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.
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.”
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!
Our winemakers at V. Sattui are always looking for new and innovative ways to make wine. Our latest release has hatched a cult following of folks who like crisp, refreshing flavors and are lured to the glass by the floral aromas. The 2013 Dancing Egg is a dry Riesling made from grapes that have been fermented in both a concrete egg, and stainless steel barrels.
Winemaker Laura Orozco is at the top of the pecking order for this wine. She has worked at V. Sattui since 2006, starting out as enolgist in the lab and quickly working up to Winemaker, and her vision for this dry Riesling was to make it in an old-world style with a contemporary twist. She has accomplished this not only with the wine, but with the fun label too.
“I wanted an old-fashioned style label to help the wine stand out on our shelves,” says Laura. “I worked with our label designer, Michelle LeBlanc, and when she showed me the “Humpty Dumpty” character I wasn’t expecting it, but I fell in love with it. Maybe because I’m the mom of two young girls and the nursery character just spoke to me!”
While egg-shaped tanks are a new tool in the “winemaking tool belt”, concrete tanks have been used in winemaking for centuries. Concrete is porous, so the tanks can breathe, like barrels, but without adding any oak character to the wine. The egg shape plays a role creating a natural stirring effect during fermentation. So the yeast in the wine is twirling and dancing while inside the egg. The concrete also adds some minerality and complexity to the wine.
Our concrete egg on our production pad, next to its more well-known cousins, stainless steel and oak.
“The egg gives roundess to the wine,” says Laura. “We still ferment some of the fruit for the blend in a stainless barrel which helps it keep the bright fruit flavors. When the two are combined it results in a beautiful wine that is aromatic and fruity, but when you sip it, it finishes clean and crisp. It’s not too dry, and it’s not too sweet.”
Serve Dancing Egg as an apéritif before your next celebration, or pair it with sushi, grilled fish, or a fresh goat cheese and crackers.
On Saturday, January 24th, V. Sattui will host our annual Barrel Tasting & New Release Party. Like all of our events, this party is a lot of fun and offers the chance to enjoy our wines, some great food and wine pairings, and groove to live music. But what makes this party special is the great opportunity guests have to taste wines straight from the barrel and purchase wine Futures from us.
What are Futures?
Definition: Wines still aging in the barrel. Purchasing wine Futures is a practice that has been going for centuries in France, where they call it en primeur. V. Sattui is one of the first Napa Valley wineries to also offer wine futures, and we have been doing so for more than 30 years. Our Barrel Tasting Party is the very first opportunity to taste and purchase the previous year's vintage straight from the barrel. Throughout the remainder of the year, members have the opporutinty to enjoy barrel tasting in our private Cellar Club. Barrel sampling is also offered to non-members by request for $25 per person.
If you’re convinced that a particular wine is destined to be a great one, you may pre-purchase the wine by the case with a 50% deposit, automatically locking in a lower pre-release price.
Why should I buy Futures?
By purchasing the wine early, customers have the opportunity to purchase a wine dramataically below the release price. Once you've purchased Futures, during later visits you may taste your wines as they mature and develop in the barrel. After the wine is bottled, we send notice to you for the balance remaining, and instruction for shipping or pickup.
How to Pick a Winner
When tasting wine from a barrel, remember that the wine is not finished! They are young, a bit wild and unruly; much like a teenager!
It is wise to taste the current vintage of the wine that is already in the bottle, after tasting it's younger version from the barrel, so you can compare the finished wine to the wine in progress. This also gives you a literal taste of wine education as you follow a wine to see how it ages in a barrel and in the bottle. When you purchase futures at V. Sattui we encourage you to return to the tasting room and keep tasting “your wine” as it ages in the barrel over the course of a 2-3 year period.
A Wise Investment
According to InvestorIdeas.com, investors in fine wine can make a healthy profit. However, most of us buy wine futures for pure enjoyment. Purchasing Futures gives you a chance to taste and acquire limited release wines, many of which sell out or are unavailable later. It also offers the opportunity to save money on the wines that you love, since many of them appreciate in price once they are bottled and sold. In addition, V. Sattui club members who purchase wine Futures at our Barrel Tasting Party receive 20% off a case of futures.
Whether you attend our annual Barrel Tasting Party or not, we do hope you’ll explore the world of wine Futures with us. It’s a fun way to learn about wine and to secure some extraordinary wines at a great price. See you in the Cellar Club!
You may recognize Chef Stefano Masanti from some of our memorable events at V. Sattui, like our Harvest Ball where this year he created a beautiful six-course meal for our 490 guests. Or you may have tasted his delicious wood-fired pizza at our Crush Party in October. Stefano has become a good friend to our Winery family, and we are thrilled that he will be joining us next year from April to October as a guest chef at the Winery!
Stefano will create food for group events, weddings, and other special occasions at V. Sattui. In his home town of Madesimo, Italy, Stefano is known for sourcing the best local ingredients to use in his restaurant, Il Cantinone. He’s a member of the international Slow Food organization, and he has received numerous accolades, including a Michelin star, and his restaurant was just awarded by Gambero Rosso, a well-respected food and wine magazine, as one of the best Italian restaurants that promotes local food and farmers. Il Cantinone was also just named one of the best 60 restaurants in Italy by L’Espresso, the guide to Italian restaurants.
Stefano and his wife, Rafaella, run not only the restaurant in the ski-resort town of Madesimo, but also a small hotel called the Sport Hotel Alpina. While Stefano is busy cooking delicious food, Rafaella, a sommelier, pairs it with great wine and makes sure all restaurant and hotel guests are comfortable. Stefano and Rafaella are the epitome of warm, Italian hospitality. ..easygoing and funny, yet conscientious of every detail that goes into making people feel welcome. After spending just a few hours with them, it is easy to feel as if you’ve been friends forever!
The couple plans to continue their philosophy of cooking with local ingredients while they’re at V. Sattui. They set out to discover the abundance of produce, fish, meats and cheeses in Napa and Sonoma counties and to meet the people who make them. We’d like to share this journey with you.
Preservation Sanctuary & Learning Center- Calistoga
Douglas Hayes is the owner of this small farm, tucked into a hillside in Calistoga. Hayes is devoted to preserving heritage breed chickens, hogs, and produce. To hear him talk about the relationship among the animal, farmer and the cook is a spiritual experience. His staunch belief is that love and respect for animals and all life results in delicious food that is good for you. Mindful chefs in the area agree. You will find meat and produce from Azalea Springs Farm at a few local restaurants, including the French Laundry, who purchases eggs from his chickens.
Tierra Vegetables Farm Stand- Santa Rosa
This urban 20-acre farm is a mecca for both chefs and home cooks looking for local, fresh produce throughout the year. Tierra Vegetables grows a wide variety of vegetables, chilis, beans (fresh and dried). They even grow and mill their own corn meal and produce popcorn! Brother and sister Wayne and Lee James have created a ground-breaking partnership with the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to lease 17 of their acres from the county. The result is a convenient, family-friendly farm that is accessible to the public. Check their website for farmstand hours and special events.
Haverton Hill Creamery
This family owned and operated sheep dairy was just established in 2010.
Joe and Missy Adiego, along with Joe’s parents, Tony and Jolene Adiego, have a passion for animals and agriculture and a drive to produce top quality sheep’s milk and products made from the milk. Haverton Hill sells their farm-fresh sheep’s milk at Whole Foods markets and other specialty retailers in the Bay Area. Soon you’ll also find their creamy sheep’s milk ice cream and sheep’s milk butter too. Not only is sheep’s milk highly nutritious, it can be consumed by people who are lactose intolerant.
Pioneers Craig Ramini and Audrey Hitchcock are the animal lovers behind this small, unique farm and creamery. It started with Craig’s dream to get back to his Italian roots and make real buffalo mozzarella cheese. However, that requires milk from Italian water buffalo, which are not found in the U.S. Craig fixed that problem by starting his own herd. Currently they make fresh buffalo mozzarella and some ricotta cheese for wholesale to a few Bay Area restaurants. But when you see it on a menu, it is worth ordering this handmade, farmstead cheese.
Double 8 Dairy
This is a newer Italian water buffalo dairy, located just a few miles from Ramini Mozzarella. After purchasing the buffalo from the Ramini farm, Andrew Zlot started his own dairy and creamery where he uses the creamy, rich milk to make gelato. The Double 8 Dairy gelato is available in restaurants and a few specialty markets in the Bay Area. Look for flavors like Fior di Latte, which translates to just the flavor of the milk. They don’t add cream, eggs or vanilla, yet the gelato is some of the creamiest you’ll find, due to the high fat content in the buffalo milk. Also look for Raspberry (made with local fruit) and Candy Cap Mushroom!
If you are looking for an elevated, intimate and exclusive tasting experience, look no futher. On those chilly autumn days, V. Sattui is now offering a fireside tasting located in our Vittorio's Tower. It will include our estate wines, limited releases and even some older vintages, such as our 2007 Preston Vineyard Cabernet - a bold valley floor Cabernet from the acclaimed Rutherford AVA with ripe cherry flavors, or our 2009 Mount Veeder Cabernet - a highly-awarded hillside Cabernet with rich flavors of plum, cassis and an herbal tinge.
As you cozy up by the fire, savor six of some of our best wines at a cost of $20 per person ($15 for club members). Curl your fingers around a glass and enjoy respite from the cold, blustery day outside. It's a tasting experience to share with friends and family alike as we move into the holiday season.
Fireside tastings are offered from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on chilly days from mid-October through March. No reservations are necessary.
Available only to guests 21 years of age and older.
Call us at 707-963-7774 for more information. See you soon!
COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainability has been a core value at V. Sattui throughout all aspects of Winery and vineyard operations since it was founded in 1976. As a California Certified Sustainable winery, V. Sattui's commitment to stewardship of the land is inherent in all techniques it employs from soil and vine to the bottle.
Throughout the Winery, energy conservation is prioritized from the use of solar power to adherence to a stringent composting and glass recycling program and the selection of organic and biodegradable products to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
The viticulture team is constantly evaluating the environmental impact of its farming practices. Certified through the Fish-Friendly Farming program, V. Sattui introduces beneficial predators and organisms in the vineyards to reduce the need for use of damaging pesticides or herbicides, in line with its commitment to preserving natural wildlife habitats. This dedication extends beyond the Winery to a family of private grape growers who tend their vineyards with the same care and concern required to make the distinctive wines for which V. Sattui is known.
VITTORIO'S VINEYARD, ST. HELENA: The original Estate vineyard property of V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, adjacent to the Winery itself. It is currently planted to seven varieties, with Cabernet Sauvignon comprising well over half of the 34 acres. As of the 2012 vintage, Vittorio's Vineyard is USDA Certified Organic, and so our Vittorio's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, from that vintage, is our first estate wine that will be entitled to use the designation.
"We've always tried to take a proactive role in preserving the health of the lands we have," explains vineyard consultant Larry Bradley. "Vittorio's has actually been organic for the past five seasons, but the process of certification takes a while." What this means is that no chemicals or inorganic fertilizers are used that could leach into the groundwater. "This of course is more costly," says Larry, "but we believe we're doing the right thing and that the resulting wines will be more flavorful."
The spacing between Vittorio's vines have been planted with all organic cover crops, mostly bell beans and other legumes and grasses. "Green manures," as Larry describes them. "We want lean soils," he says, "and we supplement the weaker areas with fish emulsions and other organic composts."
BLACK-SEARS VINEYARD, HOWELL MOUNTAIN: At just over 2400 feet, it is among the highest vineyards in all of Napa Valley. The unique climate of Howell Mountain produces wines with a firm structure, intense fruit flavors, earthy spice, and round acidity. The ashy, iron-laden soils are perfectly suited for growing full-bodied, peppery Zinfandel that have inspired a dedicated following from many V. Sattui fans. The Black-Sears family is committed to caring for the land they call home, farming organically and biodynamically in the vineyard and in their orchards and gardens. Wine lovers who have enjoyed the fruit and the wines of the Black-Sears vines will testify: "there's just something special about that vineyard."
What is "biodynamic" farming?
Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that treats farms as unified and individual organisms, emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants, and animals as a self-nourishing system.
Regarded by many as the first modern ecological farming system, biodynamic farming has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasizing the use of manures and composts and excluding the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays (preparations 500-508), and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.
Q: "Are you guys crazy, practicing this voodoo?"
A: "Yes. But crazy people grow the best wines."
THE PEOPLE: The value of sustainability extends beyond the ecological sense of the word, and into the ethos of employee (and guest) relations at V. Sattui, where members of the staff are valued highly and treated like family. The environment at V. Sattui provides such a healthy work/life balance that it isn't uncommon for employees to stay with the winery for decades.
V. Sattui is committed to all changes resulting in the preservation of the habitat for generations to come. We're very excited about participating in preserving our vineyard land and watershed, reinforcing the idea that we not just see the vineyards for the vines, but for all the living things that share our ecosystem.
We invite you to celebrate Earth Day every day with V. Sattui Winery!
Zinfandel arrived in the United States in the 1820s and was first cultivated along the East Coast. It was brought to California in the 1850s and by the late 19th century was the state's most widely planted grape. It was very popular with home winemakers during Prohibition, but its reputation declined in the years following repeal. The grape was generally relegated to workhorse status. That began to change in the mid-to-late 1960s as winemakers and savvy drinkers began to discover the elegance and versatility that great Zinfandel could offer. Credit Ridge Vineyards of Saratoga, founded in 1962, for putting a serious face on the grape with their ground-breaking single vineyard wines.
V. Sattui’s Zinfandels were first released in 1975 with only a modest blend and a single Howell Mountain bottling. We now offer eight different vineyard-designated Zins, each distinctive and representative of its origin. SHOP NOW >>
FROM THE VIDEO ARCHIVES: Watch the Wine Guys explain the term "old Vine" Zinfandel
Size Does Matter!
When it comes to bottle sizes, the bigger the bottle, the greater potential for aging wines for the long term. Here’s why: the space between the top of the wine in the bottle and the bottom of the cork is referred to as the ullage. This space contains a very limited amount of air, which over time, oxidizes the wine very slowly. This slow, oxidative process is part of the magic that happens in a bottle of wine as it ages and it allows the wine to mellow and soften. Over time, corks also allow a minute amount of oxygen into the bottle, further accelerating the aging process.
The oxidation rate in bottled wine is a function of the ratio of air to wine in the bottle and the length of time of aging. Because big bottles contain more wine with about the same amount of ullage, these bottles can age much longer, compared with the traditional 750ml bottle, and can achieve complexities and flavors unique to their size. Large format bottles also allow us to drink older vintages long after 750ml bottlings have become old and tired. For these reasons, big bottles are preferred by collectors and wine enthusiasts.
Magnum to Nebuchadnezzar
Wine bottles range in size from the airline 187ml (quarter of a bottle) to sovereign, a bottle that holds 67 bottles or nearly six cases of wine (now that’s a party wine!) Each year, we bottle a limited number of magnums (2 bottles), double magnums (4 bottles), imperials (8 bottles) and Nebuchadnezzars (equal to 20 bottles) of our Preston and Morisoli Vineyard and Reserve Cabernets.
We guarantee that you will be the biggest hit at your next party if you show up with one of these gargantuan bottles. The wax seal is brittle and breaks off easily with a few raps of a dinner knife handle or similar blunt object, and please be sure to use a good waiter’s corkscrew and pull slowly and straight! How do you pour wine from a big bottle? Very carefully.
We have listed the most recent vintages in magnum and double magnum online.
For older vintages and larger formats call 707-963-7774
There are few experiences greater than being in the Napa Valley in Autumn. Driving around at night when the air becomes colder and heavy, you can smell deep, profound aromas emanating from the pressed skins (called pomace) in the vineyards which literally perfume the air.
……….And the colors!! Vibrant colors bounce off a mantle of green grass brought about by fall rains. Did you ever wonder why certain vineyards become yellow and others red or both? Probably not. Well, without becoming too technical here is what you don’t see. The petiole (leaf stem) swells with the onset of colder and longer nights which does two things. It causes the Palisade layers in the leaf to collapse and chlorophyll production ceases turning the leaf yellow instead of green.
Secondly, at this time of year, all of the vine’s energy is now headed for the roots where it will be stored for bud break and initial shoot development next spring. Some vines and vineyards have contracted virus infections carried by mealy bugs or nematodes. This interferes with the movement of fluids in the vine and some of the anthocyanins (the stuff that makes tannin in wine) are trapped in the leaves turning them completely red or a mottled red. Some examples are Red Leaf Roll and Red Leaf Mosaic which effects the leaves more than the vines. The vines will wake up around mid March, as they do every year, and they will be just fine. You probably will not be able to look at a vineyard the same way again. In any event, when you are about to enjoy a glass of V. Sattui wine, just give our vineyards a little mental toast for all of the hard work they do.
Reprinted from KGO-TV/DT
If an expert were to guess the date only by looking at grapes ripening on vines, he or she would most likely say August, even based on what we're seeing in July. Grape growers say they're facing one of the earliest harvests ever.
The French word "veraison" describes when grapes turn from green to purple and signals ripening. It's happening now in the Napa Valley. According to Tom Davies, who runs V. Sattui Winery, this is the warning bell, or the start of a countdown to a harvest that may begin three weeks earlier, this year
It's all due to the weather. The dry spring kick started the grape growing season.
In reality, every wine from every season, even from the same vineyard, is different. Early wines from warmer seasons may be bolder, with more alcohol.
If the reds seem to be ripening fast, they're nothing compared with the whites. They don't change color, they just get softer and those grapes are almost ready now. Champagne grape growers say they could be picking by the first week of August.