Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

2009 Nero D'Avola

Nero d’Avola

California: Tracy Hills

Offer Expired:Oct 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


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Mission Codename: The Dark Duke of Sicily

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Return to Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, and secure a limited allocation of their unique and delicious Nero D’Avola, a wine that is rare to America

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2009 Nero D’Avola Tracy Hills

Winemaker: Charlie Tsegeletos


Sometimes known as Calabrese, Nero D’Avola is an Italian grape variety that is indigenous to the region of Sicily, off the southern Italian coast. Regarded as the most important red wine grape in Sicily, Nero D’Avola is often used as a blending agent in other Italian wines. Known as “The Black Grape of Avola”, this varietal is seeing greater use in single-varietal wines, like today’s exceptional offering from our good friends at Jacuzzi Family Winery.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Viewed in the glass, the wine shows a dark ruby color. Spin the wine and the wine shows as Burgundy-colored. Darker through the core and perfectly clear, this wine is beautiful. After spinning, tall legs start high on the glass.

Smell – Bold and unlike anything we’ve inhaled in the past, the wine is bursting with earthy blueberry, raspberry, dark chocolate, black flowers, dark roasted coffee beans, mushrooms and earthy black cherry. Underneath these, we found black pepper and a hint of sweet Spumoni ice cream.

Feel – Cool and light-weight, initially, the wine takes on some weight at the mid-palate. Medium tannins and a bright acidity give the wine complexity and structure.

Taste – Blackberry, cherry, dark strawberry, and smoky blueberry lead the way. As the wine opens up, young plum, black spice, subtle oak, bramble, black pepper and a hint of espresso fill the palate.

Finish – Long and flavor-filled, the wine leads with red fruit. This yields, gradually, to red fruit, spice, pepper, darkest chocolate and hints of spice. At the very end, subtlest oak and black pepper make a long appearance.

Conclusion – I love this wine! Today’s 2009 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Nero D’Avola is an intriguing, unique and very delicious wine, made from a very rare Southern Italian varietal. Darker and more flavorful than many of the Cali Sangiovese we have featured, this wine delivers most of its fruit on the mid-palate. From there, dark fruit flavors radiate toward the edges of the palate – where they linger for a long time. With bright acids and tannins that give the vine a softly dry, crushed velvet feel, the wine is complex and exciting on the palate. Pair with a grilled salmon or my go-to garlic-rubbed grilled New York steak. Abondanza!

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Charlie Tsegeletos

WINE EDUCATION: 30 years of working with winemakers and growers that know what they are doing and what it takes to make good wine. BS Ag Sci and Management and Plant Science from UCD.

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Apprentice Winemaker with tiny Pendleton Winery in San Jose; Assistant Winemaker with family owned Hacienda Winery in Sonoma; Winemaker for historic D’Agostini Winery in Amador County; Senior Director of Winemaking for ground breaking Glen Ellen Winery in Glen Ellen; Winemaker for fun-loving Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Balance is everything. Make big flavorful red wines that have sharp edges and make crisp, fresh white wines that tantalize.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Put ten of your favorite wines in a brown paper bags and taste them blind with your friends. I think you’ll like our wines.”

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1981 Pendleton Monterey Chardonnay released in early ’82.


AGENT RED: Greetings, Charlie. We are thrilled to be showing your 2009 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Nero D’Avola today. This is a unique wine, and we thank you for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

CHARLIE: Thanks for having me, again!

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

CHARLIE: A bottle of 1974 Charles Krug Reserve Cab spun my head around and I wanted to have a go at making something like that.

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

CHARLIE: I’ve had a chance to work with a lot of winemakers over the years and each has his “special” winemaking secrets and some of them even work. Joel Aiken who had been the Beaulieu Vineyards winemaker for years once asked me what my wine stood for and that really made me think that each wine I make should stand for something – in other words it should have it’s own signature and not just taste like something else in the lineup.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

CHARLIE: I make it according to my sense of balance and that seems to work out okay for the consumers, sales folks and reviewers. I do listen to what folks say about the wine and then try and refine the wine each vintage.

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

CHARLIE: The Jacuzzi 2009 Nero D’Avola is 100% Nero D’Avola meticulously farmed by Jeff Brown in his vineyard in the Tracy Hills appellation. This is a very popular grape in Sicily, Italy and is named “Avola Black” for the south eastern Sicilian town. It’s kind of like Syrah with big flavors of cherry and coffee and good color. This vintage has great acid and moderate alcohol of 13.5%.

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

CHARLIE: Homemade pizza or a prosciutto sandwich.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Tracy Hills region so special?

CHARLIE: The region has been designated a ‘Mineral Resource Area” by US Geological Services because it is an area rich in minerals. It warms up well during the day, being part of the Central Valley, but then it gets cooling breezes coming through the Altamont Pass and over the hills. The region gets very little rainfall so it is easy to control the vigor of the vine by managing water availability. Jeff has planted a number of varieties that are hard or impossible to fine elsewhere in California – like Montepulciano, Nero D’Avola and Sagrantino.

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

CHARLIE: I am currently up to my eyeballs in grapes. We have been picking since the end of August and we have about five more days and we can call the harvest of 2011 a wrap.

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

CHARLIE: Pour it, ponder it and drink it. You’ll know if you like it and if my sense of balance works for you too.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

CHARLIE: Don’t take it too seriously – remember it started out as a grape.

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 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

This wine has notes of black pepper, coffee and chalky raspberry. It is an unusual wine and well worth a try – especially if you are a Pinot Noir fan.

Production Notes: Grapes are de-stemmed with minimal crushing. Must is pumped to a temperature controlled stainless steel tank and inoculated with a pure strain of wine yeast to ensure complete and healthy fermentation. Grapes are pressed and the juice is moved to a settling tank. Within a few days, 35% of the wine is racked and moved onto new French oak with the balance remaining in neutral cooperage. The wine is racked once more during the course of aging and then moved to a tank for bottling.

Food Pairing: A nicely grilled Salmon or steak would go well with this wine.

About The Winery

The Jacuzzi trek to America started in 1907, when Valeriano and Francesco Jacuzzi, the second- and third-born sons of Giovanni and Teresa Jacuzzi, immigrated to Washington to work on the railroad. A warmer climate beckoned and the pair eventually made their way to southern California. Years later, they were joined by four other brothers and eventually all went to work in the aviation industry. Soon they would make American history.

In 1911 their father, Giovanni, a skilled wood worker and vineyard farmer joined them. Two weeks was enough to convince him that his sons would never go back. He then returned to Italy with Valeriano to gather up the rest of the family.

World War I intervened and the trip was delayed until the war’s end. During this time, Valeriano had met Giuseppina and fell in love, married and had their first child. Valeriano’s new family, parents and remaining siblings departed from Italy in 1920.

Soon after their arrival in early 1921, Valeriano started working with his brothers at their Jacuzzi Brothers factory. A tragic crash, over Modesto, of Jacuzzi’s first enclosed monoplane took several lives, including that of Valeriano’s brother, Giocondo. At this time, Giovanni asked his sons to cease making planes. Valeriano moved his family to Northern California and purchased a 161-acre farm in Contra Costa County.

During the depression, Valeriano, with help from his older children, planted a portion of the open farm fields with grapes and in 1936 he applied for a license to make wine for home consumption. At that time he was limited to 200 gallons (approximately 84 cases). The vineyard was planted to Zinfandel, Carignane and Mourvedre and he sold grapes for $30-$35 a ton.

In 1937, Valeriano returned to work with his brothers at Jacuzzi Brothers, Inc. located in Berkeley, CA where they manufactured water well pumps and eventually, the bath and spa that bears their name.

Technical Analysis:

Vintage: 2009

Wine Type: Red Wine

Varietal: Nero D’Avola

Appellation: Tracy Hills

Harvest Date: September 29

PH: 3.96

Residual Sugar: .03

Alcohol: 13.5%

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