Tom’s Best Buy List

‘Tis the season for spending quality time with good friends, family, eating favorite foods, and savoring delicious wine.  We decided to ask Tom Davies, President of V. Sattui Winery, who has been working here for 35 years for guidance on gifting, tasting, or cellaring, V. Sattui wines.  Here are Tom’s recommendations:

tom-in-tux-croppedAs you create your holiday gift lists, don’t forget that wine, and the story that every bottle holds, is a great gift.  At V. Sattui, we make gift-giving easy by shipping to every state (except Utah). We can also personalize your gift with custom gift tags with your own message hanging on the bottle. We encourage you to be sure to include YOU on the gift list too!

Here are some of my V. Sattui recommendations for gifting, tasting, and cellaring:

 

GIFTING:
Madeira– Many of you know the cult following this wine has! Solera-made, wood-aged, and fortified V. Sattui Madeirawith brandy, this dessert wine is sweet and luscious with flavors of almonds, caramel, toffee and orange zest. It is great with holiday desserts, and some of us like to take it outside and enjoy a fine cigar with it!

2012 Preston Cabernet Sauvignon– Just about everyone covets and appreciates a fine Napa Valley Cabernet. The Preston Vineyard is one of our flagship vineyard sources in the Rutherford appellation. It is a powerful, complex cabernet that is silky on the palate, with sweet black fruit flavors that are balanced with full-bodied texture and a long finish.

2011 Prestige Cuvée—Everyone loves a celebration with bubbles! This Prestige Cuvée is our best sparkling wine to date. The late-disgorged sparkling has a classic toasty brut blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

TASTING:
2014 Los Carneros Chardonnay– out of the thousands of wines submitted for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Competition, this wine was awarded the White Wine Sweepstakes winner. This is a crisp, elegant Chardonnay with ripe pear, fig, and honeydew notes that slip right into a finish of white peach.

2013-Entanglement2013 Entanglement -This rich, complex blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre shows pomegranate fruit flavors combined with earthiness and dried herbs. It is a great wine for pairing with a variety of foods, so it is perfect to serve at all of your holiday gatherings.

2014 Carneros Pinot Noir- The sweet smell of a holiday potpourri tickles your nose when you open this estate-grown cool climate Pinot. With anise, clove, and cinnamon on the nose, this wine’s mild body with flavors of peppercorn, and wild, brambly cherry play beautifully with a symphony of holiday favorites like honey-baked ham, scalloped potatoes, and roasted root vegetables.

CELLARING:
2012 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon– 2012 has been hailed as the “Vintage of the Decade” for Napa Valley Cabernet. It was a year of near-perfect weather conditions for grape growing, and our Mt. Veeder Cabernet reflects this in a rich, powerful Cabernet with broad shoulders and impressive dimension. Selected as “Wine of the Year” and the “Best Cabernet Sauvignon” at the 2015 Monterey International Wine competition, you can’t go wrong with purchasing at least a case of this wine and savoring it for years to come.

2012 Paradiso that great 2012 vintage also gave us an abundant crop of high quality fruit for our proprietary Bordeaux-style blend. This wine is 2012 Paradisomade of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and smaller amounts of Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Lay this wine for five to eight years, and you will enjoy its elegant texture and polished tannins.

2013 Howell Mountain Zinfandel Grapes for this wine come from Napa County’s highest vineyard which is also biodynamically farmed and certified organic. What’s best about this wine is the impeccable balance it shows off. This is a Zinfandel made in a style that is both restrained and loaded with flavor. It is delicious today, however those with patience will be rewarded. With proper storage it will improve over the next 5-8 years and drink well for at least 4-6 after that.

 

Celebrating 40 years of Doing Business in the Napa Valley!

Today we celebrate the day V. Sattui winery opened its doors in Napa Valley, 40 years ago!

A Dream Come True

Vittorio Sattui
Vittorio Sattui, founder of V. Sattui Winery and Dario Sattui’s Great Grandfather

Dario Sattui’s Great Grandfather originally started V. Sattui Winery in San Francisco in 1885.  The winery was forced to close in 1920 when Prohibition became law.  But on March 4, 1976, Dario’s dream of resurrecting the family winery in Napa Valley became a reality.  He remembers opening day well.

“I was really nervous,” says Dario.  “My wife at the time thought opening a winery was a crazy idea.  I was optimistic.  I knew I was willing to work hard, and I had dreamed of reopening my great grandfather’s winery for years.  We made $141 in 9 hours on that first day.  We collected it in a wooden box since we didn’t even have a cash register.  I started to think maybe my wife was right.”

But Dario persisted.  At the end of the first year he’d sold 1800 cases and made a small profit.  But it came at a cost.  Dario and his wife lived very frugally.  At one point he needed to store barrels of wine, and the only extra space he had was the living room of the tiny house behind the winery.  The weight of the barrels was so heavy, the floor started to sink, and eventually the foundation had to be fixed!

Tom- Davies
Tom Davies- President of V. Sattui Winery

“You name it, we didn’t have it,” says Tom Davies, who was hired in 1980 and one of the first 10 employees at the winery.  Today, he is the President and a co-owner of V. Sattui.  “When we used the phone, we called people collect most of the time.  We used pitch forks to move our grapes into the hopper during harvest.  We didn’t have equipment for that.”

The small winery crew even corked and labeled their bottles of wine by hand.

Innovation Leads to Success

Although budgets were tight, Tom says it was a thrilling time to be at V. Sattui and in the wine industry.

“I wanted to be in the wine business, and it was exciting!  Any given day we were doing something different, and we were learning as we were doing it.  There was a lot of innovation and we were pioneers.  We had to be.”

That innovation led to V. Sattui being one of the very first wineries to start a wine club and events for members like our annual Harvest Ball.  V. Sattui was the first in Napa Valley to offer wine futures, host weddings, and create our world-famous Italian deli, expansive cheese case, and gorgeous picnic grounds.

Rick Rosenbrand, Dario Sattui
V. Sattui’s first winemaker, Rick Rosenbrand tastes a barrel sample with Dario Sattui

Success followed.  In 1983 V. Sattui won its first medal- a bronze for a Chardonnay.

“I was the winemaker, and I wasn’t a very good one,” says Dario.  “I couldn’t afford a winemaker, so I learned from my mistakes, and got help from people along the way.  I was elated when we won a bronze medal!”

The medals kept coming, and in 1990 Dario promoted Rick Rosenbrand, to winemaker, whose father was also a winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard.  Eventually Brooks Painter was hired as winemaker and continues his reign today, making 60 different wines.  Just recently V. Sattui’s 2014 Los Carneros Chardonnay received a 92-point score from the Wine Spectator and won the Sweepstakes for White Wines at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.  The SF Chronicle Competition also awarded us two “Best of Class” categories, 4 Double Gold medals, and 11 Gold medals.   We believe our winemaking skills have definitely matured with us!

Brooks Painter
Brooks Painter, V. Sattui’s current winemaker

Future

Dario and Tom plan for V. Sattui to continue making the best wines we can, and will continue to provide a great experience when you come to visit us.  The V. Sattui staff loves to share things we love: good wine, hand-crafted foods, and gathering with friends.  We plan to keep doing that for at least the next 40 years!