Sourced from fruit grown in the mountains on the Antinori family’s Antica Estate, this is one of just a handful of standing Sangiovese vineyards that remain in Napa Valley today. This wine achieves a delicious and powerful balance of ripe plum, black fruits, cola and rhubarb, with hints of exotic spice and well balanced tannins reminiscent of the prestigious Atlas Peak Appellation terroir. Aged correctly, this wine will achieve peak maturity in 8 to 10 years.
IN THE VINEYARD
The Antica Estate Vineyard is located high in the mountains of the Atlas Peak Appellation. This is a unique vineyard site for Sangiovese and home to some of Napa Valley’s oldest remaining vines. It is a rocky and volcanic landscape where vine roots grow out of cracks and over the rocks in search of soil patches from which to gather their nutrient base. The old vines prove that the finest Sangiovese can be grown in the mountains of Napa Valley. This location is truly special. One way in which the full potential and complexity is achieved with Sangiovese on this site is through “dry-farming,” or demanding the vines grow without supplied water the entire growth season. This allows for a smaller, concentrated berry size and set that promotes a natural balancing of skin to pulp ratios. The result is pure harvesting joy! Harvest took place on October 1st, 2015. Yields were a fraction of the normal output from this vineyard due to the continuing drought in 2015—with little water, the vines produced roughly half their usual fruit weight. Temperatures were perfect in the mountains, achieving warm days and cool nights. Approximately 5% “old vine” Charbonno from the Frediani Vineyard in Calistoga was co-fermented in the blend. Average Brix at harvest was 26.8 degrees.
IN THE CELLAR
A somewhat rare technique critical in the making of this wine is ripasso. Ripasso (to pass over) is an Italian term describing the use of the skins of one varietal during fermentation to lend its qualities to the juice of another. Italian Amarone wines are made in this fashion. Although very inexact in its science, it is a wonderfully artistic method and tool that when used correctly gives most Sangiovese proper weight and density. The old vine Charbono skins lend
incredible amounts of flavor and dark purple color to the wine that it possibly would not have had otherwise. Via ripasso, we are able to give this wine the opportunity to marry from day one, resulting in a wine with much fuller body and ripe character. The wine was aged for 19 months in one-year-old used Francois Frères tight grain French Oak barrels. Indigenous malolactic fermentation was employed.