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Once again I have fallen behind on posts due to work travel and the flu – now catching up on the backlog of posts from our Sonoma trip a couple of weeks ago and a subsequent tasting I attended.

salvestrin-021I was first introduced to Salvestrin Family Wines back in July at a tasting at Grape & Gourmet in Virginia Beach – after meeting the Salvestrin National Sales Manager, Megan, at the tasting and hearing the Salvestrin Family story, I put them on my ‘to visit’ list for our next Sonoma/Napa trip. 

Megan was kind enough to arrange a personal tasting appointment for us during our trip which started with a tour of the grounds and history of the winery given by Tom, one of Salvestrin’s team members.  When we arrived in the barrel room, Salvestrin Winemaker, Rich Salvestrin, was  there packing bottles of his wine in to a suit case for a trip that evening to Southern California for a tasting (wearing many hats appears to be a prerequisite for winery owners today).  Once he was done with the packing, Rich graciously answered all of my questions about Salvestrin wine, the wine industry, wine making, yeasts and how the current economic malaise is affecting wine sales.  Rich noted a strong concern about the current state of the economy and the affect it could have on smaller operations like Salvestrin.  This is definitely becoming a common theme amongst most winery owners/wine makers that I talk to.  I found it interesting that Rich, like many of his peers, is now beginning to realize the true value of the wine blogging community and the positive impact wine bloggers can have on a wine brand – especially small wine labels. 

salvestrin-01We tasted three Salvestrin offerings during our visit.  First up was the Salvestrin 2007 Sauvignon Blanc which was as crisp and lively as I the bottles we enjoyed during the summer.  I picked up heavier grapefruit and lime aromas during this tasting with a fresh, tropical fruit finish.

Next up on the tasting menu was Salvestrin’s Super-Tuscan, the 2005 Rettagio – a blend of Sangiovese (50%), Merlot (30%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%).  14.8% alcohol. $34/bottle and only 1,200 cases made.  I liked this wine much better this go around than I did during the summer tasting.  Ruby color with notes of wet leather and a spicy licorice component on the nose.  Medium mouth feel with earth and blackberry finish. 

The final wine of the tasting was the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon – a blend of cabernet sauvignon (96%) and Merlot (4%).  Real corks at Salvestrin with 14.8% alcohol and retails for $58.  ~1,700 cases made.  Like the 2004 that I tasted during the summer, I really liked this wine – this 2005 Cab is exceptional.  Tom opened one bottle to decant about two ours before our arrival, and then opened a bottle right as we started the tasting to show the difference when this wine has time to open up.  As expected, the differences were quite noticeable.  For the decanted wine, mocha wafted from the glass followed by an abundance of dark currant/blackberry/cherry jam (not sure there is such a thing) aroma.  In the mouth I got flavors of toasted oak, earth, and really ripe dark fruit.  The freshly opened bottle was tightly wound which reinforced my decision to hold on to the bottles of 2004 Salvestrin Cab that I have at home for a couple more years.

salvestrin-03The new Salvestrin 2007 Estate Petite Sirah will be released on July 15th!

Looking for a personalized tasting experience for your next trip to Napa?  Add Salvestrin to your itinerary. 

Salvestrin Family Winery, 397 Main Street, St. Helena, CA, (707) 963-5105