The second day of
April 2013 began
much differently than the first. Rather than the twists and turns of a mountain
road, we rolled into a Napa
industrial park to taste the wines of Buccella before heading up the valley.
Each visit very different from the last.
|Jon contemplating a non-sequitur|
Founded in 2002, Buccella highlights the sleek and luxurious side of
. Its wines blend fruit from vineyards
in the southerly AVA’s, highlighting the cooler Yountville and Coombsville
regions. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, these are in barrel for 20 months in new
French oak. The winemaker is Rebekah Wineburg, with consulting by Celia Welch.
We tasted the three 2010 releases with Rebekah – all noteworthy for their
overall boldness and richness, and underscored by a velvety feel of pure luxury on the palate. Napa Valley
|Justin & Jon with Rebekah Wineburg in the winery at Buccella|
The 2010 Buccella Merlot, Napa Valley comes primarily from Hyde Vineyard fruit and includes 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. The notes were leathery-floral black cherry, adding a mélange of spice, coffee and tea depth on the palate. This was remarkably silky and seamlessly layered with polished tannins, along with beautiful weight, feel, and depth. The 2010 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley is 86% Cab with the balance a blend of the remaining
varietals. This showed similarly seamless layers of polish and bold elegance,
adding in more densely packed savory notes of graphite, vanilla bean, roasted
espresso, and black olive – along with red currant and cherry fruit – a strikingly
beautiful young wine. Last, the 2010
Buccella Cuvée Katrina Eileen is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon with a bigger
denser structure set apart by mineral, floral and darker fruit notes, on top of
cedar and savory spice notes. A little bigger and broader tannins on this wine,
along with consistent elegance and polish. The wines of Buccella are unmistakably
modern and decadent, while showing great elegance and beauty.
|At Rutherford Grove Winery (photo by Justin)|
Rutherford Grove lies along the busy Highway 29 corridor heading up into
St. Helena. The winery and its
ownership, the Pestoni family, have a long history in .
It’s an interesting place, in that judging by the looks of its facility and
packaging I might have thought the production was much larger and more widely distributed
than it is - it has the look of a bigger brand. In reality it’s only about a
5000 case production, spread across several bottlings and sold primarily out of
the tasting room. All of the wines are estate-grown, coming from 60 acres of
vineyards spread through the Rutherford, St. Helena, Napa Valley Howell
Mountain, and ’s. Interestingly,
there’s also a huge Pestoni-owned composting facility behind the winery. Lake County
|At Rutherford Grove|
The lineup of wines ranged from Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah – then on to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. My highlights included the 2011 Rutherford Grove Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, Rutherford - from the Musque clone, showing a grassy kiwi profile with nice and bright mineral/slate high tones. The 2008 Rutherford Grove Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Rutherford showed nice cedar and earth notes throughout with savory dark fruit draped in tobacco leaf and leathery depth on the palate, along with nice supple tannins- really good as a young drinking Rutherford Cab with nice flavors, balance & depth, and a good price. I also really liked the 2007 Rutherford Grove Petite Sirah Spring Creek Vineyard, Napa Valley, St. Helena for its big wild dark fruit and integrated savory depth, along a large structure- very nice.
Tucked away in the
district near Calistoga, Von Strasser Winery was founded in 1990. In 1985 Rudy
Von Strasser became the first American to intern at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild,
moving on to stints at Trefethen and Diamond Mountain Newton
prior to launching Von Strasser. The winery is located on a historic winery
property, part of which was parceled off to become the Diamond Creek vineyards.
Von Strasser ended up modernizing the facility and digging caves into the
|At Von Strasser, Diamond Mountain|
The Von Strasser wines are primarily single vineyard Diamond Mountain Cabernet. Stylistically these bridged a gap between the brawny fruit and firm structure you might find on
, and the rich polished
wines of the valley floor. Throughout the lineup I really liked the dynamic of
elegant and subtle flavors with rich fruit over deceptively powerful
structures. We tasted four single vineyard wines from the 2009 vintage – all of
which I thought were outstanding. Spring
Choosing a top 2- the 2009 Von Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon Post Vineyard, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain showed aromas of vanilla, clove, blackcurrant and red-floral with a complex palate – mineral, juicy cherry, violet, with subtle savory depth – well-integrated with fine polished tannins and a big juicy finish. The 2009 Von Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon Sori Bricco Vineyard, Napa Valley ,Diamond Mountain showed nice lightly sweet aromas of vanilla, anise, spice, cassis and butterscotch. The palate was richly opulent, yet elegant, with notes of blackcurrant, mineral, floral, subtle spice and earthy depth. It finished big with silky-firm tannins. Luxurious and layered- excellent.
|View of Kronos Vineyard|
Last stop was a refresher visit to Corison Winery. I visited Corison in July 2012 and tasted a very nice assortment of Cathy Corison’s
and Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons (new and library releases). This time
around I wanted to show my travel companions the wines, so we visited and
tasted through a similarly special lineup. Click the link for my 2012 comments
on visiting the winery. Napa Valley
|"Fly is Open!"- Thanks to tasting room staff at Corison!|
Stay tuned for thoughts on the rest of the April 2013 trip. We spent the rest of the weekend in
Sonoma and . Click here for a full list of
tasting notes on Buccella, Rutherford Grove, Von Strasser and Corison. Mendocino Counties