Bardessono Family Vineyards is owned and managed by Tom Bardessono. His family has deep agricultural roots in the Napa Valley dating back to 1926 when his grandfather and his brother in law purchased property in Yountville. Prior to this, they were copper miners working a mine in British Columbia, Canada.
For over 50 years the Bardessono Family sold grapes to other high end wineries and during a short time in the 1980’s produced Sauvignon Blanc commercially. This property was handed down over the generations and today Tom is vineyard manager for his 3 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and is also the winemaker. This vineyard is located on the valley floor in the Yountville town limits.
Tom currently focuses on two wines, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from his family vineyard (Maxine’s Vineyard) and a Napa Valley Petite Sirah. Tom graduated from college with a business degree and then worked for a company selling office equipment. This is not the most usual door into the wine industry, but Tom having grown up in the Napa Valley and having made wine with his father for a number of years already had wine making experience. A cellar master job opened up at Robert Mondavi; he worked there for 6 years and also picked up additional barrel experience during a stint with a French cooperage.
Today Tom is the cellar master and assistant winemaker at Miner Family which conveniently is where he makes his own wine. We tried a number of barrel samples of the Petite Sirah. Bardessono uses several different barrels for their aging program and having worked at a cooperage before, Tom knows well the characteristics each of the barrels bring to the wine.
We tried the 2006 Petite Sirah. This is sourced from a vineyard in the northern part of the valley. All the juice for this wine is fermented in 1/2 ton small bins and then aged in a combination of French and American Oak. We have had some rather “large” Petite Sirahs from Napa but this not one of those. Rather it is more refined and elegant with a lush rounded mouth feel. Nice earthiness and mineral elements are present in the nose followed by rich ripe fruit. The smooth tannins whisper on your mouth and provide a soft finish. This is a delicious wine.
Bardessono will be taking a break for a few years from the primary source for his Cabernet Sauvignon – the Maxine’s vineyard (named in honor of his mother) as it was recently replanted. The 2005 vintage has nice color (dark purple) with lively aromas containing blackberry and black currant as well as some herbal qualities. The palate is full of rich fruit, spices and some nuances of oak.
We also tried the 2006 vintage well before its release but after it was bottled. This wine already has a lovely elegant nose full of ripe fruit. Nuances of black cherry, graphite and vanilla are found on the aromas. The palate is rich and layered with tobacco and earth notes; it is a wine that has good acidity and is well balanced with a very long finish. With only 177 cases this wine won’t go far.
Bardessono wines have broad appeal with rounded mouth feels, lush fruit and soft smooth tannins. You know a Bardessono wine bottle immediately by the hand wrapped hemp string that circles the neck of each bottle. This is a neat tribute to Tom’s Italian heritage and no you won’t see this on any other Napa wine bottles! It also has a practical application as it helps stop drips when the wine is being poured.
You can find the wine locally at V Wine Cellars in Yountville and as mid 2016, the wines are available to taste at Vintner’s Collective in downtown Napa. This is a multi vintner tasting room which an excellent reputation for only carrying some of the Napa’s finest small and established producers who don’t typically have their own tasting rooms.
Their typical production is several hundred cases per year. Visit: www.bardessonovineyards.com