Wine Box Blog
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One of my favorite things about working in the wine business is watching the next generation of farmers and winemakers work their way up the ranks. In Europe, it is often a young son coming home from school to tell his father that he no longer wants to sell grapes, he wants to make wine, à la Domaine la Barroche. In California, especially in Napa, it's a bit less romantic. Generally, a Board of Directors involves investment banks to make ownership changes in the Valley. Not exactly the same. So where do new estates come from? How does the next generation take over?
Since the market crash of 2008, we've definitely seen some ambitious young winemakers zig when others zag. Guys like Chad Alexander, whose runaway success story CHAD brought us some of the best deals in American wine we've ever seen. And then there are guys like Ry Richards, the brainchild and winemaker behind a brand-new project, Fiancetto.
Ry Richards refined his hand crafting complex, vibrant Cabernet Sauvignon under the tutelage of Phil Titus at Chappellet Vineyards. Like Chad, Ry is a Napa insider, totally dialed into the grower network. He knows which top vineyards have gone from ten-year contracts to one-year deals, where cash on the barrel a few months before harvest might garner an incredible deal. His debut vintage, 2009, is just that-- an incredible deal...
At Fiancetto, the goal is to craft lush Cabernet with fine tannins that speak to its place of origin. The Gravelly Loam cuveé certainly sings of its source--two well-drained vineyards in the cooler, southern part of the Valley floor. These vineyards are loaded with pebbles and gravel, a gravelly loam that is perfect for vines to send roots deep into the earth, bringing back a terrific mineral quality to the grapes. The wine is great aromatically, with a nose filled with high-toned fruit and baking spice. Ripeness is no issue here; the wine is packed with juicy black fruit, with hints of cedar and cocoa. Complex and layered, the finish is a minute long, truly a classic Napa Cab, one of the best young American wines that I have ever tasted.
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