October 2016 - V. Sattui Winery

V. Sattui Zinfandel: A Memorable Taste of Wine and the Land From Which it Came

Vittorio & Katrina Sattui and friends in front of the original   V. Sattui Winery in San Francisco in 1885.

When the founders of V. Sattui Winery, Vittorio and his wife Katrina Sattui, immigrated from Italy to America in 1882, Zinfandel was already widely planted in California. For almost a century it was the most widely planted varietal in the Golden State. Zinfandel’s very Italian red wine “personality” made it a favorite in the Italian community and it was one of the first wines V. Sattui Winery bottled when it opened its doors in San Francisco in 1885.

When Dario, Vittorio’s great, great grandson, re-established the family winery in St. Helena in 1975, one of the first bottlings was 1976 Amador Ridge Zinfandel. We have current vintages of this bold and great Sierra Foothill Zinfandel today, which only underscores the fervent love affair that four Sattui generations have had for this wonderful grape.

Zinfandel is like a chameleon on a rock. It is sensitive to a vineyard’s terroir and reacts to it readily, giving Zinfandel lovers a plethora of styles and flavors – more so than any other cultivar. Thinner skin and higher acidity, allow it to express nuances of “place” more completely and profoundly.

Juicy Zinfandel grapes, ready to pick and crush into delicious wine. Photo courtesy ZAP.

Additionally, it is one of those cultivars that can live over 100 years and one frequently sees Old Vine or Ancient Vine on the label. Just to clarify, there is no legal restriction for Old-Vine appearing on labels. Simply, the vintner must show that the vineyard is producing less due to its age and because of that, the fruit is more concentrated and flavorful. Ancient-Vine, on the other hand, must have attained 100 years of age by law.

At V. Sattui we are known as a “Zinfandel House”, currently producing ten Zinfandels and all of them are fashioned in the same format; that is, we do nothing to one that we don’t do to all of them and, yet, they are all very different – and definitely terroir-driven. Which one is your favorite?
A sweet spot for Zinfandel providing good daytime heat tempered with cool, fresh breezes off the Delta formed by the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers. This wine is a “fruit bomb” full of bright berry fruits with just enough zest to create a delightful balance.

V. Sattui Winery’s 2012 Amador Ridge Vineyard Zinfandel.

Planted from 1000 to 2400 feet above sea level, this is where the days are warm and the altitude allows for cooling in the evening. The Zinfandels from the Sierra Foothills are huge and packed with fruit and V. Sattui’s Zinfandel from the Sutter Creek area is no exception. Huge body with tons of cooked fruit and juicy raspberry. A little spice and earthiness are followed by sweet oak.

This wine hails from Dry Creek Valley just outside of Healdsburg in Sonoma County and located in the Valley’s sweet spot where the benchlands block out Pacific maritime to produce perfect daytime warmth. A sip of this wine is like biting into a blackberry. It has the perfect balance between fruit and spice.

This vineyard has nothing to do with mountains or hills. It’s the surname for a father and son operation that spans 3 generations in the Dry Creek Valley. Fruity and solid, it sports just an edge of spiciness. Perfect.

2013 Gilsson Zinfandel
2013 Gilsson Vineyard Zinfandel

This vineyard lies on Spring Street in the heart of St. Helena. Quaglia (Italian for Quail), is a vineyard of old, head pruned vines producing a wine of concentrated blackberry, plum and dusty oak barrel notes with unusual poise for Zinfandel.

Produced in a compound appellation; that is, Russian River which allows cooling Pacific fog to course upriver while Chalk Hill at the eastern edge of the Valley provides deep chalk soil. It’s the best of both worlds.  The wine is fruit forward with wild berry and spice that finishes with lovely cooked fruit or jam.

This, too, is in the same Russian River appellation and if you have a small rock and a good arm you could almost throw it from Gilsson to this vineyard. Richly textured, this old vine wine is rife with raspberry, dried plum and cherry cola with a spicy – but smooth – finish.

A gorgeous blend of Crow Ridge and Gilsson Vineyard with characteristics of one vineyard highlighting the other. Spicy, dark fruit with a dash of black pepper on the finish.

2013 Black Sears Vineyard Zinfandel

This organically farmed land lies on the summit of Howell Mountain at an altitude of 2400 ft. and it is among the highest vineyards in the Napa Valley possessing its own unique climate. In order to legally place the Appellation Howell Mountain on a label, the vineyard must be 1400 feet or higher where the volcanic tufa soil that creates the mountain’s signature flavor begins. Here is a wine that exhibits scents of freshly cracked peppercorns along with hints of raspberry, cranberry, cinnamon and sweet vanilla.

Here’s a combination that features the fruit that this appellation can produce. This wine is a basket of jammy currents, cranberries with a little ground pepper and cinnamon.


If you’re a Zin lover, we hope you’ll join us at the Zinfandel Experience in San Francisco from February 23-25, 2017.  Early bird tickets are on sale now!

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

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

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!