2017 Rancho Chimiles Napa Valley Valdiguié
Valdiguié •Rancho Chimiles
California: Napa Valley
Agent Noir took yet another sniff and a sip. It. Just. Could. Not. Be. Napa Gamay at 40 something years old? That’s what the label said! The wine was a 1972 for Pete’s sake, still alive and well, and delicious. He was right, it wasn’t. But the label did not lie, back then they did not have DNA analysis and that’s what they thought it was. What lasted beautifully, hauntingly for all those decades, was NOT the playful Gamay we know from Beaujolais, but, pronounce it with us a - “val-diggy” – that totally obscure much heartier, fascinating variety from Southern France making a fashionable comeback amongst geeks & aficionados alike in the last decade or so. And now we bring you the best…
Pale ruby with a bright hibiscus glow, swinging to and fro as swirled. A burst of cranberry, stone fruits, nectarine, Rainier cherries, spices is all that the perfume is about, and more. On the palate, this CRAZY fun wine leaves one wondering if a light red could taste any better, seriously. Vivid floral hints mingle for a minute+ with juicy berries and minerals on the finish leaving you yearning for a next sip. While this is supremely versatile with pairing potential limited to the imagination, our bottle was long drunk before we could think of accompaniments!
Accolades and pedigree galore. Double 95 points from both sides of the Atlantic for starters and that is no accident. Wilson Foreigner is a genuine collaboration between two dynamic families. The Californian side brings the young talent of David Wilson, owner of Rancho Chimiles, and a protégé of Napa Valley forefather Warren Winiarski of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars fame. His day job is Director of Vineyards & Grower Relations for Pahlmeyer. He also oversees his family vineyards, supplying top-notch fruit to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Pahlmeyer, Favia and The Prisoner Wine Company. The Foreigners, on the other hand, honed their winemaking hands in Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Germany, and Australia, before starting their own in their Western Cape homeland.
Rochioli, Pax and Girard are some of the other handful of ‘cool guys’ who work with this fascinating variety. A recent Wine Enthusiast article introduced Wilson Foreigner with; “Meet Six Producers Redefining Napa Valley Red Wine - not a place that sits still. Amid the decades-old, world-renowned wineries sprout signs of new beginnings. Sometimes, the new blood is younger-generation Napa, while other times, innovation is sparked by an outsider with a new take on things. These six wineries are some of our under-the-radar favorites.”
A testament to classicism but with a modern sensibility and a massive pop of ‘candied apple’ fruit on top, there is no getting enough of this lower alcohol, optimally drinkable deliciousness, especially served chilled a bit over the Spring and Summer, so pile up since there wasn’t a lot made. Think about it, what other red can you buy from Napa Valley with huge scores under $30?!
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
95 Points – Wine Enthusiast, Editor’s Choice! - “Second-generation grape farmer Dave Wilson and his wife, Christine, who grew up among the vines of the Sierra Foothills, make fresh, fun wines from vineyards across the state. Most important is Rancho Chimiles, their vast ranch in Wooden Valley. The standout is the winery’s Valdiguié, sourced from homegrown vines planted in 1972 by Dave’s dad. This is a tiny-production estate-grown wine. It is a deliciously light, bright and crisp red wine, fermented in concrete tank and aged in neutral oak. It tastes of flowers, cranberries and shocks of white pepper and lavender—a remarkably tantalizing combination of flavor and soft texture that is incredibly delicious and satisfying.”
95 Points – Decanter - “The historical Rancho Chimiles vineyards that gave birth to this shining Valdiguié are located in the eastern part of Napa Valley. A few decades old, the plantings are fully mature and tell a story of this expressive grape. This wine is produced with 30% whole-cluster fruit and wild yeasts, with minimal intervention. The result is a vibrant and fun holiday wine with notes of freshly picked violets that dominate the nose, alongside a hint of green herbs. The first sip is a mouthwatering festival of tart cherry and mint characterised by lively acidity. This is an ideal wine to enjoy with turkey stuffing and a slice of buttered turkey breast with a spoonful of cranberry sauce.”
Pale ruby with a bright hibiscus glow, swinging to and fro as swirled.
A burst of cranberry, stone fruits, nectarine, Rainier cherries, spices.
Leaves one wondering if a light red could taste any better, seriously.
Vivid floral hints mingle for a minute+ with juicy berries and minerals.
Our bottle was long drunk before we could think of accompaniments!
What the Winery Says
- David & Christine Wilson, Chris & Suzaan Alheit
- 100% Valdiguié
- Napa Valley
- Rancho Chimiles
- Vine age
- Planted in 1972
- Pleasanton loam, marine sediments, sandstone
- 30% whole cluster
- Residual Sugar
- 0 g/L
- Total acidity
- 6.5 g/L
- 8 months in neutral French oak
- Bottling Date
- May 17, 2018