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!
1/2 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
Weddings - and how each couple interprets this auspicious day - are constantly evolving to fit this modern day world, and the diverse couples formed within it. One of our favorite interpretations is in the form of elopements. The special intimacy, the raw power of the couple's bond and their private, almost secretive, exchanged glances - it just makes our hearts a-flutter with the love of love!
Elopements allow the pair to appreciate the comforts of a smaller wedding, filled with only those closest to their hearts.
Nancy and Anthony’s simple, elegant elopement wedding was the epitome of the exuberance two people in love experience on their special day, when free to have their dream ceremony, their way.
Many thanks to the talented Ken Viale, who was on hand to capture those special moments!
Nancy and Anthony on Vittorio’s Tower balcony, just moments before the ceremony.
The couple took an impromptu mid-ceremony break to have a brief video chat with their son who couldn’t be there in person, but managed to make an appearance nonetheless!
Close family members watched in anticipation as bride and groom slid wedding rings onto each other’s intertwined hands.
Our courtyard lit up with vibrant smiles as they kissed for the first time as husband and wife!
What is more fitting than a unity wine pour at a winery wedding; the perfect blend of two lives, and families, becoming one.
Their young son, and ringbearer, was the first to make a toast to the newlyweds – with some delicious Gamay Rouge Grape Juice!
Congratulations, Nancy and Anthony!
Our two lovebirds, Alex and Justine, have been busy planning their wedding with our V. Sattui Wedding Team! Working with our wedding coordinator, Melissa Ferentheil, they came to the Winery for a site visit. The pair are here often to pick up their Wine Club shipments, but Melissa wanted to put them in the mind frame of their wedding guests - walking them past our fountain, through the lush grounds and under our towering ancient oaks. They chose locations for their cocktail hour and the wedding ceremony, then finished in the Barrel Room where the dinner and reception would be held.
Dinner and Reception in the Barrel Room
photo: Shannon Stellmacher
Alex and Justine chose to entertain their guests on Vittorio’s Terrace for their cocktail hour, among the beautiful gardens and stone fountains. The cocktail hour can also take place in the lower courtyard or in our Cellar Club. As for the ceremony, there are so many beautiful options – the romantic tower lawn, the intimate courtyard, or the spacious Barrel Room – and the pair chose a wedding favorite: the courtyard.
Alex and Justine's picks:
Cocktail Hour on Vittorio's Terrace Ceremony in the Courtyard
photo: Ken Viale
And don't worry - no matter what places they chose on property - they're all dog-friendly! You may remember that Alex and Justine had their dog, Trixie, in tow when they got engaged at our winery - and I have a feeling Trixie will be making an appearance at the wedding. I'm excited to see what special role she might play!
Justine, Alex and Trixie
To help the couple with the sometimes overwhelming amount of decisions, we have put together an extensive list of experienced vendors that we have worked with time and again. Every little thing is covered on that list: talented photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, entertainment, florists, and even suggestions for accommodations and transportation.
Plus something that no other winery can offer - Stefano Masanti, our resident Michelin-starred chef from Lombardia, Italy. Stefano has a passion for fresh, local and seasonal cuisine and his wife, Raffa, is a Sommelier who can offer insight into pairing Stefano’s food with V. Sattui’s award-winning wines. He is the exclusive chef for weddings at the winery from April through October.
On a sunny day in early May, Alex and Justine brought their parents in for a special tasting at V. Sattui to choose their wines and their menu.
Alex and Justine with their parents
With Melissa’s guidance, Alex and Justine tasted through several of our award-winning wines to decide which ones would be the perfect fit for their wedding. For cocktail hour – they decided on our refreshing 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, the light and fruity 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, and the cult-favorite 2012 Crow Ridge Ancient Vine Zinfandel to wet their guest’s whistles and get the party started. To pair with dinner – the rich and buttery 2012 Reserve Chardonnay and our intense, mountain-bred 2010 Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. And a special indulgence for the head table only – our plush and earthy 2008 Vittorio’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Let me just say, they have GREAT taste.
Their wedding wine line-up
And no, they didn’t forget the sparkling – apparently Justine is a bit of a “bubbly-head,” so instead having it just served for the toast, she wants the sparkling flowing “all night long!” Prestige Cuvee for everyone! Alex laughed that we probably won’t see her without a champagne flute in her hand.
Alex and Justine brought their wine list with them to the V. Sattui kitchen for their menu tasting with Stefano and Raffa.
Raffa, Alex, Justine, and Stefano
Choosing from Stefano's generous menu offerings (he has pages and pages of enticing hors d’oeuvres, first, second and even third courses, desserts and cakes, like carmelized red beet, almond cheese and crispy almond tuile or rabbit galantine, red onion Italian compote and crispy parmesan), the couple had previously narrowed down the options for dinner service to several possible appetizers, salads and main courses. They were ready to see the chef perform his culinary magic as he prepared each one for them to taste and to make a final decision on the menu.
Bite after succulent bite, Stefano went back and forth between their table and the kitchen, showing them what an addition of this or that to a certain dish would do to the flavors, aware that every part of their special day should be just so. This intimate, chef’s table experience gives the wedding couple a chance to get to know Chef Stefano and his team. Raffa helped them to understand what dishes would go best with their newly-chosen wines. So check chicken, beef or fish – and be prepared to have your tastebuds amazed!
Now it’s time for Alex & Justine to relax and enjoy the days leading up to the big day. And when they say "I do," There are sure to be fireworks - because they will be saying their vows on July 4! I cannot wait to see the photos. Be sure to check back for the final installment on Alex and Justine’s road to wedded bliss!
Fine wine, romantic vineyard views, and lush grounds entice countless visitors to V. Sattui Winery each year. It’s easy to see why so many couples fall in love, get engaged, and get married here. Couples who marry at the winery become part of V. Sattui’s rich history, with their milestone moments and fond memories deeply rooted in our soils.
We recognize each couple has a unique flair, and on their wedding day, it’s important to showcase their unique taste. We are experienced in masterfully customizing our lush landscapes and picturesque spaces into idyllic wedding scenes. The result is a spectacular occasion to cherish for a lifetime.
We congratulate Jennie & Jed who chose V. Sattui Winery to host their beautiful May 2015 wedding – it was truly a perfect pairing! Chantel Giongco took these gorgeous images.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at their grand affair:
The bridal party dazzled with excitement on our Vittorio’s Terrace as they prepared for the big moment.
Meanwhile, our subterranean barrel room was transformed into Jennie & Jed’s vision of elegance.
As Jennie’s brother walked her down the aisle, her smile at her future husband, Jed, was shining bright in the Napa Valley sunlight!
As Jennie & Jed performed the cake cutting ceremony as husband and wife, it marked a new beginning in their relationship – and the start to our thriving summer wedding season!
Cheers to Jennie & Jed! May your glasses always be full –perhaps with some award-winning V. Sattui wine?
Mark Roomian and his loud shirts (I like to call him Marky Mark and the Funky Shirts) have been a fixture here at the winery for many years - since May of 1997. If you’ve ever visited the property, you’ve probably heard him. His booming voice and roaring laughter can be heard all throughout the tasting room. Working up front, I remember no matter where you were working, you could always pick Mark’s voice out of the din, ringing clearly through the tasting room.
What you might not know about Mark is that he is an avid Zin lover, master BBQer, and father to two beautiful girls, Tori and Bianca. I talked with him about the secret to great BBQ and his proudest moments as a father.
Oriana LaForte: What do you think is the most important thing people should know about V. Sattui?
Mark Roomian: That this is a privately-owned business. Still small-family owned and based on old traditions. I still remember when Dario would be here on a Saturday, and he would do the job of the stockers – taking the dirty glasses from behind the bar and washing them in the back and bringing them back out on the floor. He is like that, you know. When you see the guy you work for mopping the floor next to you at the end of the day, that's the place I want to work.
OL: What is your favorite wine?
MR: Zinfandel. I just love the variety you can have. Look you can line up 7 different Pinots and know it’s a Pinot Noir. Same thing with Cab - and dont get me wrong, I love Cab. But Zin – some Zins can be light, some heavy, you can have jammy, or earthy or fruit-forward or peppery – it is just so unique!
OL: And your favorite V. Sattui wine?
MR: Black Sears Zinfandel – that pepper aroma just reminds me of a juicy pepper-crusted ribeye coming right off the grill.
OL: And it goes great with BBQ. You do some BBQ work on the side, right?
MR: I love cooking BBQ. David [of Double D's BBQ] and I go to the Rib Cook-off [in Reno] almost every year. We should be there this year, too. Labor Day weekend.
OL: What is your favorite BBQ?
MR: Whole hog, or brisket. They take longer, but it’s worth it! I helped David do the hog for the employee picnic last year. We watched it for three or four days and man was it good.
OL: Oh yea, I remember that. That was beautiful - juicy and tender and fatty and flavorful – and you know I’m from the South! Any tips or tricks about BBQing?
MR: The rub is more important than the sauce.
OL: Tell me about your girls.
MR: Tori just graduated from Syracuse with a Bachelor’s degree - she double majored in Political Science and Anthropolgy. Bianca finished up her freshman year at Alabama and is back for the summer. Tori is actually driving back with a friend; since she graduated, she has to bring everything back home.
Bianca (right) at her high school graduation with Tori (left) and their cousin, Audrey
OL: So they’ll be able to spend Father’s Day with you! Do you guys have any special plans?
MR: I think we’ll go to my dad’s, and have a nice family dinner.
OL: A multi-generational Father’s Day celebration, I love it! So what is the best thing about fatherhood?
MR: Seeing how they have the best traits of Suzanne [their mother] and I. They love sports and they are outgoing. That’s definitely from me.
OL: They worked here at one time, right?
MR: Yeah. Tori worked in the gift department and Bianca worked the salad case [deli and marketplace].
OL: What would you say is your proudest moment as a father?
MR: I’ve had a lot – and you know how people always tell you how you’re going to be proud when your daughter is born, when she rides a bike for the first time, when she graduates – and you know you will – but when those moments actually happen – man, it’s better. It’s just better than anyone ever said. I think one of the proudest moments was when Tori got her acceptance letter from Syracuse. Because we didn’t really expect it to happen, but when it did – I mean, wow. That was big.
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!
To be named Winery of the Year for a second time this year is truly an honor. The Critics Challenge International Wine Competition was a successful competition for us and we are proud to announce that our special, Bordeaux-style 2011 Paradiso - along with receiving a Platinum medal and a 97 point rating - was also named Wine of the Year and Best Red.
Robert Whitley, the Director and Chief Judge of Critics Challenge as well as publisher of the WineReviewOnline, wrote a glowing article summing up our winnings and calling us “the best Napa Valley winery you’ve never heard of” and lamenting that though we may be “the most medaled winery in America” and our “long record of excellence is impressive,” it is a “shame more wine lovers aren’t aware of [V. Sattui].” We rely on you, our treasured customers, to pass the word along about our brand, because we chose to sell directly to you in order to give you the best prices and ensure the best quality in our wines. So thank you for helping us, by drinking and enjoying our award-winning wines!
We would love to share with you the reviews that Robert Whitley himself wrote on some of our Platinum award winners from Critics Challenge:
Won Wine of the Year and Best Red
"Close your eyes and imagine you've just taken a sip of First Growth Bordeaux at about $1000 a bottle. Then open your eyes and realize it's the 2011 V. Sattui Paradiso, a red Bordeaux-style blend from a so-called off vintage. Paradiso price: $70. This could be the steal of the century if you were the sort of person who overspends on high-end Bordeaux. Paradiso incorporates all five of the red Bordeaux grape varieties, but Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant. This vintage exhibits aromas of cassis and ripe blackberry, with the very Bordeaux-like note of lead pencil and cedar."
- Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015
Platinum Award winner
"V. Sattui is a virtual machine when it comes to producing great Napa Valley Cabernet vintage after vintage. This 2012 Howell Mountain, from the west-facing slopes of the Napa Valley, is a blockbuster that exhibits intense black-fruit aromas, a richly layered palate, and finely integrated tannins, with a subtle wood note in the background. Sensational stuff."
- Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015
Platinum Award winner
"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 to come around."
- Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015
Platinum Award winner
"For as long as memory serves, the Morisoli Vineyard has been one of the Napa Valley's most stunning properties. The Cabernet from this vineyard follows a familiar theme vintage afer vintage, producing complex, supple Cabernet that's easy to drink when young but with the ability to age. The 2012 is just another in a long series of Morisoli Cabs that are suave and seductive. And the price is modest given the history of excellence."
- Robert Whitley, May 26, 2015
On a beautiful Saturday in January, Alex and Justine came to V. Sattui Winery with their dog, Trixie. Alex had told Justine that he wanted to enjoy a “family day,” just the three of them.
But Alex had something up his sleeve.
With nothing planned beforehand, Alex and Justine came to the winery, did a tasting, signed up for our Wine Club and talked with everyone that walked by (because their dog is just that adorable). As Alex checked out, he asked the cashier if there was a quiet spot he could propose to his girlfriend. Well, Alex asked the right person, because it just so happened that Tom Davies, President and Co-Owner of V. Sattui, (and - shall we divulge - hopeless romantic?) was behind the cashier desk that day.
Tom had just the spot – our private Gold Room, an intimate room where stone cubbies are filled with dusty bottles of our older vintage wines and old wooden crates holding the biggest of bottles -the Nebuchadnezzar - lay. Always one to go above and beyond for our customers, Tom went on a quick mission – grabbing a bottle of our Prestige Cuvée sparkling wine, two flutes and a chiller and candles.
By the time they entered the private Gold Room, Justine may have had an idea of what was going on…
The happy(ily engaged) couple
Alex and Justine met in college in 2007 at a birthday party for a mutual friend.
The first meeting
Alex was a Cal student athlete (Go Bears!) and played for the baseball team. Justine being a huge fan of baseball, Alex certainly did not escape her notice when he walked into the room. After spending the greater part of the night in the other’s company, they kept in contact over the next few months.
That Valentine’s Day, they went out to dinner (Olive Garden - life is hard with a student's budget!) and to make the relationship official, Justine presented Alex with personalized M&Ms that read “Will you be my BF?”
After Alex’s initial shock wore off (your first experience with personalized M&Ms is pretty incredible) he said of course- and they’ve been inseparable ever since.
Officially boyfriend and girlfriend (2008) - my, how time flies!
Seven years (and several visits to V. Sattui) later, Alex and Justine have settled in Napa. Alex works for NorCal CrossFit and is very involved in all of the CrossFit games. Justine is a 6th grade teacher at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Napa. Some of her family lives in town as well, and she and he enjoy being closer to them.
One day after the proposal in our Gold Room, Justine called the Winery and asked that we host their wedding, too. Of course, we couldn't be more thrilled! In the next two parts of the series, join them on their wedding journey as they pick out the menu, nail down the details and finally – tie the knot!
In the meantime, check out these beautiful photographs (and meet the adorable Trixie!) from their engagement shoot in San Francisco, shot by the truly talented husband and wife team at jcpagephotography.com
Engagement shoot photos courtesy of the talented duo at jcpagephotography.com
Don't you just love love?
She’s the one who loves you unconditionally. She cooked for you, cleaned up your messes, took care of you when you were sick. Listened while you carried on ad nauseam. Now, she’s one of your best friends and it’s time to do something nice for her.
May we suggest an Italian-style brunch? Made by you (with help from us of course!), and not some generic dish thrown together by a chef in a kitchen who is slammed on one of the busiest restaurant days of the year. You pick out the ingredients, you put in the work, make it with love, and you reap the rewards of knowing you’ve done something really special for the woman who changed your diapers.
Start with the right wine. Our 2012 Cuvée Rouge is a bubbly, easy-to-drink sparkler perfect for beginning her day. She will delight in the beautiful vibrant pink color when you pour it into her champagne flute (yes—you need to do it right, and break out the fancy flutes!).
Next, get ready to serve Mom a yummy, hearty breakfast made with great, fresh, local ingredients. The Frittata recipe below is a gift from Stefano Masanti, a Michelin Star Chef from the Italian Alps who happens to be a friend of ours. Currently he is spending his off-season at V. Sattui, enjoying the abundant produce available in our area, cooking food at our winery and sharing fantastic recipes like this one.
The spices and saltiness in the Italian sausage and the richness of the eggs are a nice foil to the fruity flavors of the Cuvée Rouge. Also, the Frittata could be made ahead of time - right before she arrives. Serve it at room temperature with a fruit or green salad.
We hope you’ll spend time with your Mom on Mother’s Day, or whenever it works for both of you. Enjoy her. Listen to her. Woo her.
She’s worth it!
Serves 4 people
½ pound Salsiccia sausage, or substitute sweet Italian sausage
1 baked and mashed russet potato
16 asparagus spears, blanched, cut in 1/2” pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons V. Sattui Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or other high quality Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Slice sausage links to the size of small coins. Heat a 10-inch frying pan, or cast iron skillet (a pan that can go into the oven) until hot and grill the sausage slices on each side until brown. Remove from hot pan and drain on a paper towel.
In a large bowl, wisk the eggs until fluffy. Add the potatoes, asparagus, and the cooked sausage. Season with salt and pepper and stir the mixture to combine and evenly distribute the ingredients.
Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in the pan you cooked the sausages in. Add the frittata mixture and cook in the oven for 8 minutes or until the eggs are set. Let the frittata cool for 2 minutes, then cut into slices and serve.