Come to V. Sattui Winery on April 8th-14th and meet artist Zeny Cieslikowski who will be showcasing his fine art photographs on our picnic grounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Additionally, on April 13 & 14, Fabio Sanzogni will be in the Vittorio Room displaying his original art pieces. Fabio designed our label Paradiso (Premium Bordeaux-blend). The Paradiso will be available to purchase in a special vertical for Arts in April.
Dario Sattui is well known in the Napa Valley as the entrepreneur behind two successful Napa Valley wineries, V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena and Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga. But what many may not know is that Dario Sattui cares deeply about environmental issues and agricultural land preservation, and that he also supports education and vocational programs for youth. It was just announced that he has pledged $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Helena and Calistoga for construction of a permanent Calistoga club facility. Sattui will attend the club’s board of directors meeting on March 20th to present two $500,000 checks, one each from V. Sattui Winery and Castello di Amorosa.
The donation was a perfect fit as the Boys and Girls Club will also teach the children about environmental issues. Sattui believes in order to preserve the land, we must start by educating children. “The Club will teach about the environment and how important it is to preserve it, especially the precious environment in Napa County,” Sattui said. “It will teach of the value of agriculture, and teach nutrition as well as exercise.” He continued, “The Club will tutor kids, teach computer skills, among others, and provide guidance counselors.”
Additionally, for the past eight years V. Sattui has partnered with the Napa Valley Vintners “Adopt-a-School program,” for which V. Sattui yearly hosts 125 students from the 8th grade class of the Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School. The students arrive at 9 am and are greeted by Sattui who speaks to the students of his family’s 19th Century immigration to the USA, and a history of the winery including how they survived prohibition in the 1920s. They then break into small groups where they attend short lectures presented by the V. Sattui executive management team on topics such as the science of winemaking, mathematical applications in business, and language arts as it applies to communication with consumers and employees. At noon students are then treated to a picnic lunch.
Similarly, Castello di Amorosa hosts the school’s 7th grade students providing them with a hands-on historical tour of the 12th century Tuscan castle-winery.
For Sattui, the Adopt- a-School giving is ongoing, both in cash and in-kind. For example, V. Sattui Winery encourages student exercise by providing a grant to the hiking club. Additionally, the winery has delivered a catered lunch from the gourmet Marketplace and Deli as recognition for teachers, staff and administrators. Furthermore, V. Sattui Winery participated in a Summer Scavenger Hunt as well as being a large contributor to the Yosemite scholarship fund field trip for the eighth graders of RLS Middle School.
Sattui is also a significant supporter of Napa Valley Hospice, Hands Across the Valley, St. Helena Family Center’s Student Assistance Program and the Napa Valley Land Trust. In the last 10 years, V. Sattui Winery has protected over 550 acres in the Napa Valley with conservation easements that restrict the development of land with homes and preserves hundreds of acres of vineyards, oak woodlands and grassland open space forever. He also has an active role with the Festival del Sole to help bring music to the Napa Valley.
Late harvest is a term applied to wines made from grapes left on the vine longer than most other wine grapes. The grapes themselves are often raisined, or nearly so, but have been naturally dehydrated on the vine. We allow botrytis to develop—a beneficial fungus that, in response to the humidity of warm days and cool, misty mornings, shrivels the fruit of its water content but preserves its acidity and natural sugars. It takes careful cultivation—and ideal conditions—to foster the growth of this fungus (botrytis cinerea, also called “the noble rot”), for if the weather is unremittingly damp, or rains come shortly before harvest, the botrytis spores run rampant, causing “gray rot” that spreads throughout the clusters, spoiling the fruit.
Even in favorable conditions, harvest workers typically have to go through the vineyard several times to hand-pick the choicest bunches; and often the usable grapes from a single vine may only produce enough juice for a single bottle.
You’ll find that we have been successful once again with a small lot of Riesling that we fostered through the late fall months of 2011 and were rewarded with an amazingly concentrated and intensely flavored after-dinner wine. Rich and sweet, there’s a very desirable honeyed and complex nature to both its aromas and flavors, reminiscent of dried apricot, tangerine and vanilla.
Have you ever come across what appear to be white flakes floating in your bottle of wine? The result is similar to a snow globe. Or perhaps the cork has crystalized? Did you assume that this somehow meant the wine was flawed or ruined?
What you had most likely seen are tartaric crystals, commonly referred to as "wine diamonds."
Tartrate crystals are not uncommon for wines that are minimally filtered. Mass market wines will usually be treated to minimize crystal and sediment precipitation. Tartrate crystals are colorless and add no flavor to the wine (in fact Crème de Tartar is used in cooking as a thickening agent), but can as you noted, cause the wine to be gritty. Here are a couple of things that should mitigate (not eliminate) this issue. First and foremost, we frequently recommend that wines purchased from any winery and shipped via a package express company be laid down and left to rest for 4 to 5 weeks. That will allow any sediment (or tartrate crystals) to settle to one side of the bottle. Then when you are ready to enjoy your rested wine, carefully decant the wine into a decanter, leaving perhaps an inch of wine in the bottom of the bottle. The shape of the bottom of most Bordeaux and many Burgundy bottles have a punt at the bottom, designed in part to help capture the sediment.
Those two steps: letting the wine rest after its bottle shock from travelling, and decanting the wine should minimize the appearance of sediment and tartrate crystals.
by Tom C. Davies, Winery President
Getting away is always good. About five years ago our Marketing VP, Claudette Shatto, had a memorable vacation, spending a couple of weeks touring the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria. She also spent the best part of a week staying at Castello delle Serre, our 1000- year-old castle-hotel near Siena. Tough duty for a working vacation.
Of course her market research included lots of dining and drinking (not sure if in that order). Among her discoveries were wines with few or tiny bubbles, or as Italians say, “Frizzante.” These wines are not really sparkling wines; they’re not as carbonated and are lighter, with lower alcohols and a little sweetness. The most famous Italian frizzante is Moscato D’Asti, a slightly “fizzy” wine made from the Muscat grape grown in the Piedmonte region.
Upon her return to the States, Claudette’s immediate new idea was for V. Sattui to produce a Moscato Frizzante. And we did just that. In the summer of 2008 we released the 2007 Moscato. It sold out in less than four months. Did I mention she’s the VP of Marketing?
Since then Moscato has become very popular with consumers. However our Moscato is very different than what you will find at your local wine shop. The wine fills the glass with aromas of orange blossoms and perfumed flowers, and follows with a delicate, just-enough-sweet softness on the palate from the tiny bubbles to give a wonderful, textural sensation. Our Moscato is the perfect complement to a summertime picnic, light desserts or any celebratory experience.
To make sure we keep all that good stuff from prematurely escaping the bottle, we’ve finished the wine in a screw cap. I know most of you have heard or know that screw caps on certain wines, especially young whites not meant for long-term aging, are preferable to corks. They don’t let air in or out and there’s no risk of cork taint. We’ve also decorated the wine with a new label, bringing back original elements of Vittorio Sattui’s labels from the early 1900s.
My recommendation: Buy this wine. Better yet, buy lots. Chill it, find a couple of wine glasses (no need for flutes, or even stems), and give a quick twist! What follows is simply delicious!
Wine & Spirits Magazine has just published its list of the top American Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet blends for 2012 in its December issue—and V. Sattui is prominent among them.
The Wine & Spirits’ blind tasting panel sampled 750 new-release American Cabernets, rated 109 as exceptional (90+) and 42 as Best Buys. V. Sattui’s 2008 Vittorio’s Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon received both a 90-point score and Best Buy designation.
90| V. Sattui Winery $55.00
2008 Napa Valley Vittorio’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Best Buy) This wine’s plush red cherry flavors are layered with the scents of an Arabian spice market. There’s also a hint of leather and some green herb notes, keeping the wine lean and tight, but not hyper concentrated. A complex textural pleasure to serve with lamb.
Wine & Spirits is one of the top performing magazines with regard to wine, food and spirits, and is a “must-read” for both professionals in the wine industry and anyone interested in wine.
V. Sattui’s 28th annual Harvest Ball was a sucess as we celebrated this year’s harvest with a focus on the cuisine of Italy’s Alto Adige region, and showcased some of our very best wines, both new and aged. The evening began with a champagne reception, followed by a six-course Italian feast, and music and dancing lasting into the night.
2012 is shaping up to be a great vintage year in the Napa Valley.
The Napa Valley experienced a relatively dry winter, but spring rains added plenty of moisture to the ground, giving the vines an early start on spring growth. This summer saw mostly moderate temperatures, with only a couple of short heat spikes; but the recent string of warm to hot weather pushed grape maturity along and vintners expect this year’s harvest to be one of the biggest, due to increased berry set and cluster size.
“We’ll be starting our harvest of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for sparkling wine very soon to produce our lovely Brut: the Prestige Cuvee,” explains Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter. “The Pinot Noir is picked earlier, before it is fully-colored, and then gently pressed to avoid red pigments and tannins in the juice,” he added. “The Chardonnay is picked slightly riper,” he continued, “then they are fermented separately and carefully blended before the second 'methode champenoise' fermentation in the bottle.”
“Sauvignon Blanc from our Carsi Estate vineyard was tested yesterday, and the 'brix' (sugar-content) lead us to expect that harvest will begin of this early-ripening varietal by the third week of August,” remarked V. Sattui's Associate Winemaker Laura Orozco. The first reds—Pinot Noir, Merlot and some Zinfandels—will arrive at the crush pad around mid-September. Both Painter and Orozco predict that the winery will begin crushing Cabernet Sauvignon in late September through mid-October. The red grapes are looking excellent and quality should be very high this year.
We look forward to having you here soon!
It's a big question that’s been fermenting for years among wine producers, from Bordeaux to California to New Zealand. Throughout history, corks have provided a fairly benevolent environment in which wines can mature. But there’s been a recent shift=from cork to metal among some producers as an increased amount of wine seemed to be suffering from cork taint, leaving some wine tasting musty and dull. The culprit, which can spoil up to one in twenty bottles, is trichloroanisole (TCA), a compound formed when chlorine used for bleaching reacts with mold already growing in the cork. Humans are incredibly sensitive to the compound and can detect it even in weak dilutions. The problem with tainted corks is thought to be on the up because cork manufactures are finding it increasingly hard to find supplies of good quality cork to meet an increased demand; though there’s some evidence the cork industry is turning this trend around.
What About Synthetic Cork?
Of course, another alternative is synthetic ‘cork’, which is already in widespread use; but many vintners realize these do not provide a tighter seal than natural corks, many tasters complain of ‘plastic taint’, and many consumers find them difficult to remove and impossible to recycle.
An Industry Stance?
There is no official view yet among wine industry professionals. The general consensus is that it is up to the producers to decide how to close their wine. Everyone does agree that slow oxygenation is needed to age some types of wine. Screw cap proponents argue that wine is aged by oxygen in the wine itself and the tiny amount of residual air held between the cap and wine, while many producers remain resolute in their belief that oxygen is able to gradually seep through cork and into the bottle, and that this is the only way wine can mature.
And One More Thing…
Then we’re observing in Australia and New Zealand, where screw caps are plentiful, their solution to overcome the major obstacle facing screw caps—post-bottling sulphide reduction—is to dose wines with ‘heavy metal’ in the form of copper sulphate. No telling yet whether it’s something we’d embrace here; but, to purists, this philosophy demands that wines must adapt to its container, not the other way around. Where most people want fewer chemicals in their food and drink these days, screw cap advocates seem to be stepping in with more.
V. Sattui’s Position: Yes and No.
Our belief is that people haven’t attempted to keep wines for a long time with a screw cap, so we’re not going to switch wholly to metal closures without better evidence. While some wineries have taken the lead (risk?) in switching entirely to screw caps, we prefer to take small steps and have bottled six of our wines in metal closures. We believe they’re fine for maintaining freshness and fruitiness in our wines meant to be consumed early. So far we’ve seen no compromise in quality, nor has it met much customer resistance. But we’ll need more empirical data before moving further. We’re pretty sure that for long-term aging, cork is still it. Meantime, it seems change is likely to move at the pace of a maturing fine wine—all in good time.