Another Napa Gem

Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2011

I feel that Napa Valley is a magical place.    For so many reasons.  Of course, the wines produced in the valley now enjoy a world-wide reputation for excellence.  We all know the geography is beautiful, rolling and lush with both vine and natural landscape.  And, or course, each area and city have their own unique, special charm. 

However, beyond all else, I find the people to be consistently wonderful, charming, warm, engaging and passionate.  As I travel through the valley on our Two Masters wine tasting jaunts, I meet so many amazing people.  Of course, each has a different approach to winemaking, a different style, personality, etc.  But they all share one common trait:  They all LOVE the land and the wine it produces.   They see themselves as stewards of a prized asset; caretakers of small but special piece of the earth we know as Napa Valley.  Making the vines grow and blossom is their passion.  One that remains consistent year after year, decade after decade, throughout the eons.  It is this passion for their terroir, whether growing, protecting, or preserving, that each seems to share. 

The proprietor of Rocca Family Vineyards, Mary Rocca, fits comfortably into this mold.   Several months ago, Don Steiner and I met Mary at a small farm house at the southern edge of the valley and had the chance to share a few moments and, of course, a few tastes of her wines.  Toward the end of a fairly hectic day for Don and I, we were finally able to sit down, relax for an few moments, and enjoy the beauty of the wine, the vineyard, and the company.   Mary is a charming woman, deeply committed to her passion.  And the quality of the Rocca wine reflects her deep commitment. 

Rocca produces their cab from grapes grown on their Grigsby Vineyard.   This vineyard is located within the Yountville appelation - or AVA - a large area in the southern valley, mostly valley floor.   The slightly undulating land of the Yountville AVA is known to produce premier cabernet grapes.   Here's an AVA map that helps show the various different AVAs in Napa:

You can see the Oakville AVA to the north and Stags Leap to the east - all well known, excellent cab production areas. 

The 2007 Rocca cab is very special.   All the grapes come from their Grigsby Vineyard, located at the corner of the Silverado Trail and the Yountville Cross.  98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot, the winemaker and Mary describe the wine as "flamboyant and ripe" with "lush fruit and soft, caressing tannins."   Of course, as this is indeed a bold cabernet, you will smell and taste the traditional thick aromas of fruit:  Blackberry, rasberry and black cherry.   The mid-palate and finish are sliky smooth.   Personally, I found a hint of subdued chocolate and toasted almond on the entry.  Did you?  Let me know. 

Unfortunately, our idyllic afternoon had to come to an end.  Don and I needed to catch a plane.   So we said good bye to Mary and the Rocca Family Vineyard, knowing we would be back, and, of course, happy to bring cases of the 2007 Grigsby Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon back for everyone to enjoy.  We certainly hope you do!

En vino veritas!

Terry Liebman



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