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by Fred McMillin
for March 4, 1998
A Sip of the 1600s
1638 A.D.—In the U.S.A., the first printing press in North America was being assembled at Cambridge, Mass. Domestic honey bees are being introduced, only to escape and establish wild colonies; American Indians call them "white man's flies." Over in Tuscany, Italians are shipping to England a rich wine made from the Aleatico Nero grape.
...William Younger, et. al.
The venerable Aleatico red grape is sometimes thought to be a red mutation of Moscato Bianco, so widely planted in Italy. It is capable of making really fine wine.
...J.R., "Vines, Grapes and Wines"
My last set of California grape acreage statistics include Aleatico; it is ZERO. However, I did find some for the 17th century phase of my wine history course. Charles Mitchell of the Sierra Foothills decribes it as "a rare varietal from Italy, related to the Muscat family. Being a light red, it is Italy's answer to the White Zinfandel." So, for only $6 you can get a sip of the 1600s.
Arogonaut Winery (Charles Mitchell)
Somerset, El Dorado County, CA
The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER correctly described Charles Mitchell's wines as "fashioned according to his palate, which obviously appreciates intense fruit flavors."
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