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.