Contributed by Sophia Fish – SSU Wine Sense Club ended the semester with a bang, hosting Keller Estate and Muscardini Cellars for an Ugly Holiday Sweater Wine Club meeting!
About Keller Estate – A 25-Year Love Affair
The development of Keller Estate has been a 25-year love affair of Arturo and Deborah Keller. The two first fell in love with the estate while driving through Sonoma County. They soon decided to make it the site for a world-class vineyard, as well as their home.
The La Cruz vineyard took root in 1989 when the first chardonnay vines were planted. The first vintage produced by these grapes were sold to Rombauer Vineyards, who quickly saw the amazing potential of the land. In 2000 Keller Estate officially began its own label, and the construction of the winery began.
The Terroir of Keller Estate – The Petaluma Gap!
The Keller Estate is technically located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, but the winery’s terroir is characterized by the Petaluma Gap. If you are a Sonoma County local, you may know a little about a petition recently submitted to establish the Petaluma Gap as a formally recognized AVA.
The Petaluma Gap is influenced by the San Pablo Bay to the south and the opening in the coastal hills to the northwest (the gap), which allows fog from the Pacific to flow through the Petaluma Valley. These two unique influences generate a lengthy, cool growing season for the vineyards, which is perfect for pinot noir and chardonnay to thrive.
Six Petaluma Gap Wines from Keller Estate
We tasted six amazing wines from Keller Estate.
- 2014 Rose of Syrah: Salmon in color, with aromas of dried cherries, strawberries, citrus and green apple.
- 2011 La Cruz Chardonnay: A bright, crisp chardonnay with a touch of acidity and minerality.
- 2011 Oro De Plata Chardonnay: Flavors of honeydew and green apple, with a crisp yet creamy finish.
- 2012 La Cruz Pinot Noir: Aromas of ripe cherry, spice, orange peel and earth.
- 2011 El Coro Pinot Noir: Aromas of raspberry, plum and vanilla. Accented with notes of spice and pine.
- 2011 Rotie: A syrah and viognier blend. Flavors of dark berries, earth, spice with leather and tobacco notes.
The two favorites from Keller Estate: 2011 El Coro Pinot Noir and 2014 Rose of Syrah
About Muscardini – Italian Heritage
It all starts with Emilio Alchera, born in the village of Calliano in Northern Italy. Emilio came to Ellis Island in New York in 1909. He then settled in San Francisco and saved enough money to buy and run a small grocery store. There he sold bulk wine and when he had time, he made a red table wine for his family. This business eventually developed into the St. Helena Napa Valley Wine Company.
A New Generation of Winemaking
Now Emilio’s grandson, Michael Muscardini, has returned to the family’s winemaking roots. The first sangiovese vines were planted in May of 2000. While the vines grew Michael began studying winemaking. He did this by picking the brains local winemakers. He also took courses at UC Davis and Sonoma State. Now, many years and vintages later, Michael has produced award-winning wines which we are sure Emilio would be very proud of.
Five Delicious Wines from Muscardini
Muscardini presented us with five delightful wines:
- 2014 Rosato di Sangiovese Alpicella Vineyard: Bright floral notes with red berries and apple.
- 2012 Sangiovese Alpicella Vineyard: Dark aromas of blackberries, plum, strawberries, earth and spice.
- 2011 Tesoro: Enriching aromas of black cherries, plums, cherries, cacao and spice.
- 2013 Merlot Sangiacomo Vineyards: Aromas of dried cherries, licorice, plum and roasted walnuts.
- 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon B Wise Vineyards: Enticing flavors of ripe berries, sage, tobacco and leather.
The two favorites from Muscardini: 2013 Merlot Sangiacomo Vineyards & 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon B Wise Vineyards