There was once a time when the idea of growing Italian varieties on Old Mission Peninsula seemed outlandish. The 2019 Bel Tramonto is a testament to the determination and imagination required to make a Northern Michigan Italian blend a reality. Bel Tramonto translates to beautiful sunset in Italian, representing the marriage of bright red Sangiovese against the darker hued Merlot. 2019 was a challengingly cool vintage and as a result Winemaker Sean O’Keefe used a higher percentage of Italian grapes from our hoop houses. Treating each year individually, Sean chose to blend in supporting Nebbiolo and Refosco to achieve an elegant balance representative of both our Italian heritage and of our home in Northern Michigan.
Underscoring what we love most about our Italian reds, Bel Tramonto expresses a beautiful combination of bright cherries and berries, silky smooth tannins, and a distinctive acidity typical of Sangiovese. Light earthiness and soft oak balance the fruit with hints of vanilla on the finish. The 2019 vintage features a softer, lighter expression of our Italian grapes.
The Merlot was fermented in a red wine stainless steel tank while the Italian varieties fermented separately in open top bins. The Merlot was pressed on November 1st and went into a combination of older and newer barriques. The Italian varieties were pressed November 21st and put in neutral oak barriques. All varieties went through malolactic fermentation with no racking, aging for one year and ten months before blending on September 3rd 2021.
Bel Tramonto’s acidity and tannins make it a wonderful food pairing option. Red sauces are a classic Chianti pairing as the sweetness of tomatoes works with the dryness of the wine. Try pizza with fennel sausage or mushroom, pasta with marinara and wild game, or highlight the fruity essence of the Sangiovese against a roasted chicken provençal.
Ready to enjoy now (September 2021) with recommended decanting. The combination of acid and tannins means this wine is perfect for aging. We expect it will drink best starting 2022 and will age through at least 2030.