Grasso Vineyard is owned by Frank and Fran Grasso. They own a 3-acre vineyard which lies in the shadow of Mt. George located north East of the town of Napa in an area known as Coombsville. They have owned and managed this vineyard since 1989 originally selling the fruit to a high end winery located in the Stag’s Leap district of Napa Valley. Frank has been a home winemaker for a number of years and also started a local viticulture association. More recently when their growing contract ended, the Grasso’s were handed an opportunity to use their estate’s fruit for making their own commercial wine.
Their small vineyard is planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon, clone 7 (a popular clone known for high quality fruit). Frank conducts all the vineyard management himself from the trellising system, to pruning to thinning. The vineyard has its own unique terroir; it is rocky with alluvial deposits formed from ancient river channels. Interestingly some of the nearby vineyards do not have this rocky type soil. These types of alluvial rock-rich soils are ideal for producing complex red wines with very concentrated fruit flavors.
Also of note is the vineyards’ geographical location. It is in a fairly cool climate area but because they are surrounded by the mountains near Mt. George they receive fairly warm afternoon breezes in the summer. This somewhat mitigates the areas relatively close proximity to the cooler San Pablo Bay. Their wine is 100% varietal and estate grown. Grasso’s first vintage was 2005 and as of press time is their current release. Jay Buoncristiani is the winemaker who also does the winemaking for his own Buoncristiani Family label. He uses a barrel program of new French and Hungarian oak.
Their 2005 vintage is a very dark wine which really opens up the longer you let it sit in the glass. The black cherry aromas move to the palate as concentrated flavors which also contains hints of vanilla and mocha. A slight smokiness with touches of oak and cedar continue through to the long finish. This is a very elegant wine which is meant to pair well with food. Also note the stylish label which was designed by Frank’s niece. As of press time the best place to purchase this wine is from their website. Visit: www.grassovineyard.com