Bacio Divino Cellars (meaning Divine Kiss in Italian), was founded by Claus Janzen in 1993 who was first became interested in wine as a self appointed “ski bum” while working at an upscale restaurant in Switzerland during the ski seasons. He was 19 years of age when he became a wine enthusiast/collector and started developing what has become an incredible palate. This refined palate is now very important as he makes all their final blending decisions.
A non wine related career took hold until he took what he thought would be a simple relaxing tourist trip to the Napa Valley to visit wineries. On that trip, he met the Wagner’s (owners of Caymus Winery) who invited him to work an upcoming harvest. After this harvest in the ensuing years he ended up spending 12 years working at Caymus developing their International marketing program.
Claus is the winemaker for Bacio Divino and also uses prominent Cabernet Sauvignon master Kirk Venge as his consulting winemaker. Bacio Divino owns three, 8-acres in total hillside vineyards located in a fairly remote location in the Dutch Henry Canyon east of the Silverado Trail. Their vineyards are well off of the northern part of the Silverado Trail – in a secluded part of the region, a rare landscape not often seen by visitors to the valley. The views from their vineyards are fantastic – encompassing rugged forested undeveloped hillside forests with vistas stretching far below into the valley floor.
Bacio Divino produces three blends, the original Bacio Divino (Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese & Petite Sirah), Pazzo (a 5-varietal blend), and Vagabond, a Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon blend. In addition they produce 2 vineyard designated wines simply called Janzen; one from their own vineyard and one from the famed Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard. All their wines consistently receive excellent ratings by Robert Parker as well as other well-known wine critics.
Their Janzen label was originally called one of the “20 new Cabernet Sauvignon labels to watch” by the Wine Spectator. One of their philosophies is you can drink wines young. Case in point is the 2005 Pazzo, which by the way means “crazy” in Italian. This is by far their most produced wine and is a unique blend you will not find at any other Napa Wineries – a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah & a white varietal, Viognier. The result is an easy drinking lively wine that is extremely popular at bistro’s and wine bars. It is also very decently priced.
The 2005 Bacio Divino is a very well balanced wine as with previous vintages. It has an elegant nose with rich full bodied flavors. The tannins are not harsh, rather they are supple and help round out a rather long finish.
The 2005 Janzen To Kalon vineyard designate wine is an impressive full bodied display of rich mouth filling flavors – it had not yet been released at the time of our tasting.
Incidentally, out of more than 950 Napa wineries/producers and tasting rooms visited with to date, this was by far our earliest visit – in the early 6am hour!
Bacio Divino is well distributed nationally as well as in select locations in Europe. You can find their wine locally in Napa at many of the wine shops. For more information and or to join their wine club (some shipments include older vintages), visit: www.baciodivino.com
NOTE: this review has been identified as needing a **major** update.
Nearby vineyards on Dutch Henry Canyon