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Bacio Divino Pazzo Red Blend 2016
This aromatically dynamic wine shows off concentrated dark fruits initially, with more subtle notes of roasted herbs, and leather. Rich dark berry fruit with mocha and cocoa tones on the first sip release to an exceptionally rich mouthfeel and a bold tannin structure. 'Delicious' is the word most used to describe Pazzo.
Being so motivated, I longed to create a distinctive, noble wine. In the California tradition of working with the new to improve the traditional, I looked to achieve a way of broadening the distinctly majestic flavors and aromas of the king of Napa Valley's varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon. Over the years I've had the opportunity to experiment with various lots of Cabernet, and I eventually settled on the hillside fruit from Ahollinger vineyards in the Mount Veeder area. This vineyard produces a bold and expressive, yet elegant wine. In 1992, we discovered the Sangiovese fruit of Cal Showket in the Oakville appellation, and were literally overwhelmed by the intensity of what resulted in our first crush in 1993. To embellish the color and acid levels of the Sangiovese, we crushed and macerated this fruit with one and a half tons of the best Petite Syrah fruit I had ever sampled.
As time aged each of these wines, and molded their individual character, I was able to determine a blend that married the elegant, yet rich and softly oaked Cabernet with the Sangiovese's long and linear tannins, at the same time elevating the cherry, berry Sangiovese fruit to a pronounced level. The resulting wine showed that a whole could be greater than it's individual parts. And so...'Bacio Divino', a divine kiss, was born.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.