Cal-Ital movement, are we now seeing a re-appreciation of Italian grape varieties that offer something new and unique to the ever-diminishing scope of California wine. It should come as no surprise then, that among those achieving the highest quality in Italian varietal wines, are the producers who never abandoned them.

Flying in the face of naysayers, Jim and Suzy Gullet are among the elite few who spent the last twenty years experimenting in both the vineyard and cellar to create beautiful expressions of Sangiovese. Their compelling range of styles is the result of their dedication to these varieties and their passion for Italian wine and culture. Displaying an unwavering commitment to these grapes, the quality of their wines has hushed the non-believers, and redefined what well-made Sangiovese can achieve in California.

Drawing inspiration from Tuscany, the Noceto Sangiovese and Vino Noceto’s new red blend, Rosso, derive their unique personalities from the use of five distinct clones of Sangiovese. The presence of these clones grants longtime winemaker Rusty Folena a degree of creative freedom, allowing him to selectively blend multiple variations of Sangiovese to create a harmonious expression of the grape.

In addition to their flagship Sangiovese, Vino Noceto produces four estate block bottlings that highlight the diversity of the Sangiovese clones, a Riserva Sangiovese, a bold new Tuscan-style red blend, Rosso, and AX-1, a super-premium Brunello-style Sangiovese.

So while Italian grape varieties may be experiencing a renaissance in California, for many, Cal-Ital was more than just the latest trend in winemaking. For many, Cal-Ital never died.

Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years.  She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via