V. Sattui Winery is my grandma’s favorite place on earth. Every time I come home we make a pilgrimage up to Napa to bask in the glorious food and wine Sattui has to offer. I’ve tried to convince her there are other wineries and great restaurants to be explored, but she’s quite content to get a bottle from Sattui’s cellar, pick up some cheese, pâté and bread from their deli and head out to the shaded courtyard to enjoy them. Consequently, my suitcase is always laden with Sattui bottles tenderly wrapped in bubble wrap and Ziploc bags, socks, t-shirts, you name it. Anything to keep the precious jewels safe on the journey.
One of my grandma’s standbys is the Sattui Family Red which is made every year as a blend of the leftovers from all the other red wines they made that year. This 2010 125th Anniversary blend is mostly Zinfandel, retails at $19.75 and weighs in at a whopping 14.7%, which I do understand is not uncommon at all among Californian reds. It has a deep garnet color in the glass, is aromatic and I would say it has developed some age characteristics in the year or two it’s been in the ‘wine cellar’ − aka the closet in the spare room. On the nose there were aromas of cherry, some oak and red fruits (which is what I call it when I can’t quite pick out a particular aroma, but it smells a bit fruity).
I found it off dry, but my grandma thought it was medium sweet, so I guess that depends on your palate. It’s medium full to full bodied in the mouth with moderate, round (grandma) or dry (me) tannins and good balance. It’s very flavorful − which is one of the best things about Californian wine to me, they are almost always a mouthful of flavors − with hints of vanilla and plum, sometimes even a hint of chocolate, and a long finish.
The winemakers explain the blend:
This Zinfandel (59%) based blend also has a healthy dose of Merlot (21%), Cab (16%) and a touch of Syrah and Petit Verdot. Medium bodied with ripe raspberry and plum flavors and dusty tannins.
We enjoyed it with a rosemary-lemon lentil salad and bratwursts (blog post to come!) and I must say it went really well. After the first few bites, the flavor developed further into a more medium sweet wine with stronger flavors of vanilla. This wine would probably go great with any sort of Italian or Mediterranean cuisine, especially something like spaghetti with a rich tomato sauce. After dinner we enjoyed a chocolate or two and I would say the wine was a neutral match for the dark chocolate. It wasn’t unpleasant, but the combination didn’t really enhance either.
All in all, this is a great wine. It’s classed as a table wine with a difference and it would probably taste good with most things and please most palates. It won a gold award from the SF Chronicle Wine Competition and is definitely a winner with us.
Food pairing: We enjoyed this wine with a lemon and rosemary lentil salad and bratwurst.