Meet Jason Moravec: Another Set of Inspired Hands Helping Craft V. Sattui Wines

We’ve added a new key player to our V. Sattui team this year.  Assistant Winemaker Jason Moravec joined our V. Sattui Family in July, and we are thrilled to have a passionate winemaker who literally grew up in a local vineyard.  Jason’s family lived on a farm on the Sonoma side of the Los Carneros appellation where they grew 10 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.  From an early age Jason has been working and learning the industry from the ground up!

Q:  How was your first harvest with V. Sattui?
A:  My first harvest with V. Sattui was fast and furious! My first day on the job was just a few months before the beginning of harvest and we still had months of bottling to finish.  I hit the ground running and took the reins on bottling our 2013 red wines.  At the same time we prepped the winery for an early harvest. The 2015 vintage was a true test of how quickly I could adapt and it went amazingly. Due to the drought and other factors during bloom, 2015 will be low yielding but exceptional quality year. I can’t wait to get crafting and shaping these wines through the blending process.

Q:  You grew up helping your parents grow grapes.  When did you know you wanted to be a winemaker?  
A:  I knew I wanted to work in the industry when I was 10 years old. I saw how it brought my family together on our vineyard ranch in Sonoma. But it wasn’t until I was 16, when I started working in the tasting room at Gloria Ferrer Winery as a bus boy, that I really knew what I wanted to do. I found that the winemaker, Bob Iantosca, was this critical focal point that pulled all sides of the wine industry together. I saw that the winemaker gets to be all over the place– in the lab, in the vineyard, in the cellar, and even in the sales market. And I wanted that. I couldn’t wait to discover the intricacies of every department and to make my own wines for everyone to enjoy. 

Q:  I love pulling into our parking lot in the morning and seeing your car parked next to Vittorio's Vineyard– plugged into an outlet we have there.  When did you start driving an electric car, and what does it say about you?
A:  We only have one world, and it’s our responsibility to protect it for future generations. Since I’m always seeking out new ways for our winery and vineyards to become more sustainable, it feels only natural to live life in the same way.  I started driving an all electric car in 2013, and love that I have already gone 40,000 miles on zero gas. 

Q:  Not to be depressing– but let's pretend it's your last day on Earth.   What are you drinking?  Eating with it?  And who are you with?
A:  That’s an interesting question for me because my birthday is December 21st, and a few years back it was thought that the world would come to an end on December 21st 2012. So I threw an end of the world birthday party and invited all my friends and family to join. I vividly remember by the end if the night my grandfather “Opa” was strumming his guitar and everyone was singing along with drink and food in hand. A roasted New Zealand lamb shank in one hand, and a glass of Mount Veeder Cabernet in the other was the icing on the cake of a wonderful experience with family and friends.

Q:  What is it like to work with Brooks Painter?
A:  He is a wealth of winemaking experience and knowledge, and has been a pleasure to with. I can only hope to continue my own career in the same way. 

Q:  I know you've only been at V. Sattui for a few months.  What are your first impressions?
A:  V. Sattui is a solid family of knowledgeable and inspirational people. I am very excited to be a part it.

Q:  What are you hoping to accomplish in the future at V. Sattui?
A:  I hope to bring some new flare to the wines and culture, while respecting the solid foundation and history that V. Sattui Winery has come to represent. 

 

Jason and his dog, Hans

Thanksgiving—At Least One Easy Decision is in the Box!

In just a few short weeks we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving, (sheesh- where does the time go?).  This can be such a difficult holiday.  Sharing a table with family members who know how to push our buttons with opposing political, religious, and opinionated views.  Doing your best to cook the turkey to perfection, while accommodating the vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, pro-paleo, and folks with nut allergies.  Even trying to decide what wine to serve can be daunting.  AND YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO NEED WINE!

V. Sattui to the rescue!  Our Thanksgiving Box is bundled with four wines that go perfectly with a traditional holiday meal.  These wines also offer a wide variety of flavors to please all of the palates at your table.  The V. Sattui Thanksgiving Box is available for $89, and is available in our Tasting Room or online, and shipped to your door.

At the very least, everyone at the table will find a wine that makes them happy.  Maybe you better get two boxes?

2014 Gamay Rouge
The beautiful cranberry color of this wine alone sets a festive atmosphere on the table!  Add the bright and fruity flavors of strawberry, tropical fruit, and cranberry and you have a great pairing for turkey, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes.  It’s also great with smoked salmon and cured meats, which you may have as appetizers to kick off your feast.  Gamay Rouge is a crowd-pleaser– both light, and festive!

2014 Sattui Family Chardonnay
Open this bottle and take in the beautiful aromas of vanilla, citrus, and green apples!  These fruity flavors follow through when you take a sip, followed by tart acidity and rich mouthfeel.  This lighter bodied chardonnay will make a great pairing with roast turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, and dressing doused with gravy!

2013 Sattui Family Pinot Noir
This newly released Pinot has enticing herbal and earthy aromas followed by ripe black cherry and pomegranate flavors.  It is a very versatile wine to pair with many different turkey preparations, stuffing recipes, and a spectrum of side dishes.  The gentle tannins also marry well with green vegetables such Brussels sprouts, leafy greens such as kale, chard or spinach, as well as the classic green bean casserole!

2011 Sattui Family Cabernet
A classic Napa Valley Cabernet you and your guests will give thanks for!  Our Sattui Family Cabernet is made in a soft, engaging style with earthy notes, sweet ginger, cocoa and hints of lilac.  Strong on flavor and light on tannins, this wine will pair well with your traditional Thanksgiving meal, plus longer-cooked meats like beef stews and pot roast.

Photo courtesy Tubay Yabut/GEV Magazine

V. Sattui Picnic Packs – Filled with Picnic Essentials and a Bright Future for Young Adults

If you’ve picnicked on our property most likely you’ve seen, and maybe even purchased, one of our Picnic Packs.  On the surface these Picnic Packs look like a useful convenience, especially for impromptu picnics.  But they’re so much more than that.

The people who put these Picnic Packs together for us are 18-22 year-old young adults with developmental disabilities.  They are part of the Napa Valley Unified School District’s Transitions Program.  They are amazing young people with varying disabilities who have graduated from High School, and are now learning life and job skills as they transition to a more independent chapter in their lives. This is a business partnership that was established 30 years ago, and it’s one we are very proud of.

 “We love seeing these kids come here each year and experience their enthusiasm and spirit,” says Tom Davies, President of V. Sattui Winery.  “They really light up when they see the picnic packs being used here at the winery.  The folks with the program say we do a lot of good for the students, but they do just as much good for us.”

“The students earn a paycheck for putting together the Picnic Packs,” says instructor Melodie Roche.  “Our program helps these kids learn to budget money and manage finances.  As they put the packs together, they are also learning to work as part of team and how to communicate with each other.”

Recently the class came to visit the winery, as they do each year, and we treat them to a picnic lunch and some winery souvenirs.  They learn more about V. Sattui and are able to see for themselves how the Picnic Packs are displayed and used by customers.  When V. Sattui President Tom Davies told them the Picnic Packs are so valuable to us they are “priceless”- the group cheered with glee and accomplishment.  Students say they really enjoy putting the packs together and listen to really good music as they do it.

So the next time you pick up a Picnic Pack in our deli, we just wanted you to know it’s packed with so much more than just picnic essentials.

New Boys & Girls Club in Calistoga Making Steady Progress to Reality

The children of the Boys and Girls Club of St. Helena and Calistoga with Dario Sattui and staff in 2013.

Just last week the Boys & Girls Club of St. Helena and Calistoga reached a significant milestone in its quest to build a permanent club facility in Calistoga.  Currently the organization has raised $9.01 million, with a final goal of raising $9.5 million in the next 9 months.  

This is a project near and dear to Dario Sattui’s heart.  He donated $1 million toward the project in 2013 on behalf of V. Sattui Winery and Castello di Amorosa.  In December of 2014 he pledged an additional $500,000.

“Calistoga really needs a place where young people can congregate, socialize, learn and to play sports in a healthy environment with positive role models,” said Sattui.

Draft concept of the permanent Boys & Girls Club to be built in Calistoga.

“Mr. Sattui’s vision and generosity were instrumental in starting our fundraising campaign,” says Club Executive Director Jay Templeton.  “His early donations were the rocket fuel that propelled more gifts to come forward.”

Templeton says the children of Calistoga really need this facility.  The Boys & Girls Club has been using Calistoga Elementary School as a home base since 2001 when they had a membership of just 50 kids.  Now they have 430 kids, and have completely outgrown the school.

Draft concept of the permanent Boys & Girls Club to be built in Calistoga.

The Boys & Girls Club has property for the facility secured, an architect on board, and will soon be hiring a general contractor to build the 14,000 square foot building.  They hope to break ground in June of 2016, and have the facility open for kids and the community by Labor Day of 2017.

 

2012 – A Vintage to Remember!

Sometimes in life, you just get lucky.  For V. Sattui Winery and many other Napa Valley wineries, 2012 is a truly exceptional vintage.

“We knew in early spring we were looking at a very good vintage,” says Brooks Painter, Head of Winemaking for V. Sattui Winery.  “As the season progressed, with phenomenal weather that allowed fruit to ripen evenly and completely, we realized that we were actually experiencing one of those ‘perfect’ vintages—long and cool, and with the best fruit we’ve seen in a long time.”

Wine writer Robert Parker agrees that both the 2012 and 2013 vintages from Napa Valley are special.  

“The biggest problem in Napa Valley (unlike Bordeaux or other areas where Cabernet Sauvignon is grown) is that Napa can have very damaging and stressful heat spikes well over 100 degrees F that can last from three days to as long as a week,” says Parker. “The negative results can cause grapes to raisin, threatening dehydration and inflicting stress on the delicate health of the vines. This never occurred in 2012 or in 2013. Grapes, much like people, mature and flourish under ideal conditions, and both vintages provided that.”

We have just released three of our five 2012 single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons.  In general, they are wines with well-structured tannins, rich concentration, and developed aromatics that define the vintage. Most of the fruit was picked at ideal ripeness before rain fell in late October, making coordination of the avalanche of grapes arriving in the winery one of the greatest challenges of the harvest.  It is a great vintage from both a growing and volume perspective; we had fantastic yields of some fantastic wines. This is truly a classic vintage.

2012 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine was named “Wine of the Year” – and “Best Cabernet” in the Monterey International Wine Competition earlier this year.

From Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online:  “V. Sattui's 2012 Mount Veeder Cabernet is a classic Napa Valley mountain red, a rich, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon with broad shoulders and impressive dimension. This vintage shows rich black fruits, chewy tannins and a generous dollop of oak that matches the heft of the wine. A panel of advanced and master sommeliers at the 7th annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition loved it and awarded it Platinum and a score of 94 points.”

2012 Preston Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
A Platinum Award winner and Best of Class Cabernet Sauvignon at the 2015 Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition. 

From Rich Cook, Wine Review Online:  “The juggernaut that is V. Sattui Winery continues to roll out spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard.  The nose is extremely deep and complex, with solid varietal character, firm tannic structure, lively acidity and a long finish that is currently emphasizing elegant red fruit and spice. This deserves five to ten years additional bottle aging to bring out all of its charms, though they are already many.”

 

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Vittorio's Vineyard
Platinum award winner at the 2015 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition

From Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online: “With soft, supple tannins and a juicy blackberry and blueberry core, this is a delightful Cabernet Sauvignon that can be enjoyed now while you wait for some of the more muscular Napa Valley Cabs from this outstanding vintage.

 

2012  Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
A Platinum Award winner at the 2015 Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition

From Rich Cook, Wine Review Online:  “A favorite vineyard source of mine, and thankfully, also a favorite of some great winemakers.  Brooks Painter and his crew always bring out all that Morisoli has to offer, and in this vintage it's lively raspberry fruit, joined perfectly by pie spice, mild dried herbs, cedar and cigar.  It's got a big structured backbone that begs further aging while providing great delight at present.  Decant, or go long?  You win either way. “

A Simple Recipe Straight from Italy- Steamed Halibut with Leeks

A few years ago, our “Ray of Sunshine” employee, Lynn Catania, had the chance to visit family in Sicily.  Lynn loves to cook and was hoping to learn some dishes from her native land.  It took four days (she was only staying with them six days!) for her Aunt to allow her into the kitchen.  But oh what a recipe they made!

“This dish was so simple, but it tastes like heaven,” says Lynn.  “The leeks melt in your mouth, and the fish is so tender.  I’ve also made it with scallops.”

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 Halibut fillets or steaks
(you may substitute another firm white fish like cod or swordfish.  See note below for using scallops.)
4 -6 leeks
1 shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups dry white wine
We suggest V. Sattui’s Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, or our Dry Riesling
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Method:
Season fish with salt and pepper.  Let set out at room temperature while you prepare the leeks.

In this recipe, you want to use the green part of the leeks.  Cut off the ends of the leeks, then slice through the point where white meets green.  Save the whites for another recipe.  Slice through the green portion of the leek lengthwise.  Clean the leeks under cold running water, as leeks are usually dirty. Once the leeks are free of any dirt or grit, cut each half into slices.

In a sauté pan large enough to hold the leeks in one layer (and a pan that has a lid), heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the leeks and cook for 1-2 minutes more, just to get them a little browned and let the oil get into the leeks.  Add the wine, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer- until leeks are semi-soft, about 15 minutes.  Nestle seasoned fish into the leeks.  Cover and cook until fish is firm, and leeks are soft, about another 15 minutes.

Before serving, drizzle a little more olive oil over the fish. Serve with polenta or risotto and a glass of the wine you used in the dish. Cheers!

Note:  If you choose to use scallops in this dish, brown them in a pan first, before nestling into the cooks.  Also, shorten the cooking time to 5-10 minutes, as scallops cook faster.

 

 

Lynn Catania- V. Sattui’s Ray of Sunshine

Lynn Catania is sunshine personified. Her sunny personality lights up our Cellar Club when she’s pouring wine for members, and it’s perfect for the outreach she does with our local hotels and B&B’s.   Her smile is infectious, especially after she’s hit you with a quick witted a one-liner, or bursts into song with her beautiful voice. 

Lynn is a Napa local and grew up working at her family’s restaurant, Catania’s Pizza, which was a favorite hangout for locals. This job fueled her passion for cooking, a hobby she still continues today.  She’s also a great floral designer and even owned her own flower shop at one time.

Q: When did you first start at V. Sattui?

A: “The first time, I was 18 years old. A friend got me a job working in the deli.  This was back in the day when we didn’t have an automatic vacuum sealer for the deli meats. It was all hand-done by wrapping the plastic really tight. My arms still ache when I think about it! I also worked in the cheese case and at the registers. 

About 18 years later, I worked in our Events Department helping with weddings and parties.  A few years ago I was working at Artesa Winery in the Tasting Room, and Tom (Davies, President of V. Sattui) called me one day and asked, ‘When do you want to come home?’ And that was it. Working here is like coming back to family.  It’s my home base.”

Q:  Now you work in our Cellar Club and get to see our best members daily. You also help out with our Wine of the Month Club

A:  “I love our members. I have so much fun down there!  People come from all over the world to see us. They just love V. Sattui Winery.  I have members that come in and want to have lunch with me, which I’m just too busy to do!  They plan a day just to come here, and don’t want to visit anywhere else. I get invitations to visit their homes.  They’ll say ‘If you’re ever in St Louis, or San Antonio, or Hawaii or wherever – you can stay with us.’  They bring me gifts too. I got a Lady Gaga toothbrush once!  V. Sattui isn’t just a Winery, it is a wonderful, extended family.”

Q:  Speaking of family, you recently got to visit family in Italy and learn to cook some of their dishes?
A:  Yes, I visited my Aunt in Sicily.  On the 4th day of the six that I stayed with her, she allowed me into the kitchen to help her cook.  This was a major accomplishment!

Q:  What is your favorite V. Sattui Wine?
A:  I’m very seasonal with my drinking. I like the Anderson Riesling in the summer. It’s not overly dry, but has these nice crisp, apple flavors. In the fall, I just love the Entanglement. I always tell people this is the wine I reach for when I hit a wall with Pinot. It’s a chameleon wine – it can be heavy and seductive or bright and acidic.  In the winter I really love our Morisoli or Mt Veeder Cabernets.

V. Sattui’s Henry Ranch- A Step Back in Time

Let us take you on a short, virtual journey to one of our favorite places.  V. Sattui’s Henry Ranch is located in the Los Carneros appellation at the southern end of Napa Valley.  It is the one appellation that is shared by both Sonoma and Napa counties.  

Henry Ranch is on the Napa side of the border and it is made up 528 acres that have seen their share of history, yet have remained relatively untouched by time.  When you’re there, you can close your eyes and almost hear the sounds of antique farm equipment powered by horses and humans.

Once home to Wappo Indians and then Spanish and Mexican settlers living on one of General Vallejo’s grants, the land was acquired by the Henry Family in 1850. It operated as a dairy ranch with an ingenious tram system of moving hay into the barn and taking milk out when Carneros Creek made road passage impossible during the winter months.

 

Dario Sattui purchased this property in 1993 from Herb Henry, one of the last living Henry family members, now in his late 80’s.  Dario remains friends with him today.

“He is eccentric, almost innocent and unspoiled and a throwback to a previous generation of people who worked the land.  He lived without a phone, without a TV, in a trailer and eventually in a culvert under the ground.  He never drove a car to my knowledge and did the farm work with primitive equipment.  I don’t know if he and his brother Ralph ever had a tractor on the farm.  He even spun thread from wool and tanned hides.”

A small portion of this land, 111 acres total, has been planted to grapes.  Henry Ranch’s cooling breezes from the San Pablo Bay and daytime heat on the lowlands and the hills that are part of the Mt. Veeder appellation, are the perfect mix for growing acclaimed Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscat Canelli, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Add in rolling grassy hills, old oak trees and slopes over 900 ft. with views of the Napa Valley to the north and San Francisco to the south—you see why Dario was attracted to this property.  But of course, so were many developers who wanted to build homes.  To keep this place intact, Dario had to buy out these developers’ options and place their escrows in his name. Since then, he’s placed 528 acres  of the property including historic buildings, Carneros Creek and tributaries to the creek in the Land Trust of Napa County.  Three quarters of this land will remain forever wild and undeveloped.

“It was and is such a beautiful valley I didn’t want to see it spoiled with homes.  I wanted to preserve it, so it will never be built upon.   We want to preserve the beauty for future generations.  We have also fixed up the historic barns attempting to preserve what was. We are only custodians who must preserve the historic and wild nature of the property to pass it on as we found it for those who come later.”

We do our very best to take care of Henry Ranch with sustainable vineyard practices.  We use cover-crops in the winter that attract beneficial insects that feed on harmful ones that can damage the vines. Cover-cropping also reduces soil erosion and, in the spring, we plow down the cover crop which acts as a natural fertilizer and returns valuable nitrogen to the soil. We compost our pomace (leftover skins and seeds after pressing) for a year, then use the composted material as nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer in the vineyard. To combat vertebrate pests such as birds and turkeys, we use an audio system in the vineyard with speakers that emit actual bird distress and predator calls which ward off pest birds. We’ve also continued our Fish Friendly Farming certification that protects harmful runoffs into creeks and streams and provides wildlife corridors between vineyard blocks.

At V. Sattui we believe the best grapes and the best wine comes from a land that is loved and cared for.  Our Henry Ranch is a shining example of that.

Recipe: Dungeness Crab Cakes

We are very fortunate to often have fresh Dungeness crab, that delicate, sweet and tender crustacean found along California’s western shores. In our Deli, we offer a little mayo and some wedges of lemon to go alongside; but we also particularly like them, slightly warmed, atop a lightly dressed mound of baby greens. These are 4-ounce crab cakes. Serve one as a first course; two as a main course.

Dungeness Crab Cakes

(Makes 8 four-ounce cakes)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup red bell pepper, small dice
½ cup yellow bell pepper, small dice
½ bunch scallions (green onions), green part only, cut ¼ inch

1 pound fresh Dungeness crabmeat
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups fresh focaccia crumbs
2 quarts vegetable oil for deep fry
2 cups plain bread crumbs

Directions

In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and cook peppers and scallions until tender. Set aside to cool.

Place crabmeat in a large bowl and check for bits of shell. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and focaccia bread crumbs and mix well. Stir in the peppers and scallions.

Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. If you do not have a fryer, use a heavy 6-quart saucepan.

Place the plain bread crumbs in a medium bowl or on a wide plate.

With a large spoon (and your hands), scoop a mound of the mixture (approximately 4 ounces) and shape a round patty.

Pass the crab patty in the bread crumbs two times, pressing the crumbs with your hands.

Fry or sauté the patties for about three minutes, until light brown.

Let rest on a plate with kitchen paper or paper towels at least 5 minutes before serving.

We love pairing a Chardonnay or a refreshing Riesling with these flaky and delicious crab cakes.

STOMP 2015- A Harvest Celebration with Deep Roots

In the next day or two, grapes are going to start coming into the winery crush pad, and the 2015 harvest will be upon us!  This year is even more special as we are honored to host a unique annual tradition that officially kicks off harvest in Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ Annual Harvest STOMP. 

“There is simply no event like this one in the world of wine”, Steve Moulds of Moulds Family Vineyards and President of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG).  “We take the best time of year in the Valley and throw every great thing about Napa Valley into it: the vineyard setting, the wines, the food, the people, and the camaraderie that exists is unparalleled.”

This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, August 22, and tickets have already sold out.  There is a wait list if you’re interested in the possibility of attending, but this blog is about sharing information on two missions that we are happy to partner with NVG through this event:  to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards, and to support the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation

We are hosting STOMP at our Henry Ranch in the Los Carneros appellation at the southern end of Napa County.  This 525-acre property is a shining example of preserving Napa Valley’s agricultural heritage. It was once home to the Wappo Indians and part of an original Spanish land grant.  Around 1850 the land was purchased by the Henry family, who farmed and raised livestock on the ranch until Dario Sattui bought the property from Herb Henry in 1993. To date, 120 acres of sustainably-farmed vineyards have been planted and virtually all of the 525 acres of land have been protected by any further development through conservation easements and the Land Trust of Napa County, ensuring the unspoiled beauty of this ranch for future generations. 

STOMP also helps support the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation.  The Napa Valley is known for its world-class vineyards that produce the world's highest quality wines, but what really makes this valley so special are the people.  The Napa Valley farmworker community is the heart, soul and foundation of our industry.  Founded by the NVG in 2011, the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation supports and promotes Napa Valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development. This foundation is the only one of its kind in the United States and to date has helped more than 7,500 vineyard workers and their families.  Not only are the lives of Napa Valley’s vineyard workers improved, but also their families, their children, and our community-at-large. 

Cheers to the 2015 harvest!  May it be bountiful not only in wine grapes, but also in keeping Napa Valley a beautiful destination, and one of the best places to live.

Recipe: V. Sattui’s Mustard Prawns

Winter rains promote the rapid growth of wild mustard in the Napa Valley. January visitors are treated to our Valley floor being blanketed in a vibrant carpet of bright yellow mustard flowers. So it’s no accident that mustard is a favorite ingredient of so many Napa chefs—our own included. We’ve found that prawns and mustard have a natural affinity for each other. Add shallots and champagne vinegar and this dish is transcendent. No dipping here…these prawns are already sauced!

V. Sattui's Mustard Prawns

(Serves 6)

Ingredients

½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sea salt
3 pounds prawns, heads removed, peeled & deveined

¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground red chili flakes
½ cup champagne vinegar
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley

Directions

In a large pot bring 6 quarts of water to a boil, then add ½ cup of sea salt.

When water begins to boil again, add the prawns. Bring to a boil once more and cook for only a half minute (30 seconds). Drain and let the prawns cool.

While waiting for the prawns to cool, make the emulsion: In a mixer bowl, place the Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, chili flakes and champagne vinegar.

Mix on medium-low for about 1-2 minutes, then add the oil very slowly (so the ingredients don’t separate) until the oil is done.

In a large bowl, place the prawns, then add the emulsion, the shallots and the parsley. Mix very well to coat the prawns. Serve chilled with a bottle of your favorite V. Sattui Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

New: Tours have arrived at V. Sattui Winery

You've asked and we've heard you! We now offer two tours to satisfy all palates.

The Daily Tour

The casual encounter; for the lovers of spontaneity and the people who want to get to know us a little better but aren’t quite ready to commit (you know who you are).

Offered daily at 11am and Sunday-Friday at 2pm
45 minute tour
$30 per adult / $15 per child (6-20 years old)
Tasting voucher for our Main Tasting Room

Learn:
Brief history of the winery 
Organic practices in Vittorio's Vineyard
The growing seasons of grapevines
Winemaking process

BOOK Daily Tour NOW

 


 

The InstaSomm Tour

The intimate experience; for the lovers of planning and the people who just can’t resist our charm and want to know EVERYTHING there is to know about winemaking and V. Sattui. Ready to go all in?

Offered Sundays only at noon
1.5 hour tour including tasting
$65 per member / $75 per non-member (21 and older only)
Seated tasting paired with a selection of our own house-cured meats and artisanal cheeses

Learn:
Everything above plus –
The importance barrel selection
In-depth look at the vineyards and winemaking practices
What it takes to make a great vintage
…and sample directly from the tanks!

BOOK InstaSomm Tour NOW

 

See you soon!!

 

Nancy & Anthony’s Elopement

Weddings – and how each couple interprets this auspicious day – are constantly evolving to fit this modern day world, and the diverse couples formed within it. One of our favorite interpretations is in the form of elopements. The special intimacy, the raw power of the couple's bond and their private, almost secretive, exchanged glances – it just makes our hearts a-flutter with the love of love!

Elopements allow the pair to appreciate the comforts of a smaller wedding, filled with only those closest to their hearts.

Nancy and Anthony’s simple, elegant elopement wedding was the epitome of the exuberance two people in love experience on their special day, when free to have their dream ceremony, their way.

Many thanks to the talented Ken Viale, who was on hand to capture those special moments!

Nancy and Anthony on Vittorio’s Tower balcony, just moments before the ceremony.

The couple took an impromptu mid-ceremony break to have a brief video chat with their son who couldn’t be there in person, but managed to make an appearance nonetheless! 

Close family members watched in anticipation as bride and groom slid wedding rings onto each other’s intertwined hands.

Our courtyard lit up with vibrant smiles as they kissed for the first time as husband and wife! 

What is more fitting than a unity wine pour at a winery wedding; the perfect blend of two lives, and families, becoming one.

Their young son, and ringbearer, was the first to make a toast to the newlyweds – with some delicious Gamay Rouge Grape Juice! 

Congratulations, Nancy and Anthony!

Not Just Another V. Sattui Love Story – Part 2

The Road to Wedded Bliss

Our two lovebirds, Alex and Justine, have been busy planning their wedding with our V. Sattui Wedding Team! Working with our wedding coordinator, Melissa Ferentheil, they came to the Winery for a site visit. The pair are here often to pick up their Wine Club shipments, but Melissa wanted to put them in the mind frame of their wedding guests – walking them past our fountain, through the lush grounds and under our towering ancient oaks. They chose locations for their cocktail hour and the wedding ceremony, then finished in the Barrel Room where the dinner and reception would be held.


Dinner and Reception in the Barrel Room
photo: Shannon Stellmacher

Alex and Justine chose to entertain their guests on Vittorio’s Terrace for their cocktail hour, among the beautiful gardens and stone fountains. The cocktail hour can also take place in the lower courtyard or in our Cellar Club. As for the ceremony, there are so many beautiful options – the romantic tower lawn, the intimate courtyard, or the spacious Barrel Room – and the pair chose a wedding favorite: the courtyard. 

Alex and Justine's picks:

               
 
Cocktail Hour on Vittorio's Terrace       Ceremony in the Courtyard
            photo: Ken Viale

Must Love Dogs

And don't worry – no matter what places they chose on property – they're all dog-friendly! You may remember that Alex and Justine had their dog, Trixie, in tow when they got engaged at our winery – and I have a feeling Trixie will be making an appearance at the wedding. I'm excited to see what special role she might play!


Justine, Alex and Trixie

Michelin-Star Weddings

To help the couple with the sometimes overwhelming amount of decisions, we have put together an extensive list of experienced vendors that we have worked with time and again. Every little thing is covered on that list: talented photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, entertainment, florists, and even suggestions for accommodations and transportation.

Plus something that no other winery can offer – Stefano Masanti, our resident Michelin-starred chef from Lombardia, Italy. Stefano has a passion for fresh, local and seasonal cuisine and his wife, Raffa, is a Sommelier who can offer insight into pairing Stefano’s food with V. Sattui’s award-winning wines. He is the exclusive chef for weddings at the winery from April through October.

 

The Wine Tasting

On a sunny day in early May, Alex and Justine brought their parents in for a special tasting at V. Sattui to choose their wines and their menu.


Alex and Justine with their parents

With Melissa’s guidance, Alex and Justine tasted through several of our award-winning wines to decide which ones would be the perfect fit for their wedding. For cocktail hour – they decided on our refreshing 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, the light and fruity 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, and the cult-favorite 2012 Crow Ridge Ancient Vine Zinfandel to wet their guest’s whistles and get the party started. To pair with dinner – the rich and buttery 2012 Reserve Chardonnay and our intense, mountain-bred 2010 Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. And a special indulgence for the head table only – our plush and earthy 2008 Vittorio’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Let me just say, they have GREAT taste.


Their wedding wine line-up

 

And no, they didn’t forget the sparkling – apparently Justine is a bit of a “bubbly-head,” so instead having it just served for the toast, she wants the sparkling flowing “all night long!” Prestige Cuvee for everyone! Alex laughed that we probably won’t see her without a champagne flute in her hand. 

 

The Menu Tasting

Alex and Justine brought their wine list with them to the V. Sattui kitchen for their menu tasting with Stefano and Raffa.


Raffa, Alex, Justine, and Stefano

Choosing from Stefano's generous menu offerings (he has pages and pages of enticing hors d’oeuvres, first, second and even third courses, desserts and cakes, like carmelized red beet, almond cheese and crispy almond tuile or rabbit galantine, red onion Italian compote and crispy parmesan), the couple had previously narrowed down the options for dinner service to several possible appetizers, salads and main courses. They were ready to see the chef perform his culinary magic as he prepared each one for them to taste and to make a final decision on the menu.

Bite after succulent bite, Stefano went back and forth between their table and the kitchen, showing them what an addition of this or that to a certain dish would do to the flavors, aware that every part of their special day should be just so. This intimate, chef’s table experience gives the wedding couple a chance to get to know Chef Stefano and his team. Raffa helped them to understand what dishes would go best with their newly-chosen wines. So check chicken, beef or fish – and be prepared to have your tastebuds amazed!

 

Next Steps

Now it’s time for Alex & Justine to relax and enjoy the days leading up to the big day. And when they say "I do," There are sure to be fireworks – because they will be saying their vows on July 4! I cannot wait to see the photos. Be sure to check back for the final installment on Alex and Justine’s road to wedded bliss!

 

Jennie & Jed’s Wedding

Fine wine, romantic vineyard views, and lush grounds entice countless visitors to V. Sattui Winery each year.  It’s easy to see why so many couples fall in love, get engaged, and get married here. Couples who marry at the winery become part of  V. Sattui’s rich history, with their milestone moments and fond memories deeply rooted in our soils.

 We recognize each couple has a unique flair, and on their wedding day, it’s important to showcase their unique taste.   We are experienced in masterfully customizing our lush landscapes and picturesque spaces into idyllic wedding scenes.   The result is a spectacular occasion to cherish for a lifetime.

We congratulate Jennie & Jed who chose V. Sattui Winery to host their beautiful May 2015 wedding – it was truly a perfect pairing! Chantel Giongco took these gorgeous images.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at their grand affair: 

The bridal party dazzled with excitement on our Vittorio’s Terrace as they prepared for the big moment.

Meanwhile, our subterranean barrel room was transformed into Jennie & Jed’s vision of elegance.

As Jennie’s brother walked her down the aisle, her smile at her future husband, Jed, was shining bright in the Napa Valley sunlight!

As Jennie & Jed performed the cake cutting ceremony as husband and wife, it marked a new beginning in their relationship – and the start to our thriving summer wedding season!

Cheers to Jennie & Jed! May your glasses always be full –perhaps with some award-winning V. Sattui wine?

Staff Feature: Mark Roomian, proud father and master BBQer

Mark Roomian
Wine Consultant

 

Mark Roomian and his loud shirts (I like to call him Marky Mark and the Funky Shirts) have been a fixture here at the winery for many years – since May of 1997. If you’ve ever visited the property, you’ve probably heard him. His booming voice and roaring laughter can be heard all throughout the tasting room. Working up front, I remember no matter where you were working, you could always pick Mark’s voice out of the din, ringing clearly through the tasting room.

What you might not know about Mark is that he is an avid Zin lover, master BBQer, and father to two beautiful girls, Tori and Bianca. I talked with him about the secret to great BBQ and his proudest moments as a father.

 

Oriana LaForte: What do you think is the most important thing people should know about V. Sattui?
Mark Roomian: That this is a privately-owned business. Still small-family owned and based on old traditions. I still remember when Dario would be here on a Saturday, and he would do the job of the stockers – taking the dirty glasses from behind the bar and washing them in the back and bringing them back out on the floor. He is like that, you know. When you see the guy you work for mopping the floor next to you at the end of the day, that's the place I want to work.

OL: What is your favorite wine?
MR: Zinfandel. I just love the variety you can have. Look you can line up 7 different Pinots and know it’s a Pinot Noir. Same thing with Cab – and dont get me wrong, I love Cab. But Zin – some Zins can be light, some heavy, you can have jammy, or earthy or fruit-forward or peppery – it is just so unique!

OL: And your favorite V. Sattui wine?
MR: Black Sears Zinfandel – that pepper aroma just reminds me of a juicy pepper-crusted ribeye coming right off the grill.

OL: And it goes great with BBQ. You do some BBQ work on the side, right?
MR: I love cooking BBQ. David [of Double D's BBQ] and I go to the Rib Cook-off [in Reno] almost every year. We should be there this year, too. Labor Day weekend.

OL: What is your favorite BBQ?
MR: Whole hog, or brisket. They take longer, but it’s worth it! I helped David do the hog for the employee picnic last year. We watched it for three or four days and man was it good.

OL: Oh yea, I remember that. That was beautiful – juicy and tender and fatty and flavorful – and you know I’m from the South! Any tips or tricks about BBQing?
MR: The rub is more important than the sauce.

OL: Tell me about your girls.
MR: Tori just graduated from Syracuse with a Bachelor’s degree – she double majored in Political Science and Anthropolgy. Bianca finished up her freshman year at Alabama and is back for the summer. Tori is actually driving back with a friend; since she graduated, she has to bring everything back home.


Bianca (right) at her high school graduation with Tori (left) and their cousin, Audrey

OL: So they’ll be able to spend Father’s Day with you! Do you guys have any special plans?
MR: I think we’ll go to my dad’s, and have a nice family dinner.

OL: A multi-generational Father’s Day celebration, I love it! So what is the best thing about fatherhood?
MR: Seeing how they have the best traits of Suzanne [their mother] and I. They love sports and they are outgoing. That’s definitely from me.

OL: They worked here at one time, right?
MR: Yeah. Tori worked in the gift department and Bianca worked the salad case [deli and marketplace]. 

OL: What would you say is your proudest moment as a father?
MR: I’ve had a lot – and you know how people always tell you how you’re going to be proud when your daughter is born, when she rides a bike for the first time, when she graduates – and you know you will – but when those moments actually happen – man, it’s better. It’s just better than anyone ever said. I think one of the proudest moments was when Tori got her acceptance letter from Syracuse. Because we didn’t really expect it to happen, but when it did – I mean, wow. That was big.

 

Advice for Graduates—and the Rest of Us

We’d like to offer the graduates of 2015 a little advice as they head into a new chapter of life.  Our V. Sattui staff shares their words of wisdom for graduates, and for anyone else who needs it.
 

John Winkelhaus 
Vice President, Operations
•    Put $5 of every $100 in a savings account and never touch it.  Easy to say, tough to do.
•    Set goals, set a plan to achieve those goals, work your plan.
•    Life is short.  Have fun, love hard, take what you do seriously—but not yourself.  Laugh a lot, especially at yourself when appropriate.

Lorie Clift
Staff Accountant

"When you land your first job begin to put money away for your retirement.  If you aren’t eligible to save into a retirement plan right away, then put money into a savings account that comes directly out of your paycheck.  This way you will never notice any difference when you can put it to a retirement account.  Attempt to put 10 percent away every paycheck, and don’t leave it in a savings account, put in a money market or something that will make your money work for you.”

Pat Krueger
Vice President of Events

“Never stop learning.”

Jim Montalbano
Wine Consultant

 “My best advice for a college grad is not to be discouraged if they cannot find a job in their major. They may find that some things they learned in college have a direct application in their current work or even their personal lives."

Michelle Shafrir
Enologist

“My advice would be: Don’t be practical. Take risks. You’ll find that as you get older it gets harder to take a chance on something different. So seize the day, explore your passions and see where they take you.” 

Chris Rota
Wine Consultant

“While graduation may be an accomplishment, it is really a humble beginning to life.  Learning (aggressively) can never stop.  One of the best tools for learning is your Word Power and that is not just your ability to explain things to others, but to explain to yourself as well. Grammar and syntax are equally important.  I cringe when I hear ‘Where are you at…???’  OR ‘I had to ran all the way’, OR ‘I have just rang it up.’  No matter how well you have mastered your discipline(s), if you have not mastered your language, you are destined for difficulties.

Brook Rasmussen
Wine Club Assistant

“I’ll pass along the best advice my Mom gave me– don’t get arrested!”

Fernando Hernandez
Shipping Assistant

Fernando chose to share a link to four of the most inspirational, life-changing TED talks for students.  They’re definitely worth checking out!

 

And most importantly…
 

 

Critics Challenge finds us winning again!

The best winery you've never heard of
 

To be named Winery of the Year for a second time this year is truly an honor. The Critics Challenge International Wine Competition was a successful competition for us and we are proud to announce that our special, Bordeaux-style 2011 Paradiso – along with receiving a Platinum medal and a 97 point rating –  was also named Wine of the Year and Best Red.

Robert Whitley, the Director and Chief Judge of Critics Challenge as well as publisher of the WineReviewOnline, wrote a glowing article summing up our winnings and calling us “the best Napa Valley winery you’ve never heard of” and lamenting that though we may be “the most medaled winery in America” and our “long record of excellence is impressive,” it is a “shame more wine lovers aren’t aware of [V. Sattui].” We rely on you, our treasured customers, to pass the word along about our brand, because we chose to sell directly to you in order to give you the best prices and ensure the best quality in our wines. So thank you for helping us, by drinking and enjoying our award-winning wines!

We would love to share with you the reviews that Robert Whitley himself wrote on some of our Platinum award winners from Critics Challenge:

2011 Paradiso, V. Sattui Winery – 97 Points

Won Wine of the Year and Best Red 

"Close your eyes and imagine you've just taken a sip of First Growth Bordeaux at about $1000 a bottle. Then open your eyes and realize it's the 2011 V. Sattui Paradiso, a red Bordeaux-style blend from a so-called off vintage. Paradiso price: $70. This could be the steal of the century if you were the sort of person who overspends on high-end Bordeaux. Paradiso incorporates all five of the red Bordeaux grape varieties, but Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant. This vintage exhibits aromas of cassis and ripe blackberry, with the very Bordeaux-like note of lead pencil and cedar."  

 – Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015

 

To be released later this year

 

2012 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, V. Sattui Winery – 95 Points  

Platinum Award winner

"V. Sattui is a virtual machine when it comes to producing great Napa Valley Cabernet vintage after vintage. This 2012 Howell Mountain, from the west-facing slopes of the Napa Valley, is a blockbuster that exhibits intense black-fruit aromas, a richly layered palate, and finely integrated tannins, with a subtle wood note in the background. Sensational stuff."

– Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015

2012 Vittorio's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, V. Sattui Winery – 94 Points 

Platinum Award winner

"With soft, supple tannins and a juicy blackberry and blueberry core, this is a delightful Cabernet Sauvignon that can be enjoyed now while you wait for some of the more muscular Napa Valley Cabs from this outstanding vintage to come around." 

– Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015

2012 Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, V. Sattui Winery – 94 Points

Platinum Award winner

"For as long as memory serves, the Morisoli Vineyard has been one of the Napa Valley's most stunning properties. The Cabernet from this vineyard follows a familiar theme vintage afer vintage, producing complex, supple Cabernet that's easy to drink when young but with the ability to age. The 2012 is just another in a long series of Morisoli Cabs that are suave and seductive. And the price is modest given the history of excellence."

– Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015

 

Not Just Another V. Sattui Love Story – Part 1

The impromptu proposal
 

On a beautiful Saturday in January, Alex and Justine came to V. Sattui Winery with their dog, Trixie. Alex had told Justine that he wanted to enjoy a “family day,” just the three of them.

But Alex had something up his sleeve.

With nothing planned beforehand, Alex and Justine came to the winery, did a tasting, signed up for our Wine Club and talked with everyone that walked by (because their dog is just that adorable). As Alex checked out, he asked the cashier if there was a quiet spot he could propose to his girlfriend. Well, Alex asked the right person, because it just so happened that Tom Davies, President and Co-Owner of V. Sattui, (and – shall we divulge – hopeless romantic?) was behind the cashier desk that day. 

Tom had just the spot – our private Gold Room, an intimate room where stone cubbies are filled with dusty bottles of our older vintage wines and old wooden crates holding the biggest of bottles -the Nebuchadnezzar – lay. Always one to go above and beyond for our customers, Tom went on a quick mission – grabbing a bottle of our Prestige Cuvée sparkling wine, two flutes and a chiller and candles.

By the time they entered the private Gold Room, Justine may have had an idea of what was going on…


The happy(ily engaged) couple

 

A little bit of history
 

Alex and Justine met in college in 2007 at a birthday party for a mutual friend.


The first meeting

Alex was a Cal student athlete (Go Bears!) and played for the baseball team. Justine being a huge fan of baseball, Alex certainly did not escape her notice when he walked into the room. After spending the greater part of the night in the other’s company, they kept in contact over the next few months.

That Valentine’s Day, they went out to dinner (Olive Garden – life is hard with a student's budget!) and to make the relationship official, Justine presented Alex with personalized M&Ms that read “Will you be my BF?” 

After Alex’s initial shock wore off (your first experience with personalized M&Ms is pretty incredible) he said of course- and they’ve been inseparable ever since.


Officially boyfriend and girlfriend (2008) – my, how time flies!

Seven years (and several visits to V. Sattui) later, Alex and Justine have settled in Napa. Alex works for NorCal CrossFit and is very involved in all of the CrossFit games. Justine is a 6th grade teacher at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Napa. Some of her family lives in town as well, and she and he enjoy being closer to them.

 

Next steps
 

One day after the proposal in our Gold Room, Justine called the Winery and asked that we host their wedding, too. Of course, we couldn't be more thrilled! In the next two parts of the series, join them on their wedding journey as they pick out the menu, nail down the details and finally – tie the knot! 

In the meantime, check out these beautiful photographs (and meet the adorable Trixie!) from their engagement shoot in San Francisco, shot by the truly talented husband and wife team at jcpagephotography.com





Engagement shoot photos courtesy of the talented duo at jcpagephotography.com

 

Don't you just love love?