16 Aug Please The Palate Wine of the Week: La Mesa 2019 Primitivo Estate Reserve, Amador County
La Mesa means “the table” in Spanish. It is around the table that you sit with friends and enjoy wine and food. And that was the inspiration behind the name of La Mesa Vineyard in Amador County. So this week, on my table, I enjoyed a bottle of La Mesa 2019 Primitivo Estate Reserve from Amador County, the Please The Palate wine of the week.
About La Mesa Winery
The Sierra Foothills are located east of Sacramento and run from Lake Oroville in the north to Mono Lake in the south. Within the Sierra Foothills, there are numerous sub-appellations, including Yuba County, El Dorado, Placerville, Calaveras County, and Fiddletown. But the crown jewel of the Sierra Foothills is Amador County and the Shenandoah Valley. It is here in Amador County that La Mesa Winery can be found.
La Mesa Vineyard was started by Côme Laguë. Côme, who is originally from Quebec, worked in the tech industry. Living in the Bay Area, he and his family were looking for a vacation home that was close to skiing and boating. He never intended to buy a vineyard property. On one trip to Tahoe, he and his family stopped in Amador. Not only was it near boating, skiing, and horseback riding but there were also wineries. He loved this undiscovered place and found a 25-acre property that was originally a homestead and walnut farm. The property still has three acres of legacy walnut trees that are 75 years old.
When Côme purchased the property, there were five acres of Primitivo already planted. He purchased the property in 2011 and made his first wine, a Primitivo, in 2012. He was a hobby winemaker, making wine on his sloped driveway. In 2013, he traded some Primitivo for some Barbera from a neighbor. He entered the finished wine into a competition. It was his second vintage and the wine won “best in show”. From there, Côme took classes, learned from mentors, and in 2019 brought on a winemaker, opened a full production facility, and opened a tasting room. In addition, Côme has planted six more acres of vines in a former green field. He has Italian and Rhone varieties and makes small batches of 20 different wines.
Primitivo is a dark-skinned grape known for producing inky, tannic wines that originates from Puglia, Italy. It shares the same DNA as Zinfandel but produces grape clusters that are less compacted and it ripens more evenly. The Primitivo from La Mesa comes from the oldest vines on the estate which sit at approximately 2000 feet above sea level in a combination of granite and volcanic soils on a steep slope of a vineyard.
The La Mesa 2019 Primitivo has aromas of dried cherries, plum, and licorice. It has soft tannins is medium bodied with good acidity. There is no oak added to this wine. The result is a pure expression of the fruit and the terroir.
As this wine has pure fruit flavors, good acidity, and is not overpowering, it can pair with a range of dishes, from steak and chicken to fish and even a vegetable dish. I enjoyed a glass with a simple pasta dish with zucchini and feta cheese.
Where To Purchase
The 2019 La Mesa Primitivo from Amador County retails for $34 and is available directly from La Mesa Vineyards.