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A record six tons of beautiful Rodeno clone Sangiovese were delivered early yesterday morning to Antica Napa Valley for processing. (Many of you know that we outgrew our barn's capacity long ago.) Although sorting berries has become standard in Napa wineries, this fruit was virtually perfect and could have gone straight into the crusher.
From all this activity we'll get some lovely 2014 Rosato to enjoy next summer. The big payoff comes late in 2016, when we can start popping corks on the 300 +/- cases of Sangiovese and Faraona resulting from this magnificent harvest.
Twenty years ago, Barney Rhodes - a Napa Valley institution who regularly welcomed international wine celebrities like Harry Waugh and Jancis Robinson into his home - commented that Villa Ragazzi Sangiovese would be a huge hit in London and we should export some.
Fast forward to the spring of 2014, when our friend Thomas George (check out his blog on Twitter @WinoForeverNews) sent a visitor to Villa Ragazzi who is launching the new M Restaurants group in London. Apparently Barney was right, because we just sent off a shipment of Sangiovese and Faraona to arrive in time for the mid-November launch of the first of the M restaurants. It will be located next door to the Bank of England (where all the gold bullion resides). Nice neighborhood, wot?
This may come as a surprise, but we are primarily growers and secondarily vintners. We've been growing Sauvignon Blanc in Oakville since 1977 and selling the grapes to various wineries, most recently Honig.
The only wine we bottle is the tiny production of Villa Ragazzi Sangiovese and, since 2010, the super-Tuscan Faraona. And a little rosato.
It's time to say goodbye at last to Sauvignon Blanc (we reserve the right to continue drinking it! our favorites are St. Supéry, Merry Edwards, and Honig). The beautiful clusters you see at left are the final crop from these 20-year old vines before we replant to Cabernet Sauvignon for Robert Mondavi Winery. (They like Oakville fruit.)
Given all the drought concerns this year, we were amazed at the excellent quality and yield in 2014 - thank you, Mother Nature!
I am Villa Ragazzi's default blogger and wielder of the blue pencil.