Sometimes in life, you just get lucky. For V. Sattui Winery and many other Napa Valley wineries, 2012 is a truly exceptional vintage.
“We knew in early spring we were looking at a very good vintage,” says Brooks Painter, Head of Winemaking for V. Sattui Winery. “As the season progressed, with phenomenal weather that allowed fruit to ripen evenly and completely, we realized that we were actually experiencing one of those ‘perfect’ vintages—long and cool, and with the best fruit we’ve seen in a long time.”
Wine writer Robert Parker agrees that both the 2012 and 2013 vintages from Napa Valley are special.
“The biggest problem in Napa Valley (unlike Bordeaux or other areas where Cabernet Sauvignon is grown) is that Napa can have very damaging and stressful heat spikes well over 100 degrees F that can last from three days to as long as a week,” says Parker. “The negative results can cause grapes to raisin, threatening dehydration and inflicting stress on the delicate health of the vines. This never occurred in 2012 or in 2013. Grapes, much like people, mature and flourish under ideal conditions, and both vintages provided that.”
We have just released three of our five 2012 single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. In general, they are wines with well-structured tannins, rich concentration, and developed aromatics that define the vintage. Most of the fruit was picked at ideal ripeness before rain fell in late October, making coordination of the avalanche of grapes arriving in the winery one of the greatest challenges of the harvest. It is a great vintage from both a growing and volume perspective; we had fantastic yields of some fantastic wines. This is truly a classic vintage.
From Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online: “V. Sattui's 2012 Mount Veeder Cabernet is a classic Napa Valley mountain red, a rich, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon with broad shoulders and impressive dimension. This vintage shows rich black fruits, chewy tannins and a generous dollop of oak that matches the heft of the wine. A panel of advanced and master sommeliers at the 7th annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition loved it and awarded it Platinum and a score of 94 points.”
From Rich Cook, Wine Review Online: “The juggernaut that is V. Sattui Winery continues to roll out spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard. The nose is extremely deep and complex, with solid varietal character, firm tannic structure, lively acidity and a long finish that is currently emphasizing elegant red fruit and spice. This deserves five to ten years additional bottle aging to bring out all of its charms, though they are already many.”
From Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online: “With soft, supple tannins and a juicy blackberry and blueberry core, this is a delightful Cabernet Sauvignon that can be enjoyed now while you wait for some of the more muscular Napa Valley Cabs from this outstanding vintage.
2012 Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
A Platinum Award winner at the 2015 Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition
From Rich Cook, Wine Review Online: “A favorite vineyard source of mine, and thankfully, also a favorite of some great winemakers. Brooks Painter and his crew always bring out all that Morisoli has to offer, and in this vintage it's lively raspberry fruit, joined perfectly by pie spice, mild dried herbs, cedar and cigar. It's got a big structured backbone that begs further aging while providing great delight at present. Decant, or go long? You win either way. “
A few years ago, our “Ray of Sunshine” employee, Lynn Catania, had the chance to visit family in Sicily. Lynn loves to cook and was hoping to learn some dishes from her native land. It took four days (she was only staying with them six days!) for her Aunt to allow her into the kitchen. But oh what a recipe they made!
“This dish was so simple, but it tastes like heaven,” says Lynn. “The leeks melt in your mouth, and the fish is so tender. I’ve also made it with scallops.”
Makes 4 servings
4 Halibut fillets or steaks
(you may substitute another firm white fish like cod or swordfish. See note below for using scallops.)
4 -6 leeks
1 shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups dry white wine
We suggest V. Sattui’s Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, or our Dry Riesling
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Season fish with salt and pepper. Let set out at room temperature while you prepare the leeks.
In this recipe, you want to use the green part of the leeks. Cut off the ends of the leeks, then slice through the point where white meets green. Save the whites for another recipe. Slice through the green portion of the leek lengthwise. Clean the leeks under cold running water, as leeks are usually dirty. Once the leeks are free of any dirt or grit, cut each half into slices.
In a sauté pan large enough to hold the leeks in one layer (and a pan that has a lid), heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the leeks and cook for 1-2 minutes more, just to get them a little browned and let the oil get into the leeks. Add the wine, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer- until leeks are semi-soft, about 15 minutes. Nestle seasoned fish into the leeks. Cover and cook until fish is firm, and leeks are soft, about another 15 minutes.
Before serving, drizzle a little more olive oil over the fish. Serve with polenta or risotto and a glass of the wine you used in the dish. Cheers!
Note: If you choose to use scallops in this dish, brown them in a pan first, before nestling into the cooks. Also, shorten the cooking time to 5-10 minutes, as scallops cook faster.
Lynn Catania is sunshine personified. Her sunny personality lights up our Cellar Club when she’s pouring wine for members, and it’s perfect for the outreach she does with our local hotels and B&B’s. Her smile is infectious, especially after she’s hit you with a quick witted a one-liner, or bursts into song with her beautiful voice.
Lynn is a Napa local and grew up working at her family’s restaurant, Catania’s Pizza, which was a favorite hangout for locals. This job fueled her passion for cooking, a hobby she still continues today. She’s also a great floral designer and even owned her own flower shop at one time.
Q: When did you first start at V. Sattui?
A: “The first time, I was 18 years old. A friend got me a job working in the deli. This was back in the day when we didn’t have an automatic vacuum sealer for the deli meats. It was all hand-done by wrapping the plastic really tight. My arms still ache when I think about it! I also worked in the cheese case and at the registers.
About 18 years later, I worked in our Events Department helping with weddings and parties. A few years ago I was working at Artesa Winery in the Tasting Room, and Tom (Davies, President of V. Sattui) called me one day and asked, ‘When do you want to come home?’ And that was it. Working here is like coming back to family. It’s my home base.”
Q: Now you work in our Cellar Club and get to see our best members daily. You also help out with our Wine of the Month Club?
A: “I love our members. I have so much fun down there! People come from all over the world to see us. They just love V. Sattui Winery. I have members that come in and want to have lunch with me, which I’m just too busy to do! They plan a day just to come here, and don’t want to visit anywhere else. I get invitations to visit their homes. They’ll say ‘If you’re ever in St Louis, or San Antonio, or Hawaii or wherever – you can stay with us.’ They bring me gifts too. I got a Lady Gaga toothbrush once! V. Sattui isn’t just a Winery, it is a wonderful, extended family.”
Q: Speaking of family, you recently got to visit family in Italy and learn to cook some of their dishes?
A: Yes, I visited my Aunt in Sicily. On the 4th day of the six that I stayed with her, she allowed me into the kitchen to help her cook. This was a major accomplishment!
Q: What is your favorite V. Sattui Wine?
A: I’m very seasonal with my drinking. I like the Anderson Riesling in the summer. It’s not overly dry, but has these nice crisp, apple flavors. In the fall, I just love the Entanglement. I always tell people this is the wine I reach for when I hit a wall with Pinot. It’s a chameleon wine – it can be heavy and seductive or bright and acidic. In the winter I really love our Morisoli or Mt Veeder Cabernets.
Let us take you on a short, virtual journey to one of our favorite places. V. Sattui’s Henry Ranch is located in the Los Carneros appellation at the southern end of Napa Valley. It is the one appellation that is shared by both Sonoma and Napa counties.
Henry Ranch is on the Napa side of the border and it is made up 528 acres that have seen their share of history, yet have remained relatively untouched by time. When you’re there, you can close your eyes and almost hear the sounds of antique farm equipment powered by horses and humans.
Once home to Wappo Indians and then Spanish and Mexican settlers living on one of General Vallejo’s grants, the land was acquired by the Henry Family in 1850. It operated as a dairy ranch with an ingenious tram system of moving hay into the barn and taking milk out when Carneros Creek made road passage impossible during the winter months.
Dario Sattui purchased this property in 1993 from Herb Henry, one of the last living Henry family members, now in his late 80’s. Dario remains friends with him today.
“He is eccentric, almost innocent and unspoiled and a throwback to a previous generation of people who worked the land. He lived without a phone, without a TV, in a trailer and eventually in a culvert under the ground. He never drove a car to my knowledge and did the farm work with primitive equipment. I don’t know if he and his brother Ralph ever had a tractor on the farm. He even spun thread from wool and tanned hides.”
A small portion of this land, 111 acres total, has been planted to grapes. Henry Ranch’s cooling breezes from the San Pablo Bay and daytime heat on the lowlands and the hills that are part of the Mt. Veeder appellation, are the perfect mix for growing acclaimed Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscat Canelli, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Add in rolling grassy hills, old oak trees and slopes over 900 ft. with views of the Napa Valley to the north and San Francisco to the south—you see why Dario was attracted to this property. But of course, so were many developers who wanted to build homes. To keep this place intact, Dario had to buy out these developers’ options and place their escrows in his name. Since then, he’s placed 528 acres of the property including historic buildings, Carneros Creek and tributaries to the creek in the Land Trust of Napa County. Three quarters of this land will remain forever wild and undeveloped.
“It was and is such a beautiful valley I didn’t want to see it spoiled with homes. I wanted to preserve it, so it will never be built upon. We want to preserve the beauty for future generations. We have also fixed up the historic barns attempting to preserve what was. We are only custodians who must preserve the historic and wild nature of the property to pass it on as we found it for those who come later.”
We do our very best to take care of Henry Ranch with sustainable vineyard practices. We use cover-crops in the winter that attract beneficial insects that feed on harmful ones that can damage the vines. Cover-cropping also reduces soil erosion and, in the spring, we plow down the cover crop which acts as a natural fertilizer and returns valuable nitrogen to the soil. We compost our pomace (leftover skins and seeds after pressing) for a year, then use the composted material as nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer in the vineyard. To combat vertebrate pests such as birds and turkeys, we use an audio system in the vineyard with speakers that emit actual bird distress and predator calls which ward off pest birds. We’ve also continued our Fish Friendly Farming certification that protects harmful runoffs into creeks and streams and provides wildlife corridors between vineyard blocks.
At V. Sattui we believe the best grapes and the best wine comes from a land that is loved and cared for. Our Henry Ranch is a shining example of that.
We are very fortunate to often have fresh Dungeness crab, that delicate, sweet and tender crustacean found along California’s western shores. In our Deli, we offer a little mayo and some wedges of lemon to go alongside; but we also particularly like them, slightly warmed, atop a lightly dressed mound of baby greens. These are 4-ounce crab cakes. Serve one as a first course; two as a main course.
(Makes 8 four-ounce cakes)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup red bell pepper, small dice
½ cup yellow bell pepper, small dice
½ bunch scallions (green onions), green part only, cut ¼ inch
1 pound fresh Dungeness crabmeat
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups fresh focaccia crumbs
2 quarts vegetable oil for deep fry
2 cups plain bread crumbs
In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and cook peppers and scallions until tender. Set aside to cool.
Place crabmeat in a large bowl and check for bits of shell. Add the mayonnaise, mustard and focaccia bread crumbs and mix well. Stir in the peppers and scallions.
Heat the vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. If you do not have a fryer, use a heavy 6-quart saucepan.
Place the plain bread crumbs in a medium bowl or on a wide plate.
With a large spoon (and your hands), scoop a mound of the mixture (approximately 4 ounces) and shape a round patty.
Pass the crab patty in the bread crumbs two times, pressing the crumbs with your hands.
Fry or sauté the patties for about three minutes, until light brown.
Let rest on a plate with kitchen paper or paper towels at least 5 minutes before serving.
In the next day or two, grapes are going to start coming into the winery crush pad, and the 2015 harvest will be upon us! This year is even more special as we are honored to host a unique annual tradition that officially kicks off harvest in Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ Annual Harvest STOMP.
“There is simply no event like this one in the world of wine”, Steve Moulds of Moulds Family Vineyards and President of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG). “We take the best time of year in the Valley and throw every great thing about Napa Valley into it: the vineyard setting, the wines, the food, the people, and the camaraderie that exists is unparalleled.”
This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, August 22, and tickets have already sold out. There is a wait list if you’re interested in the possibility of attending, but this blog is about sharing information on two missions that we are happy to partner with NVG through this event: to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards, and to support the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation.
We are hosting STOMP at our Henry Ranch in the Los Carneros appellation at the southern end of Napa County. This 525-acre property is a shining example of preserving Napa Valley’s agricultural heritage. It was once home to the Wappo Indians and part of an original Spanish land grant. Around 1850 the land was purchased by the Henry family, who farmed and raised livestock on the ranch until Dario Sattui bought the property from Herb Henry in 1993. To date, 120 acres of sustainably-farmed vineyards have been planted and virtually all of the 525 acres of land have been protected by any further development through conservation easements and the Land Trust of Napa County, ensuring the unspoiled beauty of this ranch for future generations.
STOMP also helps support the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation. The Napa Valley is known for its world-class vineyards that produce the world's highest quality wines, but what really makes this valley so special are the people. The Napa Valley farmworker community is the heart, soul and foundation of our industry. Founded by the NVG in 2011, the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation supports and promotes Napa Valley’s vineyard workers through education and professional development. This foundation is the only one of its kind in the United States and to date has helped more than 7,500 vineyard workers and their families. Not only are the lives of Napa Valley’s vineyard workers improved, but also their families, their children, and our community-at-large.
Cheers to the 2015 harvest! May it be bountiful not only in wine grapes, but also in keeping Napa Valley a beautiful destination, and one of the best places to live.
Winter rains promote the rapid growth of wild mustard in the Napa Valley. January visitors are treated to our Valley floor being blanketed in a vibrant carpet of bright yellow mustard flowers. So it’s no accident that mustard is a favorite ingredient of so many Napa chefs—our own included. We’ve found that prawns and mustard have a natural affinity for each other. Add shallots and champagne vinegar and this dish is transcendent. No dipping here...these prawns are already sauced!
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sea salt
3 pounds prawns, heads removed, peeled & deveined
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground red chili flakes
½ cup champagne vinegar
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
In a large pot bring 6 quarts of water to a boil, then add ½ cup of sea salt.
When water begins to boil again, add the prawns. Bring to a boil once more and cook for only a half minute (30 seconds). Drain and let the prawns cool.
While waiting for the prawns to cool, make the emulsion: In a mixer bowl, place the Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, chili flakes and champagne vinegar.
Mix on medium-low for about 1-2 minutes, then add the oil very slowly (so the ingredients don’t separate) until the oil is done.
In a large bowl, place the prawns, then add the emulsion, the shallots and the parsley. Mix very well to coat the prawns. Serve chilled with a bottle of your favorite V. Sattui Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
You've asked and we've heard you! We now offer two tours to satisfy all palates.
The casual encounter; for the lovers of spontaneity and the people who want to get to know us a little better but aren’t quite ready to commit (you know who you are).
Offered daily at 11am and Sunday-Friday at 2pm
45 minute tour
$30 per adult / $15 per child (6-20 years old)
Tasting voucher for our Main Tasting Room
Brief history of the winery
Organic practices in Vittorio's Vineyard
The growing seasons of grapevines
The intimate experience; for the lovers of planning and the people who just can’t resist our charm and want to know EVERYTHING there is to know about winemaking and V. Sattui. Ready to go all in?
Offered Sundays only at noon
1.5 hour tour including tasting
$65 per member / $75 per non-member (21 and older only)
Seated tasting paired with a selection of our own house-cured meats and artisanal cheeses
Everything above plus -
The importance barrel selection
In-depth look at the vineyards and winemaking practices
What it takes to make a great vintage
...and sample directly from the tanks!
Vice President, Operations
• Put $5 of every $100 in a savings account and never touch it. Easy to say, tough to do.
• Set goals, set a plan to achieve those goals, work your plan.
• Life is short. Have fun, love hard, take what you do seriously—but not yourself. Laugh a lot, especially at yourself when appropriate.
"When you land your first job begin to put money away for your retirement. If you aren’t eligible to save into a retirement plan right away, then put money into a savings account that comes directly out of your paycheck. This way you will never notice any difference when you can put it to a retirement account. Attempt to put 10 percent away every paycheck, and don’t leave it in a savings account, put in a money market or something that will make your money work for you.”
Vice President of Events
“Never stop learning.”
“My best advice for a college grad is not to be discouraged if they cannot find a job in their major. They may find that some things they learned in college have a direct application in their current work or even their personal lives."
“My advice would be: Don’t be practical. Take risks. You’ll find that as you get older it gets harder to take a chance on something different. So seize the day, explore your passions and see where they take you.”
“While graduation may be an accomplishment, it is really a humble beginning to life. Learning (aggressively) can never stop. One of the best tools for learning is your Word Power and that is not just your ability to explain things to others, but to explain to yourself as well. Grammar and syntax are equally important. I cringe when I hear ‘Where are you at…???’ OR ‘I had to ran all the way’, OR ‘I have just rang it up.’ No matter how well you have mastered your discipline(s), if you have not mastered your language, you are destined for difficulties.
Wine Club Assistant
“I’ll pass along the best advice my Mom gave me-- don’t get arrested!”
Fernando chose to share a link to four of the most inspirational, life-changing TED talks for students. They’re definitely worth checking out!
We just love the photos that talented photographer Mariah Smith captured of this truly unique wedding held here at the Winery.
Some of our favorites are posted below, but check out Mariah's blog for the full story!