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by Brooks Painter, Director of Winemaking
The creation of V. Sattui’s Reserve wines begins in the vineyard. Our best Napa vineyards produce the highest quality grapes, which in turn make wines with more depth of flavor, more complexity and better potential for long-term aging.
To make our Reserve wines, we first identify vineyards or areas of vineyards where the quality potential is highest and then segregate that section. These may be older vines, where production-per-vine tends to decline; in low-yielding vines, every grape receives more energy and nutrients from the vine, resulting in deeper and more- concentrated flavors.
Or this may be a particular clone, rootstock, soil condition or sun exposure that promises higher quality in the grapes. Growing conditions, such as local soil characteristics or better clones, can create complexity, intense flavor and texture, and ultimately, more interesting wines.
We also adjust the crop using a technique called “green harvesting,” where we selectively remove clusters and keep only those clusters that have the right size, shape, sunlight exposure and color to create a more uniformly mature crop.
Again, this translates to a lower total yield per acre, leaving only the best grapes on the vine. While the extra work means higher labor cost for each bottle of wine that is produced, the result can be dramatic and rewarding.
In the winery we strive to give these lots the best of the best treatment; that is, hand-sorting the grapes, the best tanks, specialty yeasts and the best French oak barrels (often 100% new for the vintage.)
At the end of the day, the wine in the bottle is a testament to these careful and deliberate winemaking practices, and the wine is exceptional and enjoyable to the very last drop.