If you LOVE cantaloupes, Mendota California has you covered in spades, since it is the center capital of the world for these melons. I can guarantee none of you has heard of Mendota, where this wine was produced. I wish I could tell you this wine is made from cantaloupes too, as that wouldn’t be too extreme because the United States is notorious for making wine from fruits. We can thank Prohibition for that. Likewise, it doesn’t taste anything related to melons or the grape it’s made from.
Mendota is within the better known Fresno County. It’s quite unromantically recognized for wine, after all the city of Mendota has its origins in the railroad industry. Fun Fact, In 1891, Mendota thrived as a Southern Pacific Railroad storage. Whatever had compelled Italian immigrant Carlo Cardella to settle in this Dust Bowl to make the same wines he drank in Tuscany, is a mystery to me.
Today, The brilliance behind the family-owned vineyards comes a couple of generations later with the father-son team, Rod and Nathan Cardella. 2004 really marked the point when Cardella Winery made a significant marketable name for themselves from the efforts of Rod and Nathan.
For me, it’s hard for me to see what’s so Italian about the legacy this duo is honoring from their Italian roots and their great grandfather. Are they French and Italian? This wine is a Syrah, a French grape varietal from Northern Rhone. They also grow Burgundy, Loire Valley, and Bordeaux grapes, all French. We finally come to The Italian grapes they DO grow, but damn they are not from Tuscany. They make wine from Puglia Primitivo, Piemonte Barbera, Alto Adige Pinot Grigio, and Asti Moscato; the ONLY genuine Tuscan wine is from SANGIOVESE! Nono “grandfather “ would turn over in his grave.
I suppose, If you are growing grapes in this heat drenched part of California, irrigate the shit out of your vineyards and make wine you can easily sell, who’s arguing. Are these guys looking to be the next E. &. J. Gallo Winery? I won’t go to that extreme. This one has girth and comes out punching like Rocky Graziano! It’s so dark that you can’t see Syrah. The Jam on the nose makes you want to break out its partners, white bread and Peanut Butter (Extra crunchy please). Your nose will get a big whiff of sweet baking spices and toasty oak-like being in an open campfire roasting smores. On the palate, I get a mouthful, ( well as a lady I won’t get too colorful for our audiences), but it does get overwhelming. It’s fat, long, unctuous, and juicy. Swallow it now, as this is a 2012 vintage and you’ll never again taste the likes of it.
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