2009 Abreu Cappella Napa Valley Wine Tasting Note
Abreu Vineyards, Soils, Grapes, Wines, Winemaking
As of 2011, Abreu controls close to 70 acres of prime, vineyard land in Napa. Abreu Vineyards currently produces 5 wines, Madrona Ranch, Thorevilos, Capella, Howell Mountain and Rothwell Hyde. All the wines of Abreu Vineyards are California Cabernet Sauvignon based.
The birth of Abreu Vineyards can be traded back to 1986, when David Abreu purchased his first vines. Planted in 1980, the now famous Madrona Vineyard covers 23 acres. The poor soil consists of various types of clay, including a deep rich, red Aiken clay, rocks, and stones. The vineyard is planted to the following Bordeaux wine varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Petit Verdot was planted in 2000. In 1987, the wine made its commercial debut. Due to enthusiastic praise from Robert Parker for Abreu Vineyards, and word of mouth from winemakers and tasters located in Napa, Abreu Vineyards was instantly popular with wine lovers starting with the 1994 vintage. On average, the blend is about 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35-40% Cabernet Franc and the remainder is Merlot with a small amount of Petit Verdot. Production is under 500 cases per year. However, it is interesting and important to note that Madrona Ranch is also a real working ranch with horses, cattle, pigs, chickens and goats, as well as olive trees.
David Abreu planted the 22 acre Thorevilos vineyard in 1990. The vineyard has an elevation of 800 feet at its peak. When David Abreu first began working to cultivate the vineyard, it was not planted. The soils are mostly volcanic rock, with stones, pebbles and ash with red clay. The wine is usually a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35-40% Cabernet Franc with most of the remainder being Petit Verdot, along with a small amount of Merlot. Under 500 cases are produced of this wine each year. Thorevilos is the only Abreu vineyard that is not situated in any of the numerous Napa Valley appellations. It's located in the middle of St. Helena and Howell Mountain.
Abreu Vineyards Capella, from a 6 acre, hillside parcel of vines is close to St. Helena. Capella is one of the oldest vineyards in Napa, as it was first cultivated in 1869. The blend often ranges from 60-70% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder being Cabernet Franc and a small amount of Petit Verdot.
Abreu Vineyards Las Posadas Howell Mountain is produced from an 18 acre vineyard located on one of the highest elevations on Howell Mountain at close to 2,000 feet. That level of elevation gives them a unique micro climate which works perfectly with their combination of white, volcanic stone, limestone and red clay soils. The extreme elevations place the vineyard above the fog line, which explains how the fruit is able to fully ripen, and the tannins are polished, which is quite difficult for mountain fruit. The wine is a blend of approximately 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc with the remainder being Petit Verdot.
David Abreu is a perfectionist with all his clients vineyards and his property is no exception. Similar to how Chateau Haut Brion in Pessac Leognan picks, Abreu prefers harvesting in the early morning, taking advantage of the cooler temperatures. The fruit is sorted twice, before and the fruit is fermented with whole berries. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is placed in 100% new, French, oak barrels where it remains for two years before bottling. They hold the wine of Abreu Vineyards for an additional two years before offering it to an eager list of customers that purchase directly from him.
Another key to the success of Abreu Vineyards is Brad Grimes, the wine maker of Abreu. It's the combination of Brad Grimes, David Abreu and the vineyards that produce one of the top wines from Napa, year after year Stylistically, the wine is elegant, balanced and refined, yet it possess copious amounts of perfectly ripe fruit and silky tannins. Big, rich and ripe, but never over the top, this is a great example of what Napa does best.
Serving and Decanting Abreu with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Abreu Vineyards is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for 1-3 hours, depending on the character of the vintage. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Abreu Vineyards is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, ribs, ribs, hamburgers, barbecue, roasted, braised, grilled dishes and stews. Abreu Vineyards is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.