Wine Country Fall Foliage Road Trip

Visit wine country—V. Sattui style!

 

Leaves are gently falling to the ground and the smell of harvest lingers in the crisp, autumn air—there’s no better time to visit the heart of California’s wine country than right now. As if the fall scenery isn’t enough, with no traffic and no tasting room lines, there’s more wine and good times waiting for you! We invite you to experience St. Helena and the greater Napa Valley, V. Sattui style. We’ll make traveling and deciding where to go easy with our itinerary featuring the top places to eat, sip, sleep, and enjoy.

Make it a weekend getaway

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With over 400 wineries in Napa Valley, handfuls of delectable restaurants, and endless fun activities, why not stay the night? St. Helena offers a wide variety of lodging options, ranging from charming B&Bs to luxury resorts—there’s something for every occasion.

Wydown Hotel

Wind down at the contemporary, cozy Wydown Hotel centrally located on Main Street in downtown St. Helena. Explore nearby stores and restaurants or relax in the complimentary luxury health spa, equipped with a yoga studio, signature Harvest mud bath, and more.

For more suggestions and a complete listing, visit our website.

Eats

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Hungry? Check out some of our go-to spots. Whether you are in between wine tasting reservations or just looking for a tasty night out on the town, we’ve got you covered!

Model Bakery

Wake up and smell the coffee! Follow your nose to a town favorite, Model bakery, famous for its wide variety of pastries and freshly baked bread. Want an insider’s tip? Treat yourself to a homemade English muffin— it’s mouth-wateringly delicious.

Market Restaurant

A wine industry go-to—Market restaurant embodies a true farm-to-table setting. Featuring local and seasonal produce, enjoy Napa’s culinary palate. Tip: Many neighboring eateries offer free corkage on V. Sattui wines, so be sure to ask!

Gott’s Roadside

Watch the town come alive as the iconic burger joint, Gott’s Roadside opens its doors for early lunch goers. Home to Robert Parker’s favorite hamburger, enjoy fresh salads, Ahi Poke tacos, hand-cut sweet potato fries, wine by the glass, and more.

Goose and Gander

A wine country hangout for impeccable craft cocktails and seasonal bar-bites served in their pub-like dining room or lush patio. Goose and Gander is a great spot for locals and visitors alike!

The Restaurant at Meadowood

A three-Michelin-star restaurant nestled in the small town of St. Helena, The Restaurant at Meadowood is the peak of wine country-chic showcasing local and sustainable California cuisine with a luxurious touch. Plan an elegant evening or enjoy a cocktail at sunset.

Bruschetteria Food Truck

Spin, sip, and savor! Whether you are looking for a quick bite on-the-go or gearing up for more wine tasting, the Bruschetteria Food Truck has just the thing. Located next to the Clif Family tasting room—this food truck is equipped with everything from espresso, bruschetta, rotisserie chicken, and seasonal sides ready to satisfy your every need.

Ready for more wine?

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V. Sattui

We invite you to visit our winery in the town of St. Helena, right in the heart of Napa Valley. We have three Tasting Rooms to choose from, each offering friendly, knowledgeable service from our expert staff. We offer food and wine experiences that will get you thinking about wine and food in new and delicious ways.

Our Artisan Deli and Marketplace is the place to gather your ultimate Napa Valley picnic to pair with your wines. Or, when weather permits, enjoy our hot foods right off the grill and the wood-fired pizza oven during our Weekend BBQs. We also invite you to enjoy your new culinary finds on our 2 ½ acres of beautiful picnic grounds.

Castello di Amorosa

Head a little further north and you’ll arrive at our sister winery, Castello di Amorosa. A 13th-century inspired Tuscan castle created by Dario Sattui, owner of V. Sattui Winery, don’t miss your chance to take a tour and taste the wines.

Cabernet season launches in Napa Valley

When you say fall, we say Cab season! A wine region famous for its red wine, Cabernet season is the perfect time of year to visit Napa Valley and experience all it has to offer. Relish in the flavors of the region and relax while enjoying the seasonal scenery. An intriguing time of year, get out and explore the many opportunities that restaurants, wineries, and hotels provide in honor of Napa Valley Cab season.

Activities for the whole family

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Culinary Institute of America (CIA)

At the north end of St. Helena is the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, a prestigious culinary college that also offers demonstrations to the public. May we also suggest taking a wine class! From learning how to wine taste to discovering what makes the region’s terroir so unique—we like to call it “edu-tainment.”

Main Street

Stretch your legs with a stroll up and down Main Street. Home to a variety of delightful boutiques, the renowned artisan Woodhouse Chocolatier, and a dozen art galleries sure to capture your eye.

Cameo Cinema

Cap the evening with a film at the century-old Cameo Cinema, where owner Kathy Buck personally welcomes the audience to each screening. Enjoy the show!

Napa Valley and St. Helena are fun, delicious places to explore, and we encourage you to stay and play with us for as long as you can.

See you soon!

The Art of Blending

A vital step in the winemaking process, blending assures the final product will be balanced and layered with flavorful, aromatic, and textural complexities. At V. Sattui, this process is being brought to life on a regular basis with their blending seminar. Discover the art of blending and get ready for an experience of a lifetime!

What is blending? Exactly what it sounds like. A team of winemakers gathers during the winemaking process to blend various varietals. The reason? To determine which components to bring to the overall blend, and to ensure the stylistic goals and consistency that the wine consumer is looking for, and pull all the pieces together. More specifically, blending allows winemakers to: Create a recognizable house-style; minimize undesirable components; enhance desirable components; highlight a vineyard’s terroir; improve vintage consistency, and “up-blend” to enhance the wine uniqueness and overall high quality.

The possibilities with blending are endless, and the key is consistency.

How-to

 

Jose and Nayely in lab- edited

Grab your goggles and suit up, it’s time to play mad-scientist! While the art of blending wine does have a scientific approach, the rules are rather simple.

  1. Always have a goal in mind (ex. correcting a wine with too much tannin by blending in a lower tannin wine: or conversely, build intensity in a wine by using a blending component that adds to the structure and richness (for example Petite Verdot).
  2. Typically we blend wines of a similar type (Bordeaux with Bordeaux, Rhone with Rhone, etc.).
  3. By blending a high-quality wine with a weaker wine you can increase the quality of the lower wine, but what are you giving up in return? It is better to classify the components by quality and grade, and blend like-qualities.
  4. Begin blending in small quantities until you reach the desired outcome
  5. Take notes!

Once you think you have achieved the “ideal blend,” it’s time for the next step…

Blind Tasting

 

1After each winemaker puts together his or her sample blend, it’s time to taste test.

Why blind? Everyone’s palate is different, and whether we like to admit it or not, everyone is partial to their blend. A crucial moment in winemaking, it’s time to leave your ego behind. After multiple tasting rounds, discussing the good, the bad, and what might be missing, a unified sense of direction blossoms. After all, the goal is to make the wine the best it can be.

Once a decision and final blend are agreed upon, it’s back to the cellar. The barrels of wine have to be blended precisely the same way as in the lab.

Common Blends

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A common misconception that “blends” are of lesser quality is just that, a misunderstanding. To help you navigate the shelves, some of the most common blends include:

  1. Bordeaux

Arguably one of the most typical blends around the world; the red Bordeaux blend consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Flavors vary depending on the area and proportion of grape varietals used in the blend. On the left bank, higher amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon are added, making the wine more structured with higher tannins. On the right bank, wineries will add more Merlot and Cabernet Franc for a softer, more supple wine which might require less aging.

  1. Meritage

A Bordeaux-style blend, Meritage blends are created from French varietals grown in the New World wine regions, especially California. A red Meritage blend will generally consist of the classic Bordeaux combination: Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot (with hints of Carménère and Petit Verdot). Meritage wines can also be a white blend, for example, blending Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc together. Meritage blends are known for their versatility in the sense that they can be enjoyed young but also stand up to aging.

  1. Rhone Blends

In the Rhone River Valley of France, it is typical to blend several varietals together, such as Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre to make a complex red wine blend. These wines are very interesting and the contribution from each varietal adds complexity, aromas, and flavors to the finished wine.

Are you ready to blend?

V. Sattui

Have you always dreamed of becoming a winemaker? Making dreams come true, V. Sattui Winery invites you to our hands-on workshop August 12th to learn the magic of blending. An intimate seminar, this is your chance to create your own blend in an effort to match our prestigious Bordeaux blend, Paradiso.

Seats are limited, so grab a friend and reserve your blending experience today!

 

Call (707) 963-7774 or Book Online

 

La Merica: A Taste of History and Passion

Introducing V. Sattui Winery’s newest release, La Merica.

 

Honoring the family’s Italian heritage, V.Sattui Winery proudly presents La MericaA modern day rendition of a pre-prohibition blend of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel; serving as a beautiful reminder of the many ways in which immigration continues to shape our country.

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Celebrating the brave immigrants who risked everything in pursuit of the American dream, the Sattui family is only one example. Escaping a life of poverty and political uncertainties, Vittorio Sattui was just one of the many Italians who fled to America, or “La Merica,” to build a better life for himself. Arriving virtually penniless, hard work and a dream to produce only the highest quality wines were the keys to survival. V. Sattui Winery, although temporarily halted by Prohibition, was a monumental success in the making for years to come.

Embracing the importance of immigration in today’s society, La Merica rejoices everything America stands for: liberty, prosperity, diversity, and acceptance. A society built upon the foundation of immigrants, immigration is our future. Showing appreciation, V. Sattui staff members are sharing stories commemorating their family history, and what led them to where they are today, in the heart of California’s wine country.

Staff: Ali Paterson-  Marketing Director | Year of Immigration: 1927 from Poland | Story: To escape the Russian Cossacks.

 

AliPaterson-FamilyPhoto-FramedFollowing World War I, the Cossacks were raiding the Jewish villages in Russia. My Jewish grandfather and his family fled to Poland and finally to America (Ellis Island) in 1927, where he changed his last name from Malinowski to Kaufman, to match that of his uncle who came to the States earlier. They ran a bakery in Brooklyn until my Grandfather grew weary and shifted his professional gears to prize fighting. He won 16 out of 16 fights, only to be knocked out during his 17th fight. He then elected to switch it up again and become a barber. My Grandfather cut hair for the rest of his life, eventually making his way to the West Coast, with his wife and four children, to manage 22 barbershops at Camp Pendleton during the Korean War. What I remember the most about my Grandfather was his amazing ability to hold the attention of everyone in the room while telling a story.

 

Photo: Jack Kaufman (Malinowski), his soon to be wife Roslyn Parker (my Grandmother), and his sister Bertha -Brooklyn, NY, 1933.

 

Celebrate with us!

 La Merica on table with food

 

Join us June 24th-25th, as we pop open the first bottles of our new release, La Merica. A bold New-World blend packed with notes of dark fruit, giving it those mesmerizing purple hues, and a lingering texture sure to captivate your taste buds.

Take advantage of this unique time in history, and break out the old family photo album. Before taking that first sip, reflect on the path that leads you to this very moment. Standing in a tasting room in the iconic Napa Valley with generations of hard work in your glass. Appreciate and savor the senses. Taste the passion, smell the different aromas, see the beauty, hear the history, and feel the dedication.

Available from 12 pm to 5 pm both days, we will be offering tastings to guests in all V. Sattui tasting rooms. Pair this wine with your favorite cheese and our house-cured charcuterie. We suggest a smoked Gouda, Cheddar (medium-sharp), or a creamy goat cheese, to complement the robust prideful flavors of La Merica.

Historical tours will also be available by reservation: http://bit.ly/ReserveTour

Don’t forget to bring your family, friends, and stories with you!

Salute!

Preserving Napa Valley in Partnership with the Land Trust of Napa County

Taking care of the land we farm and preserving its beauty and abundance is one of our core values at V. Sattui and for owner, Dario Sattui.   The stewardship of the lands that V. Sattui farms in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Solano Counties is the recognition of our collective responsibility.

Dario’s most recent conservation effort comes by way of a 40-acre donation to the Land Trust of Napa County, an organization that was established in 1976 to preserve the character of Napa County by permanently protecting land.  This conservation easement, combined with four others over the last 18 years brings Dario’s total contribution to nearly 600 acres.

Coombsville photoThe property is located in the Coombsville hills, overlooking the City of Napa.  It is preserved through the partnership between Dario and the Land Trust. It’s natural and agricultural values are protected forever while the land is maintained in private ownership.

This conservation effort is especially important in Coombsville – where land development including vineyards, homes and wineries has been substantial in recent years. Home to Kreuse Creek, dense woodland and abundant wildlife, the property is visible from parts of the City of Napa, Silverado Trail and Skyline Park. Significant scenic enjoyment has been preserved for generations to come.

“Sadly I have seen tremendous development in the 44 years I have lived in Napa County,” said Dario Sattui. “I wish to be part of the solution by protecting all our properties with easements with the Land Trust. It gives me great pleasure to continue with my pledge.”

The Coombsville conservation easement joins Carsi Vineyard, the historic Hibbard Ranch (Formerly Henry Ranch) and our Certified Organic home vineyard – Vittorio’s Estate – named for Dario’s great-grandfather who first established V. Sattui winery in 1885.

“Five conservation easements is a lot,” said Doug Parker, CEO of the Land Trust. “And they have all gone smoothly with Dario. He is giving up significant value in this easement, eliminating the potential for both a winery and a residence, and we very much appreciate his generosity.”

Discovering Culinary Treasures in our Artisan Marketplace- Mt. Tam Cheese

Cheese case- Jack and Keith- smallOne of the joys of coming to V. Sattui is discovering our incredible cheese case in our Artisan Marketplace.  It’s fun to hang out in the marketplace and watch people walk in the door, and just be drawn in, like a magnet, to the dizzying display of aromatic, creamy goodness.

One of the “must haves” in our treasure chest of cheeses from around the world is made right down the road in Petaluma.  Cowgirl Creamery was started by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith in the early 1990’s in the small coastal town of Pt. Reyes normalized_peggysmith_sueconleyStation.

One of their flagship cheeses is the Mt. Tam– an elegant, triple cream, washed rind (or surface ripened) cheese made from organic cow’s milk from neighboring Straus Family Dairy. Named after Mt. Tamalpais, a Northern California landmark, this smooth and creamy cheese has a mellow, earthy flavor- sort of like white mushrooms.

CU- Mt Tam with walnutsWe like pairing this cheese with our Los Carneros Chardonnay which has some buttery notes to compliment the cheese, but also some ripe pear, fig and honeydew flavors and enough acidity that balance with the heaviness of the cheese.  We also like serving this cheese as a dessert, with a nice glass of our Late Harvest Riesling. Pairing it with some spiced roasted walnuts will really set off the creaminess of the cheese.

Next time you’re at the winery, be sure to check out our cheese case!  Our Cheesemonger, Keith Idle, or one of our other cheese experts, Jack,  are happy to answer questions, and give you tastes!

 

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.

 

The Best Three V. Sattui Wines to Enjoy with Fresh Crab

Despite a little fog and drizzle, you’ll notice that folks in Northern California have a little extra spring in their step today. The reason? Crab season officially opens today! In the Bay Area and Napa Valley serving up fresh Dungeness crab at the Thanksgiving table, or as a meal in the days before or after Thanksgiving, is a beloved tradition. We invite you to join us in this tradition of enjoying crab and wine, wherever you are!

At V. Sattui we have three wines we love to pair with crab.

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V. Sattui Napa Valley Chardonnay
A smooth, balanced Chardonnay that has enough acidity to pair with many foods. If you plan to serve your crab with melted butter, this wine a great match!

V. Sattui Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc2015-napa-valley-sauvignon-blanc
Balanced acidity with subtle grassy, fig, and citrus flavors make this a great pairing with crab when you use a lot of herbs or fruity dipping sauces.

2015-carsi-vineyard-semillonCarsi Vineyard Semillon
Fermented entirely in stainless steel, this wine has a silky texture with upfront minerality and a nutty, figgy character that pairs well with all kinds of seafood dishes. We love it with fresh crab, especially when it’s served as a salad, or seasoned with Asian or Hispanic spices.

If you’ve ever been to our Artisan Deli & Marketplace, then chances are you couldn’t resist our delicious house-made crab cakes. To help you share the Thanksgiving tradition of including crab in your holiday meal, we are offering our recipe for these tasty bites. Serve them as an appetizer, a side dish, or have them for Thanksgiving breakfast, topped with a poached egg.

 

 

crab-cakes-in-deli-case
The Crab Cakes offered in V. Sattui Winery’s Artisan Deli & Marketplace are made fresh daily. Be sure to try them on your next visit!

V. Sattui’s Crab Cakes
Makes 7-8 servings

1 pound fresh crab meat, cracked and cleaned
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow pepper, diced
½ bunch green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 cup Panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
2 cups regular bread crumbs

Drain crab meat well. Sauté the bell peppers and green onions in butter
until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.

In a bowl add all ingredients except for the regular bread crumbs. Mix well.

Form crab cakes by placing some of the mixture into a ½ cup measuring cup and then forming a solid patty with your hands. Dredge the cakes in the bread crumbs, and deep fry them in oil at 325 degrees. Serve hot with lemon wedges and your favorite V. Sattui wine!

Warm up with Homemade Chili and Sattui Family Red

In Napa Valley there is a bit of chill in the air in the evenings as harvest winds down.  The roar of fans cheering on their football team can be heard from local stadiums, and broadcast from radio and TV’s.  It’s definitely time to cook up a big pot of chili and enjoy it with friends and family while watching the big game, or any other fall gathering.  This recipe comes from our PR, Marketing and Brand Manager, Tyffani Sedgwick.  We recommend serving it with V. Sattui’s Family Red for a winning combination.

Tyffani’s Chili
Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients:
2 ½ lbs. Beef chuck or Round steak- cut into 1” pieces
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1  onion, minced
4 mild pasilla chili peppers- roasted, seeded and peeled, and chopped
1-2 jalapeno or serrano peppers
2 cups beef Broth- you may also use wine or beer
1 large can (48 oz.) tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons good quality chili powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 cups pinto beans- cooked (may also use black beans)
½ c. chopped cilantro

Directions:
Heat oil in a very large pot. Brown meat in oil. Add onions, garlic and chopped peppers. When onions become soft, add beef broth. Put lid on pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and slow boil until meat is tender. About 30 minutes, but check meat for tenderness at 20, and every 5 minutes after. Keep liquid level about 1” above the meat. You want the bites of meat to be really tender.
Once the meat is tender, add tomato sauce and seasonings and simmer at a “nine bubble boil” (slow boil/simmer) for about an hour. Add beans and simmer 15 more minutes. Add chopped cilantro, stir and serve.

Serve with more chopped cilantro, chopped onions, cheese, sour cream, chopped avocado and warm tortillas!

 

Love is Sweet at V. Sattui Wine Country Weddings!

Love is sweet, and so is dessert! Every couples love is unique, and we think their weddings should be no exception. From the decorations to the music, and of course, the treats! We love to see our wedding couples personalities and tastes shine through, and are always curious to see what scrumptious dessert they select for their big day.

Here are some of our favorites:

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Bright Shot Photography

Multiple smaller cakes not only provide eye appeal on an attractive dessert bar, they offer more variety for your guests. The more flavors the merrier!

better-together

 

Tiered cakes are truly elegant, and truly customizable! We love this simply sweet design, and fell hard for the romantic topper.

 

disney-cupcakes
Shannon Stellmacher Photography

Who needs a cake when each guest can have their very own monogrammed cupcake? We think these whimsical treats are the bee’s knees!

donut-bar

 

These artfully displayed donuts are a unique sweet treat sure to please guests of all ages. We’ve got our eye on the maple bars!

Photos by Colson Griffith Photography. www.colsongriffith.com
Colson Griffith Photography

This adorable display has it all! A cake on top for cutting, a romantic topper, and mini cinnamon buns complete with icing. This breakfast treat was just as delicious after dinner!

What unique wedding sweets have had your mouth watering?

 

 

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!

Nick and Marie’s Wine Country Wedding

Wedding season is definitely in full swing! We’ve been having so much fun working with all the brides and grooms to help them pull off their dream-wedding. All of them have been so special, and we want to share some with you! Here’s a little inside-view of Nick and Marie’s wedding a few weeks ago! Thanks to Colson Griffith Photography for sharing these photos with us!

It rained all day prior to their evening nuptials, but the sun came out just before the ceremony began. I think that stroke of luck means good things for their future, and definitely led to some awesome photos!

 

Photos by Colson Griffith Photography. www.colsongriffith.com

Photos by Colson Griffith Photography. www.colsongriffith.com

Photos by Colson Griffith Photography. www.colsongriffith.com

Photos by Colson Griffith Photography. www.colsongriffith.com

One of the most fun parts of each wedding is meeting the family. This little ring bearer was such a cutie!

Photos by Colson Griffith Photography. www.colsongriffith.com

Big thanks to Marie and Nick for letting us be a part of your special day! We wish you the best of luck, cheers!

Photos by Colson Griffith Photography. www.colsongriffith.com

Photos by Colson Griffith Photography. www.colsongriffith.com

Discovering Stefano, Raffaella, and Il Cantinone

Stefano and Raffa- black and white
Stefano and Raffaella in the kitchen of their restaurant, Il Cantinone, in Madesimo, Italy.

This week we are getting ready to host our first Pop-Up Dinner with Chef Stefano Masanti and his wife, Raffaella.  Our winery president, Tom Davies, met Stefano and Raffaella a few years ago while traveling with his wife and daughter through Italy.  It was actually Tom’s daughter, Michaela, who chose the small, charming hotel in the town of Madesimo as their destination.  Little did the Davies family know that stop would include one of the most delicious and memorable meals, and would lead to a long friendship between the two families, and now, their businesses too.  

Michaela shares her version of discovering Stefano, Raffaella, and their Il Cantinone Restaurant:

I first met Stefano Masanti and Raffaella Mazzina when I was traveling in Italy with my parents. We were staying in Sesto Calende, near where my family originated, and not sure of our next move. As a fourteen year old flipping through guidebooks, my criteria for a hotel exhausted itself at ‘has a pool’. However, something about the Sport Hotel Alpina, located in the Italian Alps, stuck; I shared this with my parents and we headed there the next day.

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One of Stefano’s creative dishes served at Il Cantinone.

When we arrived, we found the hotel also had a small restaurant called Il Cantinone.  Shortly after arriving we ordered food. Lots of food. The best food I have ever had. Stefano prepared his tasting menu for us, which essentially entails course after course of creativity and the juxtaposition of wonderful flavor profiles. Raffaella, an exceptional Sommelier, carefully selected and poured each wine. While my mother and I had to bow out after a handful of courses, my father continued to taste well into the double-digits. Even as a young teenager, I considered that meal one of the most impressive experiences I have ever been part of.

Harvest Ball. I knew Stefano and Raffaella were special when they simply said “yes”. While I was undoubtedly excited for the beginning of the relationship between Stefano and Raffaella and V. Sattui, I had no idea what that would ultimately mean to me.

Each year from April to November, Stefano and Raffaella join us as our in-house special events chef and catering manager, respectively. Following my graduation from college last May, I began working alongside Stefano and Raffaella at V. Sattui. I always had a deep respect for their relationship and partnership with the Winery and my family; however, I did not expect that a year later Stefano and Raffaella would be among my dearest friends.

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Stefano at work at V. Sattui’s Harvest Ball in September, 2014.

Stefano and Raffaella share both their goodness and talent with everyone and to be honest, it is hard to say which outshines the other. Among the most humble and generous people I know, Stefano and Raffaella also boast monumental accomplishments in the world of food and hospitality.

In addition to Stefano receiving a Michelin star, their restaurant, Il Cantinone, was named the best Italian restaurant that promotes local food and farmers by Gambero Rosso, a well-respected food and wine publication. Furthermore, Il Cantinone was selected as one of the best 60 restaurants in Italy and top 10 in Lombardia by L’Espresso Guide. Stefano is also Vice President of “CHIC, Charming Italian Chef”, one of the most important chefs’ associations of this time. Finally, Stefano was awarded Italian Chef of the Year for the promotion of Italian culture at the 2014 Merano Wine Festival.

I am so happy they have become family to both me and to the Winery I was raised in, and that we now have the opportunity to share their magic and the exceptionality of their restaurant with you at the Il Cantinone Pop-Up Dinner! Trust me, you do not want to miss this one.

Romantic Moments at a Wine Country Wedding

Call it sappy, but here at V. Sattui we just love love! We can’t help it, we’re hopeless romantics! There’s nothing sweeter than the happiness between two love birds joining their lives together, and we’re lucky to get to witness it so often. We’ve seen so many beautiful and romantic moments, and we want to share them with you! Here are some of our favorites.

 

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How perfect is it that her bouquet matches the colors of the sunset?

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This couple didn’t let a little rain spoil their night! They can tough out any storm together.

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We loved this couple’s private little dance within the vineyard. So romantic!

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Peek-a-boo! This veiled kiss is just the cutest.

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Sometimes you just need a moment away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding to enjoy each other’s company.

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The barrels are such a fun backdrop for this stolen moment!

 

 

 

Making Centerpieces the Center of Attention at your Destination Wedding!

Here at V. Sattui, we love it when brides get creative with their centerpieces. The wedding meal is such an important part of the celebration, and the table decorations can really make a huge statement! These days, brides are steering clear of bland and boring flower vase designs and old school decorations like mirrors and floating candles, and instead coming up with much more unique ideas that show more of their personality. Here are some of our favorites that we’ve seen!

Forget the vase, these candelabra-based flower arrangements are way trendier! The height really elevates –pun intended—the elegance of the table, and we love having flowers and leaves trickle down from above.

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Speaking of adding height to the tables, check out these beautiful branch decorations! The hanging flowers and crystals helped make this look extra magical.

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We love how these Disney-themed and rustic-themed weddings went for a non-traditional approach by opting for centerpieces that weren’t just flowers! The silhouettes and the barrels were such creative touches.

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April Showers Bring May Flowers to Weddings in Wine Country!

Love isn’t the only thing in bloom this time of year! Here at V. Sattui we’re not only surrounded by our lush and beautiful gardens, but by the many stunning flower arrangements we see at all of our weddings! To celebrate spring and all the beauty it brings, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite wedding florals. Big thanks to photographer Shannon Stellmacher for preserving these flowers with your photos!

White is a timelessly classic look, and we love how these white flowers add a little pop of life to this elegant table setting.

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For those who prefer color, why not opt for mismatched bouquets?

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If traditional isn’t really your thing, we love the mostly green bouquets we’ve been seeing lately. It’s a fun way to add a trendy and natural touch to your look!

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Flowers aren’t just for bouquets! We love the way this couple used flowers as an aisle and a back drop.

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Wineries and Weddings, A Match Made in Heaven (AKA Wine Country)

Vineyards and wineries have long evoked notions of romance. Their rustic, vintage charm and earthy atmosphere create a magical setting unlike any other. It’s no surprise that an increasing number of brides-to-be are jumping on the winery wedding bandwagon these days, especially in California. Here at V. Sattui, we’re proud to share our beautiful landscape with our brides and grooms, and are thrilled to help make their special day extra beautiful. We love every aspect of the weddings we host here in wine country, but we’ll narrow it down here to our top 5 favorite reasons! Also, special thanks to photographers Richard Wood and Ken Viale for capturing these moments!
1. Gorgeous Landscapes in Every Season
Between the lush green leaves of spring and summer, the spectacular crimson and gold leaves of fall, and the delicate cover crop flowers of winter, our vineyards serve as a stunning backdrop during every season!

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2. Rustic Charm
The rustic atmosphere of a winery takes you back in time to simpler days, and evokes a cozy, intimate feeling.

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3. Wineries are a Perfect Setting for Beautiful Florals
What’s a wedding without beautiful flowers, right? Here at V. Sattui, our natural landscape perfectly complements beautifully crafted floral arrangements.

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4. We Love Wine!
Everyone looks forward to sipping on something delicious at a wedding, and winery weddings definitely cater to that need! In a time when the “farm to table” trend is so popular, why not carry it through with “vineyard to glass”?

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5. Wineries Offer Unique and Personal Options for Décor
It’s fun to tie in decorations and party favors with the theme of the venue!

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Sweet Emotions at V Sattui Winery Weddings

Weddings are truly joyous occasions. The dresses, the food, reuniting with friends and family, and all the other details that come together in a wedding, all add up to a really great party. Weddings are more than just a fun party though, they’re also very personal and emotional. At V. Sattui, we’re lucky to get to share these emotions with our couples by laughing along with their funny memories, witnessing moments that tug at our heartstrings, and experiencing what makes each couple unique. Here are a few of our favorite memories, captured by photographers Richard Wood and Ken Viale, that display some of these emotions.

This groom, overcome with emotion, can’t believe his luck when he sees his bride for the first time.

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Though it is amazing to be surrounded by friends and family, it’s important to take a moment to catch your breath and cherish the special moments before you say “I do”.

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A wedding is emotional for everyone involved, not just the bride and groom, as displayed by these proud parents.

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This happy bride is excited to celebrate her new marriage and her love of V. Sattui wine. Cheers!

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There is nothing more sweet and tender than a first dance, and knowing you’ve found your forever dance partner.

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This bride is literally jumping for joy, as she has found a man to sweep her off her feet!

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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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!