Over the past year, Buccella has grown to become one of my favorite wine producers in Napa Valley. As a premium, small-production boutique winery, Buccella is largely known for its bold reds. Back in November, I wrote about my amazing experience drinking Buccella’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and noted that I’d love to be able to try the Merlot after several of my Twitter followers suggested it was equally impressive. I was thrilled to learn that I’d be able to do just that on my recent trip to Napa Valley.
Winemaker Rebekah Wineburg, along with owners Bill and Alicia Deem, welcomed us for an intimate tasting of their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cuvée Katrina Eileen. (Click each to read tasting notes.) As expected, we were blown away by all three wines, but I was particularly taken by the Cuvée, which is named after the couple’s first daughter. This shouldn’t have been very surprising to me because I am on a 100% Cabernet kick and this wine is made from perfectly-ripened fruit from Yountville and Coombsville vineyards. I actually hadn’t known it existed until we visited. Then, I would say, we all bonded over the Merlot. It’s not often we meet or drink with people who appreciate this varietal as much as we do. They say that even though some people have questioned their decision to make a Merlot, they do it because they like drinking it so much. And, we’re oh, so glad.
I couldn’t help but ask whether or not their youngest daughter, Tessa, would also have a wine named after her one day. I learned that Tessa actually means “harvest,” which was fitting for her fall 2009 harvest birth. To commemorate this, they created a special barrel of a blend of wines made from grapes harvested on her birthday. They offered 5 cases of this wine at the Napa Valley Vintners Premiere Napa Valley Auction in 2010 and it sold for $46,000! Buccella has continued to make this special barrel every year from grapes harvested on her birthday. Other than the Premiere Auction, the Tessa Blend has never been bottled to sell.
While tasting, I asked about the inspiration behind the name of their winery. Buccella is the Latin word for “mouthful.” Bill and Alicia chose it to evoke the big, bold, concentrated flavors that make their wines so luxurious. Their logo is a contemporary take on the traditional tastevin cup used for wine tasting in Bordeaux and other regions, and signifies the perfect mouthful.
Where to Buy Buccella Wines
Buccella’s wines are available in three-packs direct through the winery and individually at select wine retailers (if you’re fortunate to be able to find them, like we were). You might also find Buccella’s second label, Mica, on some restaurant menus. All are excellent options for a special occasion…or options to consider when your evening simply calls for a damn good bottle of wine.