Consider this...

"Any two wines are more alike than wine and water"

 the late Joseph Heitz on rinsing between tastes




Sangiovese 2017 Madera County
Sellai Family Vineyard

sangiovese 2017There was a reason why first- and second-generation Italian-Americans planted Alicante Bouschet and Salvador (tinturier) grapes as part of their field blends; color. Harvesting in August or early September, they expected to enjoy the vintage for that Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This precluded the dependency upon grape skin color and tannin extraction which necessitates longer aging in barrels.

Approachable, fruity, aromatic, full flavored and full-bodied wines were attained by pressing gently and early with some even adding Muscat Blanc or Alexandria grapes to the co-fermented mix.

Curious, it wasn’t until the twentieth century when we saw the noble Sangiovese grape start to appear on California winery labels as it can make for an absolutely delicious young red wine without adding other colored juice or aromatic grapes.

Early (and some current) attempts at vinifying this cultivar have shown poorly in their attempt to emulate the great Chiantis of Italy. California Sangiovese to us is more akin to a rich Beaujolais or Clairet in a warm year. An early drinking, friendly, fruity, mouth-filling mellowness without being sweet. Bright aromas of Bing cherries and toasted almonds with an aura of vanilla from French and American oak. Yes, it may even respond well to a bit of a chill to somewhat below normal cellar temps.

Our Sangiovese fruit comes from the Sellai Family Vineyard in Madera County (no surprise). It’s little more than an acre which was planted on its own roots a couple of decades ago. The cuttings for this planting took a circuitous route from Italy (suitcase clone) to another family vineyard in Madera circa 1937. Cuttings from these vines were to populate the tiny Sellai Family plot. Septuagenarian, Don Sellai still tends the vines as a labor of love and tribute to his family’s heritage. Simply delicious. You will not be disappointed. $25

"On a side note, I popped open that Sangiovese with some friends over some homemade lasagna. It sung beautifully. Served the wine with a slight chill on it and the nose was gorgeous. Lots of cherry, little hint of oak, bit of violets. On the palate by itself it was ripe and juicy with tons of sour plum, raspberry, little toasted herb and great acidity. With the lasagna, just wow. The fruit and acidity just complimented the tomato sauce and cheese so very well. Overall I’d say it tastes like no other California Sangiovese I’ve had- definitely in its’ own league here. But I would say it is very reminiscent of the great Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. Not that the wine needs any validation but that was outright delicious. And the bottle was finished in between 5 of us in less than 10 minutes. Had to open a Chianti Colli Senesi- which as you can expect was compared to your Sangiovese and described as “drinkable” but not delicious. 
Your Sangiovese entails the more elegant, translucent and storytelling aspect of an easy drinking, but simultaneously conscious Sangiovese. Your Sangiovese has a tale to tell just like Cannetos. Except I feel yours told a more honest and mesmerizing tale.”  Victor V.


Madera Barbera 2016
Laurie's Vineyard

Barbera 2016 Our first vintage for Madera Barbera (Mad Barb) was the, wildly successful and now depleted 2015 vintage. Atypically dark red and laden with assertive aromas of wild black berries and spice, this historic old Italian variety
from Laurie’s Vineyard in Madera surprised us all and ran out the cellar door faster than any wine we’ve produced so far.

Not wanting to go too many days without a Mad Barb in our (or your) life, we have released our new 2016 incarnation which, we are delighted to say,
has much the same intensity of color, flavor and spice but with more black plum and cranberry markers rather than all blackberry as was the 2015. Madera Barbera 2016 Laurie’s Vineyard $25


Petite Sirah 2015
Laurie's Vineyard

sangiovese 2017 Now available for your organoleptic pleasure. After losing the fabled John Simpson Vineyard Petite Sirah grape source to an almond orchard, one of Madera’s best vinicultural teams, Laurie and Loren Freeman came to our aid by planting this well suited variety in 2012.

This is their first crop, our first vintage of Laurie’s Vineyard Petite Sirah and by all markers it matches or supersedes any of our prior efforts with this grape.

Nearly black in color with heady perfumes of ripe blueberries and red flesh plums tied together with a nutty spice from previously used Fait Accompli barrels. Huge lingering flavor layers with balanced soft tannins. $25


Über Rhenish Dry Riesling
Madera County

Intentionally in more the Austere Austrian style than like either a Rhein or Mosel, Uber Rhenish Dry Riesling is the quintessential raw fish accompaniment. Crisp and sassy with a hint of the expected Riesling “petrol”. Barrel fermentation to total dryness serves to bevel the naturally sharp edges of this naturally acidic fruit.  Uber Rhenish will make you smile and have you asking for more. That’s a good thing.

"Riesling is hands-down the best food wine in the world. Its balance of intense acidity, minerality, and fruit makes it an especially good match for spicy foods and the mix of ethnic flavors popular in the West."

Sara Schneider, Sunset Magazine

" Dear Ray,

The editors at Wine Enthusiast have rated and reviewed the following wines. All ratings and reviews of wines evaluated will appear live on our website as of September 1.

A selection of ratings and reviews will appear in the buying guide of the Wine Enthusiast magazine in the September 2007 issue. 

90 POINTS Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Editors Choice - Westbrook Wine Farm - 2006 - Uber Rhenish - Dry Riesling - Madera - $17 "

These wines are made from hand-sorted bunches, grown by other farmers of conscience whom  we know to have a passion, parallel to our own, for growing fruit of intensity and quality.

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