Purity 'Bittersweet' Amaro
Region: Nevada County < California
Grapes: Mourvedre + rose, bay, cedar berry, oregano, clove, ginger, orange, gentian root
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: organically farmed Mourvedre, 2018 vintage, infused with local, foraged herbs and roots
Winemaker: Noel Diaz
Purity Wines is the project of Noel Diaz, whose background is in the restaurant business. After nearly 20 years working in both the front and back of house, he gravitated towards the wine side and eventually became the wine buyer at the restaurant where he worked. Through connections from friends, he explored all sides of the wine industry and eventually settled on winemaking, which is great for us drinkers, as he is one of the most dedicated hands-off, full-transparency and gifted winemakers we know. He shares the full story of how each wine is made on the back label and broadcasts his mission statement on Purity’s website front page: “Crafted from grapes of uncompromising quality, with minimal intervention and great deference to soil, place, and vintage.”
This is Noel’s first foray into Amaro, traditionally a spirit-based digestivo infused with herbs from Italy, but here made from a base of Syrah wine. When we asked him about his inspiration for this magical elixir, he says: “I wanted to make something deep and complex, but not too much of anything. I wanted it to smell like a distinguished gentleman. I wanted it to hold me like a cashmere sweater, and I wanted it to stay with me like the memory of a lost friend.” Noel, always the sensitive poet, so sweet! But he nailed it - this amaro is warm, comforting and haunting. It’s also low enough ABV that you can slowly sip a small glass, neat or on the rocks, and it won’t knock you out like the higher-ABV spirit-based amari. The bitter herbs dominate and make you feel like you’re taking your medicine, kickstarting your digestive system into high gear. Wine has its place, with dinner -- this is what you need for sipping long into the cold, wintry night...