Text Size:-+

2000 Ceja Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa

Many of the small production wineries and their wines that I feature here are built with the help of migrant labor, so it's nice to be able to also tell the story of a winery that not only uses migrant labor, but is owned by some of the people that have been working in Napa valley for the last three or four decades.

The Ceja's are and example of one of the first generations of migrant workers who came from Mexico and worked in the vineyards of Napa long enough to be able to buy one of their own. In the last few years Ceja Vineyards has gone from dream to reality, releasing several wines under the family label, all of which leverage the entire family's experience working in Napa and Carneros as pickers, vineyard managers, and enologists.

the grapes for this wine come from fabled Stags Leap district vineyards, and the winemaking, by owner Armando Ceja, is focused on both capturing the characteristics of the grapes as well as making the wine food friendly.

The Ceja family has chosen a bell to decorate their label because of its significance of blessings and good tidings in Mexican culture. The future Ceja tasting room in Napa will also be crowned with a bell, which promises to ring good tidings for this winemaking family whose motto "Amor Vinum Cantus" (Love, Wine, and Song) captures an essence of spirit that represents the best of what Napa has to offer.

Tasting Notes:
The color of light ruby, this wine has an unusually woody nose with strong aromas of oak, dark cherries, smoke, and a hint of figs. The body of the wine is dusty on the palate with smooth tannins and an incredibly restrained set of flavors which touch briefly on red fruit but transition quickly to flavors of loamy earth, herbs, and spices and an average finish. This wine is the opposite of many Napa cabs which strive for maximum extraction, and tastes like it should be made in Tuscany rather than California. Its a refreshing change of pace, but may not be for all Cabernet lovers.

Food Pairing:
Because of its similarity to Super Tuscans (well integrated tannins, not overly fruity) this wine is going to go well with all sorts of meats as well as heartier pasta dishes or other starches like this porcini mushroom risotto.

Overall Score: 8

How Much?: $38

I get this wine, and several other Ceja wines through Porthos.

Buy My Award-Winning Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Unglamorous Work A Lesson in the Loss of Denis Malbec I'll Drink to That: Kimberly Prokoshyn of Rebelle Restaurant Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 6/19/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 12, 2016 Warm Up: Richebourg I'll Drink to That: Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo-Camuzet Vinography Images: It's Nice to be King It's Time for American Wineries to Grow Up I'll Drink to That: Joy Kull of La Villana Winery

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud