2019 B Cellars Sangiovese
A Bittersweet Vintage, Centuries In The Making
If you wind all the way to the top of Soda Canyon Road, climbing from the Silverado Trail up the backside of Atlas Peak, you will find Antica Napa Valley, a winery owned by the Antinori family of Tuscan history and fame. In the northeastern corner of their vineyard is a single block of old-vine Sangiovese vines, and the source of B Cellars Sangiovese for the 2016, 2018, and 2019 vintages. The Antinori family has been growing grapes and making wine for twenty-seven generations. In the year 1385 Giovanni di Piero Antinori became a member, of the “Arte Fiorentina dei Vinattieri”, the Florentine Winemakers’ Guild, creating what is now one of the oldest family businesses in existence.
The small block of Sangiovese sits 1500 feet above the Valley floor, where the daily band of temperatures is more moderated than the Valley floor, lower highs in the afternoon, and higher lows during the nighttime. This allows for us to let the thin-skinned Sangiovese grapes hang until ripened fully and evenly while still retaining the proper amount of acidity necessary for a balanced and lively Sangiovese.
Working with these grapes and enjoying the expertise and passion of this family has been a truly phenomenal experience. Alas, this is the final vintage for this block of Sangiovese. They are replanting the block to Cabernet Sauvignon and we will no longer find our Sangiovese grapes from this beautiful mountainside property.
It is worth noting that our farewell vintage from this storied vineyard came one year earlier than planned, as we lost all of our 2020 Sangiovese to wildfire smoke damage. A word to the wise: pick up some while you can.
Full-bodied and voluptuous. Cherry cola distinguishes itself on the nose, lavender, tobacco, and red cherries follow. One turn in the glass leaves a crimson hue. The palate is full. Lots of espresso notes give way to red fruits, ginger, spice, and black cherry. Tannins are firm but perfectly integrated. A long expressive finish.
What Is Ripasso?
Taken from the Italian word meaning “repassed”, this winemaking method is from the Valpolicella region of Italy. Our winemaking team, led by Kirk Venge and Derek Taylor, has learned that it is a handy way to add color, texture, richness, and tannin to a wine in a way that does not upset the wine’s core structure and flavors. We take the fermenting Sangiovese juice and pour it over the skins from a previously completed fermentation. The result celebrates the exquisite dried cherry and lavender notes of Sangiovese while adding a bit of breadth to the body. It’s like bumping up the bass ever so slightly on a really nice stereo system.
Love Our Sangiovese? Also Try…
2018 Blend 24
Captivating as soon as its poured. The Sangiovese and Cabernet combine for an array of red fruits, pine, graphite and toast – the Petite Sirah imparts an extra depth of color. It’s deceiving in weight as the Sangiovese balances the prowess of the Cabernet delivering such a complete experience. Plums, blueberries, cocoa power, tinges of tobacco leaves and lush toasty tannins.
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