2005 Ceja Vino de Casa
Red Blend •Viña del Sol
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Ceja Vineyards.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
We spies love this wine SO much that we begged Ceja to allow us to bring you a final secret allocation. They readily agreed. This is the perfect summertime red. Don’t let the low price fool you, this is a killer wine!
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Mission Codename: Misconceptions… Destroyed
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Locate an incredible Red table wine in time for the holidays and secure a good quantity for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Ceja Wine
Wine Subject: 2005 Vino de Casa (Red blend)
Winemakers: Armando Ceja
When The Wine Spies learned of an incredible red blend that was made from an original blending of half Pinot Noir and half Syrah, Agent Red was immediately dispatched to investigate. What he found was an very unique wine of amazing balance, flavor and character. Read his mission report below for the full details on this incredible wine.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfectly clear ruby red with sparkling pink at the edges with long, tightly-spaced legs
Smell – Beautifully aromatic red fruit, cherry, plum with a Pinot Noir-ish gunpowder note and a pleasant hint of earthy undergrowth
Feel – Wet, cool and smooth in the mouth balanced by big tannins
Taste – UNIQUE TASTE ALERT! This wine presents juicy yet classic flavors of Pinot Noir and Syrah – in almost equal proportion. With layered flavors that compliment each other rather than compete, this wine is an exciting wine to drink. Cherry, candy apple and plum with subtle cocoa and toasted vanilla round out this balanced and flavorful delight
Finish – Long, dry and chalky – a more classic Syrah finish with lingering flavors and a slight pucker that begs you to enjoy your next sip
Conclusion – When I bluster about a wine, know this: I MEAN IT. This is a fantastic wine, regardless of the price. This wine is a deal at the regular retail price of $20 and an outright STEAL at The Wine Spies price of $16. If you are looking for a stock-up-for-the-holidays ‘budget’ wine, swing that mouse pointer to the ORDER THIS WINE NOW button, well, NOW. Sign me up for at least a case.
Guest Sommelier Agent K contributes her thoughts on this wine:
“Earthy notes of wet undergrowth, strawberry and grape with hints of rose petals. The palate brings red cherry, chalk and pepper.”
between missions I was enjoying some downtime at my favorite Napa wine lounge, when an urgent dispatch came through on my Wine Spy handheld. Central Command had received a flurry urgent inquiries for a GREAT red wine – for less than $20.
“Leave your misconceptions behind”, was the clear directive. “Find us a wine that drinks well above its price, and find it TODAY!”
I had just one problem: I was hungry!
I asked the owner of the lounge where I could pick up great Mexican food. Before he could answer, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Turning as I reached instinctively for my corkscrew I saw young man with a flashing smile.
“Like Tacos?” he asked.
“Uhh. Yeah. Love ’em,” I replied.
“And great wine, too?”
“Who doesn’t?” I said.
“Follow me,” he said.
After a short car ride later we turned into the driveway for Ceja Vineyards, a winery that I had heard only great things about.
Stepping out of the car, the aromas hit me. Spices, beans, grilled meat and… red wine.
The young man, who introduced himself as Ariel Ceja, led me into a small outbuilding adjacent to the tasting room. Inside was smiling woman who hugged me as I entered. Ariel introduced me to his grandmother and invited me to sit down. Inside this room, the aromas were intoxicating.
Ariel handed me a glass of red wine, explaining that this was their family’s house wine. A deep sniff, a swirl and a taste was all it took for me to fall in love with their wine. The tacos were incredible as well and we laughed and shared stories until suddenly, remembering my mission, I became sullen.
“What’s the matter?” they asked.
“I forgot,” I replied “I was supposed to find a great red wine.”
“You did!” they said.
“For $20 or less! Do you have any less expensive wines? This one is too good.”
They laughed and laughed. When they stopped laughing, Grandma pulled me close and whispered, to me:
“Our Vino de Casa is a $20 wine!”
Postscript: After filing my report with Central Command, I spent the balance of the day with the Ceja family, eating, drinking, roaming their vineyards. It was hard to leave at the end of the day, but at least I left with a feeling that this day had been among my luckiest – and most rewarding – as a Wine Spy. I got to spend time with great people and enjoy their hospitality. I also learned a valuable lesson that great wines can be found for less than $20!.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Ceja vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Ceja Vineyards, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
Aromas of cherries, plums, cocoa and toasted vanilla. The Pinot Noir brings crisp acidity and soft tannins while the Syrah showcases a sexy mid-palate and long end-finish. Overall this wine speaks of red and dark fruit infused with blueberry and mineral qualities.
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.
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.
Vineyard: Viña del Sol, Napa Valley.
Production Notes: Open-topped, small vat fermentation.
Production: 1900 cases produced
Varietal Composition: 62% Pinot Noir, 38% Syrah
Wine Type: Medium Red Wine
Varietal: Vino de Casa Red (blend)
Appellation: Napa Valley
Harvest Date: October 16, 2005
Sugar: Pinot Noir – 24.1° Syrah – 23.9°
Aging: 21 months in French & American barrels.
Alcohol %: 13.2