Tedeschi Family Winery released their first vintage in 2004 from their family’s 1.5-acre dry farmed vineyard just north of downtown Calistoga. This vineyard is planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon and their wines are 100% varietal. The Tedeschi’s hail from Italy where they lived right next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They originally immigrated to the states in 1919 and as a result, have a long history in the Napa Valley. The owner of Tedeschi Winery, Emil Tedeschi re-planted his current vineyard in 1974 and then moved to Hawaii and started Hawaii’s most famous winery called Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch. In 1992 he moved back to the Napa area and took jobs at well-known wineries including Grgich Hills, Cain, and Mondavi. After many years of winemaking and involvement in the wine industry he was able to release his own Napa Cabernet.
The wine is very Bordeaux in style in that the grapes are picked at lower brix, the alcohol is lower and it is refreshingly not the huge fruit driven Cabernet’s that you can commonly find in the Napa area. This is a wine that shows best when paired with food.
Tedeschi’s Cabernets typically see 36 months in oak which is longer than many wineries, but the wines are not oak driven by any means. The reason for this is his barrel program incorporates mostly neutral French Oak and some American oak. In this regards, the focus of the winemaking is to show the pure expression of the actual vineyard. In addition these wines are not fined before bottling. The winery is the oldest active bonded winery within the city of Calistoga. The 2003 and 2004 vintages are both made in a similar style with similar palate structure. They are very food friendly wines. Both vintages have subtle noses with hints of plums and blackberries on the palate. These wines have finishes that are smooth and very long.
The 2004 wine is ruby color in the glass. The bouquet is elegant and shows more red fruit aromas than dark fruit including raspberry and red currant. The aromas also hint of rose petal and graphite. The entry is lean with a medium to full bodied palate. This is a balanced wine throughout with a nice touch of tartness – including plum and cranberry. There are slightly spicy notes of oak as well as a smokiness towards the finish. Dusty tannins complete this clean and pleasing finish. The Tedeschi Vineyard has great natural acidity which helps make this an excellent food wine. Today, it is somewhat rare to have a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon under 14% alcohol and this wine is at 13.5%
This is about as boutique a winery that you can find in Napa with their total production hovering around 600 cases each year. As of press time they do not currently distribute outside of Northern California however they will ship to a variety of states. You can often find their wine locally at Dean & Deluca in St. Helena, Cal Mart in Calistoga.
Tedeschi does see visitors on a limited basis by appointment only. This is a very unique opportunity to taste with the owner and winemaker or one of his sons at his small winery. A visit here is like going back in time in Napa – “old Napa” if you will. You drive in through rows of grapes and weather permitting conduct your tasting outside, next to the vineyards and next to the actual winery. Calistoga and vicinity is certainly one of the most bike friendly regions in the Napa Valley and Tedeschi welcomes bike visitors.
Raffine, a fine artisan chocolate manufacturer based in the San Francsico Bay Area uses some of Tedeschi’s Cabernet Sauvignon for one of their chocolates. For more information about this company visit: www.raffinechocolates.com and for more information about Tedeschi Family Winery, visit: www.tedeschifamilywinery.com
Harvest at Tedeschi: