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.
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.
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.
2013 Rhone Rangers Tasting: March 23, San Francisco Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 10, 2013 Bilancia Wines, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand: Current Releases Vinography Images: Across the Valley Drinking Off the Grid Vinography Images: Behind the Gate Vinography Unboxed: Week of February 24, 2013 The Best of Napa's 2011 Cabernets: Tasting at Premiere Napa Valley Great Dirt is Not Sentimental: Ted Lemon on Terroir Vinography Images: Vineyard Bowl
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy