The SOMM Journal

February / March 2016

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Page 30 of 132

30 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 { wine news } WITH HANDS GRASPED FIRMLY ON TWO HANDLES, Mario Monticelli gave a dramatic pause to say, "Now this is what I call 'The Million Dollar Smell,'" and with that, threw open two towering double doors that lead to a balcony overlooking the barrel room at Trinchero Napa Valley. A rush of air that was a cornucopia of sweet oak and wondrous fermentation aromas permeated my senses—Monticelli had a big grin and sniffed at the air is if it was indeed saturated with million-dollar particles. Monticelli was hired right out of U.C. Davis to work for Philippe Melka as his assistant winemaker, for such brands as Bryant Family, Vineyard 29, Hundred Acre and Quintessa. Later he left to become the winemaker at Quixote in the Stags Leap District. Then, in 2007, Monticelli was offered the job of overseeing winemaking operations at the Trinchero family's first namesake winery—situated on a 22-acre estate just north of St. Helena, CA, and in place of what was previously Folie à Deux. Today, there is a new tasting room under construction (which will be open to the public in the summer of 2016), a hospitality center that employs a full- time kitchen and waitstaff, as well as a new state-of-the-art winery capable of producing 20,000 cases—a significant jump from the current 12,000 cases. The buildings were designed by BAR Architects, and comingle so well with the surrounding landscape that they are almost understated, while the interiors, designed by Erin Martin, follow suit. Rooms are not bombastic in size, but are warm and inviting and posses the kind of reserved opulence you might expect to see in the grand study of a farmer who made it big and travelled the world. From a tasting room in the hospitality center, which is open only to the trade by invitation, we sampled their nationally distributed wines. The Trinchero Napa Valley branded wines debuted in 1995 and pay homage to Mario Trinchero, the founder. Up until recently, there were 12 different vineyard-designate wines that were nationally distributed, but moving forward only three red and one white, which exemplify the diversity of Trinchero Napa Valley, will see national distribution. Monticelli explained the differences in the reds, which we tasted, from a vineyard standpoint. "Mario's Vineyard and Central Park West Vineyard are valley floor vineyards on fertile soil that makes the rounder, softer, more approachable Mario's Cabernet," he said. "Then we took our mountain vineyards—Cloud's Nest and Haystack—which at about 1,600 feet in elevation, produce more tannic, more extracted wines, and we made the BRV Cabernet (which stands for Bob, Roger and Vera, second-generation Trincheros). The third is a Malbec-heavy Bordeaux blend called FORTE, which means 'strong' in Italian, and is sourced from several of our best vineyards in Napa." The 2012 vintages, along with the 2015 Mary's Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, will be available nationally in January of 2016. PHOTO COURTESY OF TRINCHERO NAPA VALLEY Trinchero Napa Valley 2012 BRV Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($80) Violets and anise on the nose; earthy with purple fruit and wild berry character ; beautifully balanced with fine-grained tannins. 3,175 cases. Trinchero Napa Valley 2012 FORTE Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($70) Seductive and intensely perfumed red floral aromas; brambly notes mingle with complex juicy red berry and black fruit; well-balanced with ample body and sweet tannins. 1,325 cases. Trinchero Napa Valley 2012 Mario's Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($50) Layers of red and black fruit; gorgeous floral character ; cassis and mocha on the finish; opulent and nicely structured. 3,250 cases. Trinchero Napa Valley 2015 Mary's Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley ($22) Intensely aromatic, with ripe, exotic flavors on the palate; nicely structured; crisp and cleansing acidity. 3,200 cases. Building a Legacy WITH A NEW TASTING ROOM OPENING THIS SUMMER, TRINCHERO NAPA VALLEY MAKES A SHIFT IN ITS NATIONALLY DISTRIBUTED PORTFOLIO by Jonathan Cristaldi Tasting Notes Mario Monticelli, Winemaker at Trinchero Napa Valley. PHOTO COURTESY OF TRINCHERO NAPA VALLEY

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