If there’s one region of the United States that I’d love to spend more quality time in, it’s California’s Napa Valley. I’m fortunate enough to have been raised in a proud wine region and to have visited many others around the world, but Napa still calls to me, beckoning me to come taste its fruit.
Luckily for me, I don’t actually have to travel to Napa to do so. Although that would be nice…
Throughout this holiday season, I had the supreme pleasure of sampling some wines from one of Napa Valley’s finest family-owned institutions, Trinchero Napa Valley. While the wines themselves were superb (I’ll get to those in a minute) it was the story of the Trinchero family and their dedication to their craft that really stuck with me and made me all the more excited to one day visit their enchanting estate.
Mario Trinchero arrived in Napa in 1948; the young Italian immigrant made his way west from New York City to pursue his American dream with his wife Mary and their three young children in tow. Upon arrival, Mario and his brother John purchased a St. Helena winery that had been abandoned during Prohibition; with this, they took their first step toward building their legacy.
At first, the family scraped by with their small business in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, but in the decades that followed, their grand ambitions would become reality. By the 1970s, single-vineyard Zinfandel wines from the Trinchero family’s vines were receiving widespread acclaim. In 1972, second-generation vintner Bob Trinchero created the world’s first White Zinfandel (under the Sutter Home label) and the family’s prestige would only continue to grow from there.
The family’s collection of estate vineyards now spans over 200 acres in the Napa Valley. In 2004, a new winery was purchased with the intention of bottling the first boutique wines under the Trinchero Napa Valley label. In 2007, this dream was finally realized.
In 2016, many more achievements have been achieved by the Trinchero family, including the opening of a gorgeous new tasting room…
…and the unveiling of the Heritage Collection, which includes Mario’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Forte Red Wine, the BRV Cabernet Sauvignon and Mary’s Sauvignon Blanc (the only one I didn’t get to taste). The three reds I had the divine pleasure of sampling this fall alongside many of my nearest and dearest as we celebrated the holidays and the changing of seasons.
Toasting to family with family-grown wines–what could be more appropriate?
I brought the first bottle with me to a “Friendsgiving” celebration a few weeks before the actual day of giving thanks. This potluck-style affair drew a crowd nearing 50 people, and the joy quite literally emanated from the room. We spent hours laughing and singing beside the fire, ate more food than we needed to, and capped off the night with a bit of dancing in the living room once all of the dining tables had been cleared out.
The wine for this celebration? The Forte Red Wine blend. This sustainably sourced mixture of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot grapes was the perfect accompaniment to the flavor explosions created by sampling a million foods at once, but its fruitiness and smooth tannins paired particularly well with our smorgasbord of desserts.
A few weeks later came Thanksgiving Day. My family has a long-running tradition of enjoying this particular holiday with some family friends–you know, the kind of people who are so close to you they might as well BE your family? But this year we had a few extra guests on top of that, so needless to say, it was a very full house that night!
We decided to uncork the BRV Cabernet Sauvignon for this night–the BRV stands for Bob, Roger and Vera, the second-generation Trincheros. The grapes for this wine hail from two of the Trinchero family’s harshest, rockiest sites where the vines produce the intense and expressive fruit that give the BRV its bold flavor.
Earthy and spicy with black fruit aromas, this wine went down well all on its own; but, when dinner time finally rolled around I was all the more thankful–for my glass full of flavor, for the incredible people that surrounded me, and for a room full of unconditional love.
Unknowingly, however, I had indeed saved the best for last. Mario’s Cabernet Sauvignon proved to be my favorite of the collection; the velvety mouthfeel made it a perfect, well, middle-of-the-afternoon wine that I enjoyed in the company of my mother on one of our last beautifully sunny fall days before winter arrived.
The sunny appearance of the day was a bit deceiving, though, so we were grateful to be warmed from the inside with the help of this lush and jammy ruby-red wine.
Naturally, I was devastated when the last bottle had finally been emptied, but overflowing with gratitude for the opportunity to bring a little bit of Napa Valley to Washington.
In the years to come, I have grand plans of exploring more of my own backyard–the whole of the United States, that is–and one of my first stops will most certainly be this gorgeous wine region and the Trinchero family’s vineyards.
But if you’re like me and itching to sample these bottles of liquid gold long before you have a chance to grace the undulating hills of the Napa Valley in real life, you can find and order the wines from the Heritage Collection on the Trinchero Napa Valley website.
Thank you to Trinchero Napa Valley for sponsoring this post. Winery photos are courtesy of Trinchero Napa Valley, and all opinions expressed are my own.