Through The Grapevine: Napa Valley’s Most Revered Vintners

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Through-The-Grapevine

 Tony Biagi knows his wine. With years of experience in Napa Valley working his way through several prestigious vineyards, Tony has since made a name for himself at PlumpJack and CADE, two of the most esteemed wineries around.

It seems almost redundant to say that Napa Valley has quickly been recognized as one of the finest regions in the world for producing top quality grapes, but what is often overlooked is who exactly is making all this spectacular wine. Coinciding with Auction Napa Valley, we recently had the chance to speak with four of the best, and most revered vintners in all of Napa to discuss what makes their wines so special, their personal favorite varietal, and what, to them, is the best part of Auction Napa Valley.

Chappellet (Cyril Chappellet)

Chappellet Winery is located 1,200 feet above the Napa Valley floor on Pritchard Hill, which gives the estate a unique elevation and climate for growing the best Bordeaux varietals.  The family owned and operated vineyard is now into its second generation of business with Cyril Chappellet, son of founders Donn and Molly, presiding over the hilltop retreat. Though he readily admits to the fortune and prosperity owed to the unique soil and land conditions of the estate, he is also quick to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of his family and loyal staff in crafting only the best wines possible.

When asked about his favorite wine produced at Chappellet, Cyril emphatically responded, “CABERNET!” He went on to say that what excites him is the process of blending the varietals to achieve a complex and expressive flavor. Ever democratic about his wine enthusiasm, Cyril extends his fascination to all Bordeaux varietals.

With the approach of another Auction Napa Valley this June, the buzz around Napa is all about what each vineyard will have in store for tasting, and what special vintages will be available. But, for Cyril, the event is about more than just a showcase of great wine, it’s a chance to meet and catch up with all the incredible people who come to support the community of vintners, a family all its own.

PlumpJack and CADE (Tony Biagi)

Tony Biagi knows his wine. With years of experience in Napa Valley working his way through several prestigious vineyards, Tony has since made a name for himself at PlumpJack and CADE, two of the most esteemed wineries around. Though most winemakers are busy enough tending to the duties required of one vintage, Tony seems to have enough time and skill to manage two. Since earning a reputation at PlumpJack for full-bodied richness, aromatics, and ripeness from even toughest critics, Tony took on responsibilities at the ultra-green winemaking facility at CADE.  A state-of-the-art, gold LEED certified facility, the only in Napa Valley, or California for that matter, to earn the distinction, CADE wines have become the object of a cult following just as PlumpJack has. Among the many varietals produced by both PlumpJack and CADE that are so sought after by the wine seeking public, Tony admits his favorite of both to be the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

Since his first experience at Auction Napa Valley in 1994, Tony has remained impressed by the consistent show of hospitality by the participating vintners and volunteers. Even 17 auctions later, Tony still remembers brushing shoulders with the “superstars” of Napa Valley, and recalled how each greeted him with a warm smile and thanked him for coming. It’s that kind of personal attention that gives the auction a true local feeling, and since the money raised not only benefits the vintners but the entire Napa community, Tony is honored to take part each year.

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