Razi Winery is owned by architect Fred Razi; he purchased the property in the late 1980’s. After the purchase he re-planted vineyards and built the winery facility from scratch. The winery originally started out as a hobby during the first years as only non commercial wine was made here. As it tends to happen in the wine industry, over time wine related hobbies become more serious and the winery grew; today it is where wine is made for several boutique Napa producers.
Razi winery has built a beautiful modern tasting room which opened for appointment only tastings in March 2009. Because the winery is small and the owner lives on site, you will often taste with either the owner or winemaker. The actual winery is located at the southern part of the east side of Silverado Trail almost across from the Silverado Trail Wine Studio. Cross the small bridge directly off of the Silverado Trail and take the left road at the fork in front of their metal sign.
During our initial visit Razi only produced a single wine, a Chardonnay – however today they also produce a Shiraz, a Zinfandel, a Red blend and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Their prices are quite reasonable.
Razi’s Chardonnay is made from grapes grown right on the property and as you sit at the bar stools at their steel topped tasting counter look out the window; the vineyard you see merely feet away from the tasting bar is entirely planted to Chardonnay and is the source of the grapes for this wine. Along with providing the fruit for Razi’s wine, this 10 acre Chardonnay vineyard also provides fruit to a premium Napa winery who has popularized their “unfiltered” Chardonnay. Astute students of Napa wineries will know that Newton Vineyards produces what is probably the most recognized “unfiltered” Chardonnay in the valley.
We tried the 2007 vintage. It has very good color in the glass with a deep straw color that is darker than many Chardonnays on the market. This color is in part from the 9 months of 100% American Oak barrel aging. The wine went through partial malolactic fermentation and was aged on the lees. Toasted oak along with pleasant tropical fruit overtones make up the bouquet followed by a clean refreshing palate that has nuances of the oak along with pear and red apple. The long finish is clean with notes of citrus and lemon zest. Despite aging on the lees and being occasionally stirred on the lees, the wine is not overly creamy or viscous. This wine also has excellent acidity.
Their 2007 vintage was the first release of the red blend – released in 2010.
A real highlight of a tasting here (if available) is the B Wise Vineyards, Brion Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coombsville region, located a bit south of the actual winery. B Wise sources fruit from several premium vineyard sites including their own Sonoma Vineyard located just below the famed Martini hillside Monte Rosso Vineyard in neighboring Sonoma County. The Brion is why single vineyard (Bennet Vineyard), 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines such as this one are helping to put Coombsville on the map. When you have great terroir, such as from this vineyard, and a knowledgeable passionate winemaker, you are going to have one stellar wine and this one does not disappoint. It is a big wine that needs time to age and evolve. Their current release at the time of our tasting was 2004. This wine has a rich very concentrated flavor profile. It is a dark wine with a nose full of intense fruit including blueberry and blackberry. There is also a somewhat elegant vanilla undertone present in the bouquet. Mostly new French Oak was used during the aging. The palate contains layer upon layer of flavor with a finish that is well structured, yet in balance and also slightly smoky or dusty.
Another treat (if available) is the one time to date produced Lito Vin Santo found under the Monticelli Brothers label. Massimo Monticelli, a UC Davis graduate is a fourth generation winemaker and aside from being the winemaker for Razi Winery, runs his own label with his brother, appropriately named Monticelli Brothers. In addition Massimo makes wine at Razi winery for the various other small producers who are located here. The Lito Vin Santo is a blend of style’s combining the best of both worlds in regards to dessert wine from both Italy and France. Its winemaking was partially conducted in the French Sauternes style as well as the Italian Vin Santo. Only 350 cases of the 1/2 bottles were made in 2003. This is wine that is well balanced between sugar and alcohol. It only has 2% residual sugar and the alcohol is around 13 percent. As a result, it is a wine that Massimo rightly claims is for “drinking, rather than sipping”! In other words its not going to overwhelm your palate; its not a sticky syrupy dessert wine. A number of white varietals are used in this wine including Malvasia Bianca. It is very dark amber in color with nice stone fruit flavors including peach and nectarine with honey undertones.
Also ask about the Monticelli Brothers solera styled red wine called Rolando Rosso (non vintage, no dominate varietal) — this is a red wine style that is extremely uncommon in the Napa Valley. It contains 50% current vintage juice and 50% of various older vintages. Out of nearly 550 commercial wine producers in Napa that we have visited, only a couple of wineries make even a non vintage table wine. This is a wine with quality behind it yet is a great every day wine.
Razi Winery is one of the more personal tasting experiences along the southern part of the Silverado Trail – Fred often conducts tastings himself. It is a unique opportunity to taste very limited production wines (some as low as merely 50 cases) from a number of different producers. Located only minutes from the town of Napa this makes a good appointment only stop for serious wine enthusiasts in the southern part of the valley.
For nice days there is a patio for outside tasting – also serious enthusiasts may be able to try some barrel samples. We have visited Razi Winery several times and have already reviewed two other wines made here including Burly and Monticelli Brothers. For more information about Razi and or to make a tasting appointment, call: (707) 224-4299.
Wine with Tony