Buccella Wines was founded in 2002 by Bill Deem and his wife Alicia who are both actively involved in the day to day operations. Part of their honeymoon was in the Sonoma & Napa wine country which they immediately fell in love with. Living on the East Coast and operating a successful landscaping company made it somewhat difficult to come out to Napa on vacation. However they made the most of any time off, often spending it touring the wine country and getting to know some of the vintners.
One vintner saw them often and wondered when they would become a part of the Napa wine industry. During harvest he actually offered Bill a job in the cellar – which was accepted! Bill learned quickly from this learn by doing approach and despite the mostly manual labor, loved working with the grapes and in the process gained invaluable knowledge about wine making. For a couple of years Buccella made their wine at other local Napa facilities and then in 2006 secured their own winery in a business park just south of the town of Napa.
Today Bill and his wife divide their time between Napa and Philadelphia where he still operates his landscaping business. We caught up with Bill just before the 24/7 throes of harvest for which they were already gearing up for. As of press time they focus on two high end wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot. As this winery evolves they have been able to enter long term contracts with Napa growers and in several cases the growers have planted the vineyards to the exact specifications Buccella requires – even down to the rootstalks, clones and trellising. This type of control without actually owning the land is very prudent for a winery as it involves less capital investment but still gives them the same amount of control over the vineyard (which is the most important part of winemaking).
They control vineyards from Carneros to Calistoga. Their philosophy is that blending grapes from different appellations and terroir regions as well as using a variety of clones only adds complexity to a wine. Before the final blending all their wine is blind tasted multiple times to ensure only the highest quality lots are used.
Buccella in Latin means “mouthful” or in the case of their wines – rich, bold and luxurious on the palate. We tried the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon – it is dark crimson in color. The elegant bouquet has notes of earthiness, and a floral quality – almost dried rose petal which opens up to notes of chocolate over time. The palate is well focused with a core of ripe fruit – black cherry, blackberry and blueberry. The mouth feel is soft and rounded with balanced delicate tannins and just a touch of vanilla on the finish. Some of the Cabernet Sauvignon we have tried have a fairly consistent nose over time even as the wine opens. The beauty of this wine is how complex it is and how it changes over time both in aromas and on the palate. It is these layers that reveal themselves by letting the wine open up that make this wine a joy to drink. Great acidity, lively fruit and good anchoring structure will ensure this wine will age well.
Their wines are premium and in high demand – at the time of this review their mailing list is still open but is filling up rather quickly; their total production is merely 1200 cases. You can also find their wine locally at high end wine merchants including ACME and Dean & Deluca, both in St. Helena. Visit: www.buccellawines.com