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A Super Tuscan without a Super Price: Salvestrin Retaggio 2006

The Salvestrin Winery is what I would call a relatively new wine making venture on the vino horizon starting out in 1994 in historic St. Helena vineyards of Napa. But there is one thing which is not new for Salvestrin; producing grapes of distinction is nothing new and with having sold grapes to the likes of Freemark Abbey, Raymond, Rombauer, Robert Biale and Rutherford Hill, all who made award winning wines from Salvestrin fruit.You can see why they wanted to start their own label.

So now it was their turn, but building and maintaining a new label can be very difficult if not impossible, especially in the overcrowded and noisy Napa Valley. So with Rich Salvestrin having completed his degree in viticulture from Fresno State University in 1987 he decided to return to the family vineyard to help farm. But he also wanted to help expand the families grape growing business to include winemaking. So with the 1994 inaugural vintage of Salvestrin Cabernet Sauvignon they embarked on a new journey with their own label and in 2001 their estate winery was constructed amongst the family vines and today, three generations live on the 26 acre property. A true "familiy-run" business.

The Wine: The 2006 Salvestrin Retaggio: The name which translates in Italian for Legacy, a name that fits in with the tradition of fine winemaking coming from Salvestrin.

First Swirl: Displays an elegant ruby core, fleeing to the light cherry colored rim and copious legs coat the glass.

First Sniff: My senses are charged by aromas of ripe red cherry and blackberry fruit, licorice and subtle cocoa components.

First Sip: It's full of complex flavors, blackberry, plum, espresso, licorice, creamy vanilla accents and a touch of bittersweet chocolate. The taste is rich and smooth, the tannins firm yet supple, the finish is long and generous with food friendly weight.

Alcohol and Price: The wine weighed in at 14.8% alcohol and sells for $29 and $34 depending on where you shop.

Where to buy: The Salvestrin Winery Retaggio Napa Valley, 2006 for $29.95 La Maison Gourmet in Mission Viejo, Ca. This was the only place I could find selling this wine remotely close to the area. But you could easily find it online or purchase through the wineries web-site.

Composition: What's in the blend this well made hand-crafted Super Tuscan styled wine?45% Sangiovese, 35% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon & 5% Petite Sirah and this wine was barrel aged 18 months 75% French—25% American 25% New Oak.

Soil Type: Their estate vineyard is composed of two identifiable soil types, Cortina and Bale and ideally suited to wine grape production.

Wine Making Approach: According to Rich Salvestrin,"To maximize the flavor profile in our grapes, we attempt to balance sunlight, canopy, crop load and water on a given site and once the grapes are in the winery we take a minimalist approach with as little intervention as possible."

Other wines of note: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard. 100% Estate.

My Recommendation: This wine makes pairing very simple, because of the supple tannins it makes a fine food companion and will pair nicely with just about most menus. A well made wine, drink now and often! I would score this wine 91 points, if I was in the wine scoring business, suffice it to say this is a excellent effort. This a wine to stock up on and a overall great value for the money. This is built to age a few more years if you can wait that long. But for the patient it will reward your palate.

Full Disclosure: Megan Gordon who I know from Facebook sent me a couple samples for review. One which I have not opened yet and the other is the Salvestrin Winery Retaggio 2006 I was very pleased from the very moment I opened this Super Tuscan inspired wine, the lingering smell of coming attractions!

QPR status: This is what I would call a budget Super Tuscan compared to some of it's peers in Tuscany. For example, the highly sought-after Ornellaia, will set you back a wallet emptying $100 for the 2000 vintage or even if you looked at Brancaia or the Promis this wine compares quite favorably. Now while this wine is only inspired by Super Tuscan styling, you can really get a sense of having a Super Tuscan without the super-price selling for $26.99 -$30.00 each it is a great value!

Other Voices: Excerpt from a happy customer via YELP "Salvestrin is the silver lining to the cloud of overtly-commercialized wineries in Napa. No standing around the tasting room bar being ignored like other wineries in the area. My brother, his wife and I turned into the driveway at Salvestrin and even though there were signs saying tastings by appointment only we were immediately greeted and invited into the tasting room. We stayed for about an hour and tasted all of their wines. The girl who runs the tasting room was awesome, very sociable and also told us a lot about the wines and the Salvestrin family. They have a great cab and their petit syrah is only available to their wine club because its so popular. Luckily we were able to get one of the few bottles left. They waive the tasting fee if you buy a bottle. If you're in Napa go visit Salvestrin." -Philip H.


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