Falling in Love with Ancient Italy

ETRUSCANS – The Banqueters of Ancient Italy 

By Lisa C. Pieraccini, Ph.D, UC Berkeley

 

Dario & lisa- VSattui
Dario Sattui & Lisa C. Pieraccini

As an archaeologist of Ancient Italy, I know what it means to work on the land (or literally, in the dirt). I spent my childhood growing up in Sonoma County where we often had family gatherings at a wonderful little winery in St. Helena (with picnic benches out in front). That special place was the V. Sattui Winery. Years later, I found myself pursuing a Ph.D. in the field of classical archaeology, with special emphasis on the Etruscans and Romans.

My career took me to Italy where I lived for many years teaching and conducting research at some of Italy’s finest museums and archaeological sites. My Italian family left Italy at the turn of the twentieth century to avoid digging ditches, to make a new life, only to have their great-granddaughter go back to Italy to do just that! I now teach at UC Berkeley where I specialize in Etruscan and early Roman art and archaeology, with a special interest in funerary rituals, Etruscan and Roman wall painting, Etruscan eating and drinking utensils, as well as the ritual and secular consumption of food and wine. I am the Project Director of the Del Chiaro Center for Ancient Italian Studies at UC Berkeley where our mission is to preserve the future of Italy’s past.

To this end, it gives me great pleasure to return to the winery where my family gathered many years ago to eat and drink, to contextualize how the ancient people of Italy, namely, the Etruscans did the same.

Etruscan-VSattui
Michelin Star Chef Stefano Masanti

Please join me at V. Sattui Winery on Sunday, September 10th from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm for a fascinating look at the Etruscan culture followed by a luncheon created by Michelin Star Chef Stefano Masanti, who will bring the Etruscan culture to life through his cuisine.

Seats are limited! Tickets are available here.

 

 

Sattui Sonoma: Alongside Napa on the map and beyond

V. Sattui’s Sonoma County Jewels.

 

sonoma-county-vineyard

In today’s world, anyone who attempts to rank either Napa or Sonoma County as one better than the other is seriously misinformed. At V. Sattui, we have long been aware of the jewels that Sonoma County possess and we access tons of grapes for our top, premium wines from extraordinary vineyard sites in a number of Sonoma’s distinctive sub-appellations.

It is a cooler region than Napa because of its closer proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the topography diverts, channels and segments maritime penetration in such a way that exceptional – even somewhat magical – growing sites are created in the various nooks and crannies of the Sonoma hills and mountains.  Another dimension is the wide array of soils from the Rock Pile Appellation – which is what the name suggests – to the sandy alluvial soils along the Russian River to the calcium carbonate (read chalk) found in Chalk Hill Appellation.  These phenomena combine to create a wider impact from AVA to AVA (American Viticultural Area or BATF approved Appellation) and a wider diversity of varietals suited to those micro-regions.

Growers in Sonoma County have sensed these unique conditions by planting accordingly in these micro-climates. As a result, the wines they produce have become very terroir driven and display a developed a sense of area identity. Russian River Pinot Noir, for example has an identifiable profile as does Dry Creek Zinfandel and so on.  This, of course, leads me to our Sonoma County Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as a couple of our Flagship Sonoma Zinfandels.

2015 Sonoma County Chardonnay:2015-Sonoma-Chardonnay2015-Sonoma-County-Pinot-Noir The Bella Vista Vineyard lies just a few hundred yards from the Napa Line in the northern part of the Mayacamas Mountain Range. These eastern slopes are noted growing areas for Chardonnay.  This vineyard is on the crown of the mountain where there is always a lot of air movement and abundant sunshine above the fog level. The soil is clay loam with tons of gravel.  Simply put, it’s everything a Chardonnay vine would like.

2015 Sonoma County Pinot Noir:  This wine is beyond the Carneros Appellation (Sonoma side), which borders San Pablo Bay. It is literally in the Bay on Skagg’s Island (along with the Coast Guard).  Talk about bathing this varietal with the cool air it loves.  And, here’s a twist:  This vineyard belongs to Reynaldo Robledos and his family. He is the first Mexican immigrant field worker to own and operate a winery with vineyards in the U.S. (350 acres).  Not enough can be said for his dedication, passion and just plain, hard work. We have a special sensitivity toward immigrants, as we salute the Sattui Family’s journey from Italy to California with a special wine called La Merica.

2013 Gilsson Zinfandel2015-Russian-River-Zinfandel2014 Russian River Zinfandel: A prime example of what this region can produce.  A finger of fog follows the river inland, permeating and expanding over its banks long before the larger area is encompassed.  This provides nice heat during the day which Zinfandel requires as well as an extraordinary diurnal temperature range of 35° to 40° (temps between day and night).  This locks acids and flavors into the fruit which are showcased well in this wine.

2013 Gilsson Vineyard Zinfandel: Gilsson Vineyard fruit grows in the eastern reaches of the Russian River Valley; in the “elbow” of a neighboring Sonoma appellation – Chalk Hill.  From a drone’s eye, one can actually see bands of chalk striating throughout the hill. The combination of the Valley’s cool climate, quick drainage from the chalk and nutrient bound clay, causes the vine to struggle to produce its fruit. The end result is a wine with amplified notes of fruit, framed in depth and structure.

Care to sample these Sattui Sonoma jewels?

Now through August 15th, enjoy $1 Ground Shipping on all mix-or-match cases of the four Sonoma County wines listed above!  Receive 15% OFF 1 case and 20% OFF 2 or more cases.

 

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

Ali Fave1

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

 

V. Sattui and Chef Masanti Plan a Midsummer Menu for Fundraiser

Changing lives since 1974, Homeward Bound of Marin is a safe place. A mission turned reality, Homeward Bound is a local non-profit paving the way to solve and prevent homelessness.

What started as a single family shelter, Homeward Bound of Marin now operates 15 residential programs to offer “safety, dignity, hope, and independence.”

Dedicated to ending homelessness, these programs reflect the realization that a shelter alone would not solve the issue at hand. In addition to providing housing, Homeward Bound of Marin offers unique job-training programs, serving low-income students as well as residents.

FreshStartsCulinaryAcademy

Fresh starts begin in the Culinary Academy— an award-winning program designed to prepare students for a job in the culinary industry. A 10-week intensive course immerses students in a hands-on environment where they learn not only kitchen skills along with life skills. In addition to food preparation, knife techniques, and recipe sizing, teamwork and conflict resolution are key.

Success is measured by the willingness to keep trying

hbofm-lilyette-1

Fresh Starts graduate Lilyette Gallegos is a shining example that success is achievable. Unsure whether or not she would graduate high school, a career in culinary arts was only a dream. With a helping hand from Homeward Bound’s Fresh Starts Culinary Academy, hard work, and dedication, Lilyette was awarded for “Best All-Around Skills” and is now a high school graduate.

Currently employed at the Sausalito Yacht Club, she is an advocate and role model for anyone interested in getting a fresh start.

For more success stories visit: http://bit.ly/HomewardBoundSuccessStories

Giving Back

With over 60,000 nights of shelter provided last year, 343 beds offered in supportive housing, 72 students enrolled in culinary training, and $2.7 million saved through avoidable hospital stays, it is proven that Homeward Bound’s mix of “training, housing, and hope” goes a long way.

Whether it’s through volunteering or donating, community members have been partners to make ending homelessness a reality for many.

Join us for a special event July 27th: Stefano Masanti & V. Sattui Winery Offer Midsummer Menu

Chef_Stefano

V.Sattui Winery, in partnership with Michelin-starred chef Stefano Masanti, is joining forces to support the shelter, housing, and training programs at Homeward Bound of Marin. Inspired by their strong Italian roots, V.Sattui and Chef Masanti have created a Midsummer pairing menu, featuring the traditional flavors of Italy.

Menu: Chicken & Mushroom Ravioli | Beef Cheek with Mustard, Potato & Truffle Purée | Grandfather’s Vanilla Gelato with V. Sattui Madeira Zabaglione & Raspberries

Wines: Optional V. Sattui wine pairing or V. Sattui wines by the glass for an additional cost.

$60 per person – included a cooking demonstration, dinner.  Proceeds support the shelter, housing and training programs at Homeward Bound of Marin.

Tickets available here.  

Celebrate summer Italian-style with V.Sattui Winery & Chef Stefano Masanti!

V. Sattui’s Annual Italian Mid-Summer Festa

Have you ever dreamt about vacationing in Italy? Imagine yourself in the village of Toscana or Lombardiasurrounded by lively music, laughter, aromas of mouth-watering food, all while sipping on a Rosato Di Sangiovese. Well, what if we told you we could bring Italy to you? Join us for the annual V.Sattui Festa Italiana, a mid-summer Italian festival.

A unique summertime tradition in Italy, people line the streets to celebrate Summer Solstice. The word “solstice” derives from ancient Italian history meaning, “the sun stands still.” It’s an illusion that plays a significant role in long-standing legends and ceremonies within the Italian culture.

Catholicism is at the heart of many Italian festivals; old traditions are mixed with modern day experiences, making mid-summer an exciting time of year for a visit. From jumping over bonfires in honor of rites of water and fire (might want to leave this one to the locals), to parades through city centers and street vendors filling the air with seasonal smells reminiscent of summer– it’s an event you don’t want to miss.

FestaItaliana-VSattui

What’s an Italian celebration without food and wine? June, July, and August are all about fresh, vibrant flavors, a reflection of the abundant sunlight during harvest. Carrying on the tradition, V. Sattui Festa Italiana isn’t complete without a pig roast, complemented by dishes bursting with fresh herbs, garlic, and an Italian-must, wine.

FestaItaliana-VSattui-Cheers

A wine country event you can’t refuseexperience a night under the stars as we celebrate mid-summer, Italian-style. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be Italian, we celebrate family, friends, and you– our V. Sattui Community.

Date: July 29, 2017

Time: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Location: Under the oak trees at V. Sattui Winery

Dress: Casual Italian

Food & Wine: Enjoy a delicious meal courtesy of V. Sattui Winery and the Pig Man of Petaluma, paired with our award-winning wines.

Live Entertainment: Dance the night away to music by Nino L’Italiano.

Tickets are available here.

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.

LaMerica-V.Sattui

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!

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.

2014-napa-valley-chardonnay

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!

Thanksgiving—At Least One Easy Decision is in the Box!

Are you counting your blessings?  Thanksgiving is just around the corner!   One of the questions we get asked most often is “what wine do I serve with Thanksgiving dinner”?  Well, we have created an easy answer for you!  The V. Sattui Thankgiving Box is bundled with four wines that go perfectly with a traditional holiday meal. These wines also offer a wide variety of flavors to please all of the palates at your table.  The V. Sattui Thanksgiving Box is available for $89, and is available in our Tasting Room or online, and shipped to your door.

2015 Gamay Rouge2015-gamay-rouge
The beautiful cranberry color of this wine alone sets a festive atmosphere on the table!  Add the bright and fruity flavors of strawberry, tropical fruit, and cranberry and you have a great pairing for turkey, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes.  It’s also great with smoked salmon and cured meats, which you may have as appetizers to kick off your feast.  Gamay Rouge is a crowd-pleaser– both light, and festive!

2015 Dry Riesling2015-dry-riesling
Wine experts agree Riesling is a perfect pick for Thanksgiving.  Our semi-sweet Dry Riesling has a fruity, floral quality that partners well with everything from salty appetizers, to sweet potatoes to an herb-roasted turkey.

2014 Los Carneros Pinot Noir2014-los-carneros-pinot-noir
This versatile wine pairs with many different turkey preparations, stuffing recipes, and a spectrum of side dishes.  The gentle tannins also marry well with green vegetables such Brussels sprouts, leafy greens such as kale, chard or spinach, as well as the classic green bean casserole!

2015- V. Sattui Moscato Frizzante2015 Moscato Frizzante
This sweet, slightly bubbly, low-alcohol wine is a nice way to start the celebration with cheeses and charcuterie. However it’s also a great pair with pumpkin or apple pie, or bread pudding.

 

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

1885
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.

zap-grapes-hi
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?
PILGRIM VINEYARD (Old-Vine) ZINFANDEL – LODI
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.

2012-amador-ridge-zinfandel
V. Sattui Winery’s 2012 Amador Ridge Vineyard Zinfandel.

AMADOR RIDGE 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.

RAMAZZOTTI VINEYARD ZINFANDEL
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.

MOUNTS VINEYARD ZINFANDEL
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

QUAGLIA VINEYARD (Ancient-Vine) 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.

GILSSON VINEYARD (Old-Vine) 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.

CROW RIDGE VINEYARD (Ancient-Vine) ZINFANDEL
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.

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY (Old-Vine) ZINFANDEL
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.  25% OFF by the case (thru Dec. 31st, 2016)

2013-black-sears-zinfandel
2013 Black Sears Vineyard Zinfandel

BLACK SEARS VINEYARD (Howell Mountain) 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.

DRY CREEK VALLEY ZINFANDEL
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!