California toasts Bargetto's La Vita: Historic winery wins double gold for its blended Italian wine
By DONNA JONES Posted: 06/27/2011 04:24:04 PM PDT
| John Bargetto holds up a bottle of his blended Italian wine that won double... (Dan Coyro/Sentinel)
| John Bargetto displays his family's Italian blended wine that won double... (Dan Coyro/Sentinel)
SOQUEL - La Vita means life in Italian. At Bargetto Winery, it means gold,
Make that a double gold awarded to the historic winery's 2006 La Vita at the this year's California State Fair."I don't want to be braggadocio," said John Bargetto, director of winemaking. "It's just exciting."
It's not the first time Bargetto has taken top honors at the state fair. Its pinot noir was judged best last year, and its merlot was tops in 2009.
But Bargetto considers La Vita to be the winery's finest and most unique wine, and a double gold means it won high marks from all the judges for a total score of 98 points out of 100. "It's a major award," Bargetto said. "The California State Fair is the most significant wine competition in the country."
And La Vita is Bargetto's baby. Back in 1995, he wanted to produce a unique wine - a tough task in business with global reach - so he decided to plant a trio of grapes from the northern region of Italy, specifically Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and Refosco. The grapes, along with pinot grigio, are grown on 5.5 acres of the winery's 40-acre Regan Estate Vineyards in Corralitos.
Bargetto harvested grapes from the three varieties in 1997, and released the first bottles of the blended varietals in 2001. The hand-crafted wine is aged for more than two years in oak barrels and then for another year in heavy glass bottles Bargetto buys from Italy at a cost $2 each. Each vintage showcases a work of art on its label. The winning 2006 La Vita features "The Grape Harvest" by Spanish painter Francisco Jose de Goya. This year's label depicts a rendering of an Egyptian tomb painting, circa 1400 BC.
La Vita sells for $60 a bottle, with part of the proceeds donated to charity. This year's beneficiary is the YMCA of Watsonville. The 2007 harvest yielded 4,320 bottles. Half the vintage was pre-sold at the time of its release in May,
Bargettos have been making wine in California for more than a century. John Bargetto's grandfather John and his brother Phillip, immigrants from Castelnuovo in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, established the original family winery in San Francisco in 1910, and moved production to Soquel in 1917.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Tasting and sales
WHEN: Noon-5 p.m. daily; tours by appointment
WHERE: 3535 N. Main St., Soquel
DETAILS: www.bargetto.com or 475-2258