Text Size:-+
08.08.2009

Piña Napa Valley: Current Releases

pina_dadamo.jpgIf one were to speculate on the wine market as a savvy investor might in the small-cap stock market, the game would be the same: follow people you know with good track records. In the wine world, we'd also have to include a corollary about betting on great vineyard sites, but leaving aside the raw materials, it's clear that most good wines don't happen by accident. They're made by talented people.

Finding talented people in Napa isn't hard at first. There are a lot of them, many of whom have big brand names. When they start working for a winery, everyone pays attention.

But there are many more talented folks in Napa that never get the limelight of the big names. These are the "small cap" talents that are responsible for many of the small production wines throughout the valley that are just waiting to be discovered by anyone who can start connecting the dots between great vineyards and the people that work them.

Piña Napa Valley is owned and operated by the Piña Family, a name that might not mean much to most wine drinkers, but will turn the head of anyone who is reasonably involved in growing grapes in Napa. In the current generation, the Piña Family, through their firm Piña Vineyard Management are responsible for farming some of Napa's most prestigious vineyards (Bryant, Pahlmeyer, Cafaro, Gemstone, Outpost, Showket, Sawyer, O'Shaughnessy, just to name a few), but the family has been making its home in the Napa valley since 1856 when their progenitor Bluford Stice led a wagon train into the valley from Missouri.

Only a few years after that wagon train, the family became involved in the wine business in Napa. They owned a vineyard just south of St. Helena, and Bluford Stice's son became a prominent winemaker at the then famous Inglenook winery (now Rubicon Estate) The family has been part of the Napa wine industry ever since.

As early as 1979 the family had thought about making their own wine, even founding a company called Piña Cellars with that intention, yet somehow never found the time until they purchased a small property on Howell Mountain in 1996 and decided to put their viticultural talents to work for themselves.

Their Howell Mountain property is known as the "Buckeye Vineyard" and its partially terraced hillside surrounded by Redwoods, Oaks and Madrone trees border Ladera and Beatty Ranch.

The family has been producing wine from their estate vineyard for the past 8 years, and in the last couple of years they have been acquiring long term leases on several more vineyard sites around Napa with the goal of producing single vineyard wines.

One of these sites is the D'Adamo vineyard which sits at the foot of Atlas Peak in the southern part of Napa. This sustainably farmed vineyard is planted with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Piña's began their project with the wines being made by winemaker Cary Gott (a longtime Napa wine veteran and consultant who has worked for more vineyards than are possible to list). In 2005, Anna Monticelli took the helm as winemaker, having been assistant winemaker at first Seavey, and then Bryant Family before arriving at Piña.

I'm not sure if this is the first or second vintage that Monticelli is responsible for, but there appears to have been no change in the basic winemaking regimen. These wines are carefully harvested and destemmed, meticulously sorted, fermented in steel and then aged in French oak barrels (somewhere between 60% and 70% new) for 18 months before bottling.

Having tasted these wines for the past three consecutive vintages, I'd have to say that, despite being tasty, the 2006s are my least favorite. I may have encountered them at an awkward point in their evolution, but they don't seem as well formed as the wines of the past. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the vintage, to their youth, or to Monticelli adjusting to working with these vineyards.

Full disclosure: I received these wines as press samples.

TASTING NOTES

2006 Piña Napa Valley "D'Addamo Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
Inky garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry, cassis and surprisingly, a little of nicoise olives. In the mouth it is smooth and rich with cassis and black cherry flavors balanced by nice acidity and faint tannins that linger in the finish that is tinged with a light grapeyness. Score: around 9. Cost: $75


2006 Piña Napa Valley "Buckeye Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa
Very dark garnet in color, this wine has a nose of cassis, wet earth, and espresso. In the mouth it is smooth and muscled with flavors of cassis, black cherry and cola, with light tannins that hover in the background. Decent finish. Score: around 9. Cost: $85

These wines are available for purchase online.

The family makes two additional single vineyard Cabernets that were not available to me for tasting.

Comments (11)

rjh wrote:
08.09.09 at 5:24 AM

interesting about the 2006's. i've always been a big fan of piña wines, so will most likely try the vintage, but appreciate the honest assessment and tasting notes.

Matt wrote:
01.11.10 at 4:10 PM

I have enjoyed my visits to Pina as they staff (including the brothers) are low key and let their wines do the talking.

I look forward to sampling their 2007s.

11.21.14 at 5:40 PM

Scotland is well-known for its freshwater lakes.

11.22.14 at 8:52 AM

These are really enormous ideas in on the topic of blogging.
You have touched some nice points here. Any way keep up wrinting.

11.22.14 at 12:50 PM

Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the easiest thing to
be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries that they plainly do not know about.

You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having
side-effects , people could take a signal. Will likely be back
to get more. Thanks

Martina wrote:
11.22.14 at 4:29 PM

I am really thankful too the owner of this wedbsite who has shawred this wonderful post at at this
time.

11.22.14 at 4:35 PM

D? I want to find a girlfriend that I can settle ?own with, and f?ll
in love (gasp). Therefore, be ready for both genders to exercise their right in thi? regard.
Covering only a f?w d?ys, this cha?ter giv?s the Rocket Boy? one of the things that they
had been looking for throug? the ent?re stor?.

fur boots wrote:
11.23.14 at 3:29 PM

Hey there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us
so I came to give it a look. I'm definitely loving the information. I'm book-marking and will
be tweeting this to my followers! Exceptional blog and fantastic
design.

Marlys wrote:
11.23.14 at 8:37 PM

The Malta Jazz Celebration has an unique area in Malta's Cultural
Calendar, drawing in great stars of the worldwide
jazz scene to Malta.

Rene wrote:
11.23.14 at 9:43 PM

In the meantime, we've created 30 brand-new policemans posts
in response to what the public have actually consistently told me in the 18 months since my election - they want to see officers on the streets.

11.24.14 at 2:08 AM

Great article! That is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared
across the web. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning
this post higher! Come on over and seek advice from my site .
Thank you =)

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)
Yes
 

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Buy My Book!

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

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Plumbing the Depths of Portugal: A Tasting Journey Vinography Images: Rain at Last The Mysterious Art of Selling Direct Critical Consolidation in Wine What Has California Got Against Wineries? Dirty Money for a Legendary Brand Vinography Images: Tendrils Highlights from Tasting Champagne with the Masters Off to Portugal for a Drink Vinography Images: Hazy Afternoon

Favorite Posts From the Archives

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 Királyudvar "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

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud 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 World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.