4711 34th Street, Normal Heights
Since the state is shaped like a mitten, Michiganders often hold up their left hand so that they can point to where they’re from. Italians are generally too proud to point to a thigh-high boot, but if they did, the Castel del Monte AOC would be somewhere just above the ankle in hot, sunny Puglia. Generally, Puglia is known for assertive, drinkable, straightforward red wines. This 2010 Rupicolo breaks the mold a bit. For starters, it’s made from grapes more at home in central Italy.
A Tuscan wine from Puglia? Perhaps that’s a bit reductive.
A subtle whiff of spicy anise and black cherry lingers on the nose like faint July memories of Scandinavian Christmases past. On the whole, it’s extremely smooth, with a fair balance between acidity and astringency, no vicious alcoholic components, and a chalky finish that’s not bold enough to be earthy but leaves the impression of cold rain falling on a hot stone just before a thunderstorm. That goes well with the sensation of overripe cherries (in a good way), as if the fruit had been neglected, allowed to fall from the trees, and collected only at the last possible second before the birds and animals got to it.
Worldwide, the per bottle retail price of Rivera’s 2010 Rupicolo is on the ascent. Proprietor’s price of $28 for the 2011 is on the high side, but bottle aging has been good to it, and this wine is at its best or getting better right now. Sales to go receive a discount, but even so the in-store price is fair for an intriguing wine.
Proprietor’s has a full menu, and an order of their corned beef tacos would be just the thing to pair up with an oddball wine like this. Don’t shirk engaging a little friendly conversation with your neighbors in the intimate space, which seats only 20.