2006 La Storia Cuvee 32
Red Blend •Estate Bottled
California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley
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Mission Codename: Tuscany Calling
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Acquire the operative favorite La Storia Cuvee 32 Super Tuscan from Trentadue Winery in Sonoma County’s pristine Alexander Valley
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Trentadue
Wine Subject: 2006 Trentadue La Storia Cuvee 32
Winemaker: Miro Tcholakov
The broad category of wines often times called Super Tuscans is originally an Italian designation (usualy IGT and Rosso Toscana) – but this hasn’t stopped winemakers on this side of the pond from creating delicious wines in this style. Most of these wines are Sangiovese based with the addition of other varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and all are unique blends that gives the winery much more flexibility with regard to the more stringent Italian Goria DOC and DOCG designations as used in Italy or TTB or Meritage Association labeling requirements.
The Alexander Valley in northeast Sonoma County is located on the western side of the Mayacamas range and extends westward to the edge of the Russian River Valley. This appellation was formerly considered a part of Dry Creek Valley but became its own appellation in November 1984. The region is best known for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. Read Agent White’s detailed tasting notes and winemaker interview, below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deepest garnet with a fine rim of ruby out at the edge. Thick legs start high on the glass when swirled. At the core of the wine, hues of darkest plum are visible through the inkiness.
Smell – Bold intensity, with dark cherry and blackberry leaping from the glass. These are joined by rich, spiced blueberry, cassis and black fig. Toasty notes of vanilla and oak mingle with brown spice and a hint of anise.
Feel – A smooth entry leads to a full-bodied feel that coats the mouth, drying with a spicy minerality as soft tannins take hold. An easy acidity and soft minerals add to the appealing feel and reinforcing the wines Super Tuscan kinship.
Taste – Bold and full-flavored, leading with tangy blackberry and young strawberry. Mixed plums and black fig mingle with cranberry and tart cherry, yielding to soft spice, black pepper and crushed dark red flower petals.
Finish – Medium long, with smoky dark fruit and tangy black plum, pronounced cherry and cranberry yielding to dark spice, dark minerals and black pepper.
Conclusion – This year’s vintage of Trentadue’s Cuvee 32, is a brilliant follow-up the the 2005 that we featured last year. Darker than the 2005, this wine also shows a spicier side that seems more true to its Tuscan brethren than the previous vintage. Today’s wine, the 2006 vintage, is a delicious wine that delivers bold aromatics and a very balanced flavor profile that our tasting panel found to be a delicious delight. Pair with a homemade pizza or a robust pasta dish. This wine is true delight that is a treat for all of your sense.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Miro Tcholakov
DATE OF BIRTH: 02.04.1966
PLACE OF BIRTH: Trojan, Bulgaria
WINE EDUCATION: Higher Institute of Agriculture, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, UC Davis, SRJC
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Dry Creek Vineyards-1990-1999 as Assistant Winemaker/Cellar Master, Trentadue Winery-1999-present-Winemaker/VP of Production, Miro Cellars-2001-present. Also consulted and continue to consult for a few other small projects domestically and abroad. Currently serving on the Board of Directors for ZAP and “PS I Love you” organizations
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Freedom of Expression”- meaning for Miro wines I source only vineyards that are interesting to me in regard of geology, soil types, location, grape growing styles, grape grower…etc. Not being confined to an “Estate” vineyard gives me the freedom of choice. If the vineyard does not deliver I move on. Great wines can be made without blue blooded heritage and a Chateau in the foreground.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Well I’m not sure what do you consider Highlight but if you mean wine scores I have a few 90 points and above from Wine Enthusiast, Parker, Wine Spectator, Connoisseur Guide, California Grapevine, top picks in New York Times, USA Today, and hundreds of Gold medals and Best of Class and a few Sweepstakes from wine competitions that matter.
I have met and tasted my wines one on one with Michelle Rolland (without paying for it) if that is considered an event but I found that to be very interesting. I have been on the pages of few wine publications. Once Dan Burger put me on the top 20 winemakers in the country… There is probably more that I don’t remember…
MIRO QUOTE: Just drink it-it is only wine!
AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
MIRO: The La Storia wines are our reserve wines, our best effort. The grapes are exclusively grown on our Geyserville Estate, located across from Francis Coppola Winery and next to Clos Dubois.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
MIRO: Our Cuvee 32 (my version of a “Super Tuscan” Blend)can be easily used instead of Cabernet in most recipes. Many meat dishes-most obviously stakes will be greatly complimented by the elevated acidity and solid tannin base of this wine. Our Cuvee 32 is an excellent choice for many tomato based pasta dishes. For the vegetarians try it with spicy eggplant, roasted Portobello, and many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Alexander Valley so special?
WINEMAKER: Geyserville area is in the middle of the Alexander Valley where grape growing dates back more than a century. Some of our blocks are still the original vineyards planted back in 1896. Our Sangiovese block was planted almost 40 years ago, the Montepulciano is the latest addition to our vineyards and was planted 10 years ago. The climate and soils around the banks of the Russian River are perfect for any red varieties-deep, gravely, well drained soils that provide the building blocks for great color and depth in all of our fruit. The profile is always in the deep dark and red stone fruits with considerable body.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
MIRO: This year has been very strange so far and we are still in the mode of “Grape Expectation”. We crushed only about 10 tons up to date and time is marching on. Hopefully will have couple of weeks of warm weather.
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 the Trentadue Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
The 2006 vintage will be remembered as the one with heavy rainfall in the winter and cool summer. The long ripening season provided extra “hang time” for the grapes and thus produced wines with great depth and superb balance of acid and tannins. Following the abundant 2005 vintage, 2006 had relatively low yields contributing to more intense flavor and overall concentration.
The fruit from our Sangiovese block (usually ready the first week of September) did not ripen until the first week of October and the Merlot and Cabernet were late as well. The four rows of precious Montepulciano finally produced more than the usual ton to add to this cuvee. The Estate Merlot and Sangiovese were given extended maceration to further develop the color and complexity of the wine and then racked into oak barrels, 40% of which were brand new. All of the blend components were aged separately for about a year and then blended and aged for another 12 months for the total of 24 months. The wine is a perfect marriage of the lean, food friendly acidity of the Sangiovese and the firm and juicy structure of the Merlot and Cabernet, resulting into a rich, yet nicely balanced wine that exhibits layers of lush, sweet black fruit flavors.
Cheers! Miro Tcholakov
About The Winery:
The Trentadue family arrived in Sonoma County long before their region gained a reputation as the Wine Country. Life-long, hands-on agriculturists, Evelyn and Leo Trentadue contributed significantly to the advancement of their region over the years. In 1959, the Trentadues decided to flee the developers encroaching on their apricot and cherry orchards in Sunnyvale, the area known today around the world as Silicon Valley. To preserve their way of life, these hard-working Italian ranchers purchased 208 acres of land in Sonoma County’s then remote Alexander Valley.
There was little market for the region’s dry-farmed apples, prunes, pears, and grapes in the late 1950s, so land was cheap and plentiful. Scores of ranches were for sale but, because it was blessed with an excellent combination of climate, soil, and water, Leo settled on a special piece of property in the heart of the Alexander Valley. Little did he know what this ranch had once been, much less what it was to become.
The piece of land, which is now home to Trentadue Winery, has a remarkable history. In 1868, a French botanist named Andrew Bouton established Heart’s Desire Nursery on this excellent site east of the railroad tracks. With a passion for breeding new and improved strains of fruit trees, Bouton devoted himself to plant propagation, becoming a major supplier of young tree stock to orchardists throughout the western United States. His reputation attracted the attention of a young man named Luther Burbank who visited Bouton frequently. Influenced by Bouton, Burbank conducted his own work in nearby Sebastopol and Santa Rosa.
Leo Trentadue has a reputation for openness to new ideas. Over the years, this inveterate tinkerer has been among the first to experiment with what resulted in a number of viticultural/wine industry innovations. An overview of his unheralded achievements: From dry farming to irrigation. Horse drawn plows and dry farming were still practiced when the Trentadues arrived in the Alexander Valley. Leo introduced advanced irrigation practices common to his former home in Santa Clara County.
The Trentadues were among the very first to plant new vines in Sonoma County since the days of Prohibition. Italians love their red wines, especially hearty reds like Carignane. In 1962, the Trentadue family began planting new Carignane vines in addition to the 68 acres of old vines already growing on their ranch. Now more than 35 years old, these vines are among the oldest producing Carignane vineyards in America. The family remains steadfastly devoted to this grape, and their wine ranks indisputably among just a handful of top ranked California Carignane. Case in point: At the 1997 West Coast Wine Competition, Trentadue 1993 Carignane was awarded both a Gold Medal and Best of Class.
Understanding the importance of growing only those grape varieties, which excelled in his vineyards, in 1974 Leo installed half-acre blocks of eight different varietals. The quality of the Sangiovese was extraordinary, so all other vines were replanted to this famed variety from Tuscany. Because Evelyn and Leo share a Tuscan heritage, it is not surprising that in 1984 Trentadue was the first producer to release a 100% varietal wine named for this famed grape of Italy. The superior quality of this wine earned a Gold/Best of Class for the 1993 vintage at the 1995 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
In 1987, Leo Trentadue encouraged his winemaker to experiment with fortified wines. An excellent Petite Sirah Port resulted, among the very first of its kind. The wine was well received, so a Merlot Port was added to the line. Both wines have consistently earned top awards, including a Gold/Best of Class at the 1997 National Orange Show.
This winery’s story cannot be told without mention of the Trentadues’ remarkable long-term relationship with Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards. Their personal history began in 1952 when the Trentadues became Paul’s neighbor in Santa Clara, after buying an old abandoned wine estate at the end of Montebello Road. Paul began buying fruit from their ancient vines, striking up a friendship which continues to this day.
Both Draper and the Trentadues know a good thing when they see it. Draper was quick to benefit from the Trentadues’ aptitude for viticulture. The Trentadues have similarly benefited from Draper’s wine business savvy. Indeed, it is Draper who encouraged the family to take advantage of their location and establish an estate winery.
The list of mutual benefits derived from the Trentadue and Ridge association is extensive: Fruit from the Trentadues’ Geyserville estate has been sold to Ridge Vineyards every vintage since 1967. In 1974, Ridge Vineyard acquired the Trentadues’ mountaintop winery and vineyard today known as Montebello. Victor Trentadue manages not only 99 plus acres of his family’s estate-owned fruit contracted to Ridge, but is also entrusted to manage 188 additional acres of Dry Creek Valley grapes under contract nearby to Draper.
Varietals: 49% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petite Sirah, 4% Montepulciano
Appellation: Alexander Valley Estate
Production: 1200 cases
Residual Sugar: 0.04%
Total Acid: 0.63g/100ml
Aging: 26 months in 40% new French oak barrels, the remainder in neutral oak
Bottled Date: July 2008
Release Date: August 2010
Winemaker: Miro Tcholakov