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.

 

Toast a Great Country with a Great Wine- V. Sattui Madeira

Madeira and brownie sandwich- editedRevive an old custom this July 4th and toast our stars and stripes with Madeira!

While the wine is named after the Portuguese-held island some 500 miles off the coast of Morocco, celebrating Madeira in America is a long-held tradition. Few people today associate Madeira with Colonial America when, in fact, it was a household beverage during the latter half of the 18th Century. The East Coast is mostly hot and humid and much of it has high water tables which precluded any form of cellaring table wines. Madeira is virtually indestructible; so it became the wine of choice and maintained its popularity right up to the Great Experiment – Prohibition.

When the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th 1776, members of our first Congress consumed some 50 bottles of Madeira. What a celebration that must have been! Other great occasions calling for Madeira included George Washington’s marriage to Martha, Washington’s inauguration in 1789, and the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.1200px-Declaration_independence

Madeira came to America by way of European ships that would make regular stops at the island of Madeira to “freshen” with the island’s abundance of fresh water and take on its wine as ballast. Vintners of Madeira knew their wines would not survive an Atlantic journey without a little help so they added brandy as a preservative. What they didn’t know was the heat from traveling the equator would oxidize alcohols into aldehydes, which added a marvelous nutty character to the wine. After this discovery, intentional heating of the wine was done in estufas (heated vessels) and it continues today. Vintners also adopted the Spanish solera system in which young wines go into barrels and matriculate by constant blending to the bottling barrels over many decades and even centuries. The younger wines freshen the older vintages while the older wines impart their wisdom to the newer arrivals.

V. Sattui Madeira shares this historic tapestry, as Vittorio Sattui procured a number of barrels from the island and started his own solera at his winery in San Francisco in 1887. When you enjoy V. Sattui Madeira there may be a few drops of this vintage in your very glass which connects you with history. Vittorio had to hide his decades-old solera around North Beach in San Francisco during Prohibition, as surely the Feds would have destroyed it. So, this wine has its own bit of romantic history.

colonial- holding wineFrom fortification to heating, V. Sattui Madeira continues to be made in the time honored traditions of the island, rendering a complexity of caramel, dried plum, honey, maple, vanilla combined with hazelnuts, almonds and chocolate. All of this is re-enforced with smooth, silky, and balanced sweet sensations on the palate. This is the oldest Madeira produced in the U.S. and it’s as though the wine waited all of these years and decades to come to life on your palate.

Our Madeira is compatible with so many foods. Friendships range from pumpkin pie to tiramisu. By the way, we use the Madeira to make tiramisu in our deli. It’s wonderful with nuts like a hazelnut torte and any recipe that calls for dried fruit, vanilla, and caramel (Flan). We love it as a float with our house made Vanilla Bean Gelato. Let your dessert imagination be your pairing highway.

It’s also a good cooking wine. Try this: cook your meat of choice in a pan or grill pan and remove it. Pour in our Madeira along with an equal part of Sattui Family Red. Deglaze the pan and allow a few minutes to reduce the sauce. Plate your meat, add the sauce and enjoy. REALLY enjoy!