A first time for everything
For the first time, V. Sattui Winery is participating in Premiere Napa Valley, the second biggest week in the local wine industry each year, (Auction Napa Valley would be the first). Premiere is a wine auction for the trade that is hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV). Winemakers are asked to create a special wine for this auction that will help boost the reputation of Napa wines, and raise money for NVV’s programs to keep the integrity of Napa Valley’s reputation and its wines.
The wine we have crafted for our debut to this event is a tribute to the Morisoli Brothers, two local 4th generation grape growers with a dedication to growing the finest grapes in the Napa Valley. The wine is called Two X Two (or Two by Two), Rutherford Dust-Up Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a 50-50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Gary and Mike Morisoli, and it is the first time their prized grapes have been blended into one wine.
Gary and Mike’s vineyards are located in the heart of the famous “Rutherford Bench”, an area considered the “Rodeo Drive” of vineyards. Famous neighbors include vineyards for Scarecrow, Rubicon Estates, and Phelps’ Manley Lane. The Rutherford Bench is a highly coveted area for growing grapes, due to the “Rutherford Dust” phenomenon that can be distinguished in the wine, and the reason for the name of this exclusive offering. The “Dust” refers to the wines having “dusty” tannins, dry cocoa or cigar box flavors. These elusive flavors are unique to the benchland and can’t be found anywhere else.
The Brothers Morisoli
There is a 16-year age difference between Gary and Mike Morisoli, and while blood links them as brothers, they each have followed their own path.
“We’ve always had our own separate things,” says Mike, the younger brother. “We don’t want to step on each others’ toes. And we’ve just always sent our grapes to separate producers. But it’s nice to have the Morisoli legacy continue and pull it all together in this wine blend.”
During the week Mike is also a geotechnical engineer and a partner in a company he joined 23 years ago. But growing grapes is in his blood. He grew up watching his father, and big brother, doing the work and he naturally followed suit.
“I have such interest and passion for grape growing. You get to live in a vineyard, I’m out producing something that is mine, and at the end of the day, you have something tangible- a really great wine.”
Gary Morisoli has a reputation for a meticulously kept crop with consistent flavor and quality. His hands-on education for grape growing came from working alongside his father and grandfather. His grandfather was born on the property in 1902, and the family had 10 acres. Currently Gary owns 53 acres, and he humbly says he’s got the “easy” time.
“When my grandfather was doing things they worked with horses ploughing fields, and spent long days doing all the work themselves. Today I have people to help do the work, and I just supervise.”
The Rutherford Dust-Up
In the Two x Two Morisoli Brothers Rutherford Dust-up Cabernet, the brothers set aside their friendly rivalry for growing the best grapes, and bring their fruit together in a first-time single effort. Both vineyards are located in the Rutherford Bench, west of Highway 29, and shadowed from the harsh afternoon sun by the imposing silhouette of Mount St. John. The gravelly soil and slightly downward sloping land makes for wonderful drainage, never allowing the grapes to become too over-saturated. Both vineyards are off of Niebaum Lane.
V. Sattui’s Director of Winemaking, Brooks Painter, says “this wine is incredibly inky and dark, with a bouquet of cigar box, hints of cedary spice and perfumed dried flowers. It is a rich wine with opulent fruit persistence in the mid-palate. The aftertaste is a black berry, black currant flavor with Cassis and spice that linger. The Cabernet Sauvignon blend leaves a lasting impression of pure cabernet flavor with dusty and earthy nuances.”
Our Two X Two, Rutherford Dust-Up Cabernet Sauvignon will go up for auction at Premiere Napa Valley Saturday, February 21st. Attendees to the event include wine shop owners, restaurateurs, and other wine trade. We’ll update you on the winning bidder, and let you know if you might be able to purchase and taste the wine for yourself!