Il Cuore (eel-quarry) is a winery dedicated to producing classic California wines: varietal offerings as well as traditional blends in a tribute to the Italian immigrants who first planted vines upon the North Coast of California during the nineteenth century. The name Il Cuore, which means “heart”in Italian, serves as a reminder that the very survival of these immigrant pioneers depended upon a stout heart, hard work, and love of the land. Under winemaker Dennis Patton, Il Cuore captures the devotion of Mendocino’s winemaking forbearers.
Il Cuore began making wine in Mendocino in 1989 with the release of a tiny amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, Il Cuore crafts a variety of award winning wines, including Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Rosso Classico – the winery’s most celebrated offering. Rosso Classico is a unique blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Carignane, and Merlot. All of Il Cuore’s wines are made in an expressive, natural style with only modest oak barrel ageing to preserve the fresh character of Mendocino fruit.
The original artwork for Il Cuore was created by Dan Rizzie, whose bold cubistic works appear in the permanent collections of both the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Some Thoughts on California Wines
When California winemakers recall their roots and fashion wines reminiscent of yesteryear, the results are more often than not remarkable. In the Post-Varietal Age, more and more California wineries are returning to the past. These wineries and their erudite artisans are honoring their oenological forbearers by crafting wines not unlike their ancestors did several generations ago. They are making full, fleshy, in your face kinds of wines with a myriad of flavors and plenty of panache from a multitude of grape varieties and field blends. No more is varietal bottling the magic bullet or the sole mark of quality on a label of California wine.
Many of California’s proprietary wines and authentic field blends (wines made from numerous grape varieties that are grown together in a vineyard and fermented together, rather than separately) have always offered the consumer quality and value, at various price points. Unfortunately, the Varietal Age that took root in the late 1960s nearly put an end to traditional California blends, the best of which relied heavily upon Mediterranean varietals such as Alicante Bouschet, Barbera, Carignane, Charbono, Grenache, Mataro (Mourvèdre), Sangiovese, and Zinfandel, among others. Fortunately, the trend towards strict varietal bottling (utilizing one grape only) has reversed and winemakers and consumers alike are abandoning their parochial attitude towards blended wines. Perhaps, this generation no longer remembers some of the less glorious renditions of California Chablis and Burgundy that sparked varietal bottling or they can differentiate between mass produced blends of inferior quality and the real deal? For those whose snob appeal does not rely upon a varietal name, they will have a field day exploring traditional California blends such as Il Cuore’s Rosso Classico.