Ceja Vineyards

2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

California: Napa Valley

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Mission Codename: Forever and ever

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Ceja Vineyards and procure an allotment of their exceptional 2006 Carneros Pinot Noir for our Operatives

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Ceja Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Armando Ceja

Backgrounder: Napa Valley is revered worldwide as the ultimate area in which to produce fine Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2006 vintage has produced some remarkable examples and we were lucky to get our spy-hands on today’s fine offering from dear friends at Ceja Vineyards. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and winemaker interview, below.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep Burgundy hues, with a shimmering and almost iridescent surface that reflects a narrow rainbow of colors. At the rim of the glass, the wine shows off beautiful plum-colored edges. Stained legs start low on the glass, and have a chubby appearance.

Smell – Lush blackberry, black cherry, plum and cassis are the leading fruits. These mingle with dark chocolate, sweetwoods, cinnamon and fresh fennel.

Feel – Concentrated and hearty with a soft entry and a fleshy mind-palate. After a few moments, a soft dryness appears.

Taste – Delicious blackberry and dark cherry, with caramelized plum. Follow-on flavors of bramble, soft spice and gentle oak.

Finish – Ultra-long and very flavorful, with fruit and spice that lingers on and on – as a soft dryness emerges and evolves on the palate.

Conclusion – We always love Ceja wines, but today’s 2006 Ceja Cabernet Sauvignon provides an added thrill. Flavor and bold character are present in quantity in this wine, delivering a lush and very appealing drinking experience. Flavors are big and natural, aromatics are deep, and the finish goes on forever. Pair this exceptional wine with your favorite grilled meats, or enjoy it all on its own!

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Armando Ceja

WINE EDUCATION: My wine education started immediately upon my arrival here to the US from Mexico. I immigrated in 1967 with my family when I was seven years old. We settled in north Napa where I started working alongside my parents and siblings in the vineyards. Over the years I fell in love with the grape growing process and eventually decided I would make a career out of it. I worked at various wineries throughout high school and even had the chance to make my first barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon at the age of seventeen before I headed off to UC Davis where I received degrees in oenology and viticulture. I was on my way!

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: After college I worked for Kenwood Vineyards in both winemaking and vineyard management before joining the management team at the Christian Brothers winery on Mt. Veeder. After a few years at Christian Brothers I decided it was time to strike out on my own; I formed Vina Del Sol (Vines of the Sun), my own vineyard management company.

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Grow the best fruit possible in the vineyards and let nature take its course in the cellar utilizing gentle wine-making techniques.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: Wine is not a lifestyle, it represents life itself.

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1998, Sonoma Carneros Pinot Noir


AGENT RED: Greetings, Armando Ceja. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Sonoma Carneros Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

WINEMAKER: Thanks for promoting the Ceja love. Can I have a cool “Agent” name too?

RED: We’ve already given you one, Agent Carneros! Tell me, was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

WINEMAKER: Having been born into a seasonal farm-working family, I had no choice but to work in the vineyards of Napa as a child. During harvest I would follow the grapes to the winery, curious to see how the grapes would end up. That curiosity still leads me to the cellar today.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

WINEMAKER: I was fortunate to have Gino Zepponi of ZD Wines as mentor growing up.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

WINEMAKER: Mother Earth

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

WINEMAKER: Our classic 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the best of “both worlds”. It’s fruit driven, robust and silky smooth yet remains lower in alcohol and has nice bright acidity.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

WINEMAKER: Carne asada and our Cabernet always makes me quite happy.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley so special?

WINEMAKER: Our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, lying directly south of the Stag’s Leap district benefits from the warm days and cool nights which allows the grapes to achieve an excellent balance of acid and sugar which also results in a longer growing season – perfect for late-maturing varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

WINEMAKER: I’m spending a lot of time moderating malolactic fermentation and racking (the process of siphoning the wine off the lees into a new, clean barrel).

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

WINEMAKER: With a wine glass and corkscrew!

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of Ceja Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

Aromas of black cherry, dark chocolate, fleshy currant, wild berry, plum and spicy anise. The palate showcases classic Napa Valley Cabernet expressing depth and well-structured tannins. Focused and concentrated, this wine’s flavors offers wonderful balance, length and finesse.

Production Notes: Fermentation: Open-top, small vat, cold soaked, extended maceration, gentle punch downs.

About Ceja Vineyards:

Welcome to Ceja Vineyards. Each day as we gaze at the surrounding vineyards, we are reminded of the first Ceja vine. Planting our first vine together in rich Carneros soil was an exciting moment. That vine symbolized our bond as a family and strengthened our shared commitment to produce premium wines. We proudly continue a three-generation tradition of growing choice grapes in the beautiful Napa and Sonoma Valleys. We invite you to join us on our journey.

As you explore our website you’ll see, repeated often, a bell with the Latin inscription: vinum (wine), cantus (song), and amor (love). In Mexico, church bells ring to reveal the time, announce community celebrations or call parishioners to church. We have adopted the bell as our trademark, and symbolically ring it now to invite you to become a part of Ceja Vineyards.

Our Vineyards

Terroir, (pronounced tair wahr), is a French term and strictly translated refers to the earth. In the Carneros Region, the term is defined as a special set of conditions encompassing all the components that affect the grapes grown here. The soil’s chemistry and physical structure, the slope and orientation of the hills and valleys and the weather are all factors of terroir.

Located approximately 40 miles northeast of San Francisco, the Carneros Region’s moderate climate is created by fog, moist air, and cool breezes from the Pacific Ocean. Protected from harsh weather by the Coastal Range, Carneros summer days are warm with cool nights and winters are mild. As a result, grapes stay on the vine longer, reaching high acidity and full flavor development.

At Ceja Vineyards, we match vines to terroir, planting each variety where it grows best. Our wines are a true reflection of their origins.

Technical Analysis:

Vintage: 2006

Wine Type: Bold Red Wine

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Appellation: Napa Valley

Harvest Date: October 4, 2006

Sugar: 24.8° at harvest

PH: 3.48

Aging: 32 months in French barrels

Alcohol: 13.8%

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