2021 Viognier by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills CA

Tonight’s Occasion: 2021 Viognier by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, CA

White gold color. Out of the bottle, slightly restrained notes of ripe cantaloupe and fresh mellon. Hints stone fruit as it settles. An underlying rocky, slate leather lingers in the background, barely noticeable but unmistakable for this vineyard and region at large. As it breathes, the mellon develop a subtle honeysuckle. This is Viognier.

Body is light with a touch of viscosity. Fruit carries over nicely with more stone fruit. Apricot and ripe peach pull forward. There’s almost a mango-like essence. A gentle spice warmth slowly emerges midway. As it opens up, notes of sweet citrus and cedarwood linger. The whole show slowly fades, leaving the palate warm.

This is Viognier done right. Not too overpowering on the aromas. A little restraint goes a long way. It’s what you get when you take good fruit, put it through a clean standard program and stay out of the way. Wine should be this simple. Unfortunately that’s rarely the case.

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Don Giovanni by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, CA

Tonight’s Occasion: Don Giovanni by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, CA

29% Cab Sauv, 29% Syrah, 14% Malbec, 14% Maurvedre, 14% Cab Franc

Slightly ripe plum, licorice, touch of butterscotch. A damp rocky essence emanates from the background reminiscent of damp slate after a warm summer rain. Subtle tertiary notes of sweet blueberries and a hint of pinewood.

A touch acid greets the palate lending a bit of good tension. This quickly relaxes over the palate giving way to a subtle wet wood leather which slowly morphs into a subtle oak caramel. The fruit expression is slightly muted and quickly thins out across the palate consisting of plums, blueberries and blackberries. Tannic structure is fairly restrained, dissolved, and fully integrated. It never quite precipitates until after the finish where it slowly coats the entire palate and lips in a fines grained dusty grit. As it opens up I’m picking up more of that rocky dirt.

This is a terroir driven wine. Fairly dry. The Don Giovanni was the result of a collaboration with Naggiar Vineyards. A cross vintage blend of various estate wines. I was given Carte Blanche to create the latest edition of this wine. Working with a lineup of faithful wines in the cellar, and some inspiration from owners Shawn and Mary Naggiar, my goal here was to create a blend where each varietal was expressed, did not dominate, compensated for if not complemented the others. The best part of this project, was that the individual wines were solid if not amazing and could stand alone by themselves. The Malbec is also available as a stand-alone. We will be looking at it later. Naggiar Vineyards has always been a grower first, producing good fruit and this shows in their wines.

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2017 Le Grand-Pere by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 Le Grand-Pere (The Grandfather, Rhone Blend) by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, CA.

Warm nose, with ripe dark cherries, plum and berries. Together with a secondary anise this ripeness creates a red vines licorice essence. Good sense of place. This expression is typical of a faithful wine from this region. Subtle oak vanilla blends in and accentuates nicely.

Body greets with a touch of acidity lending some good tension. This is quickly smothered by ripe plum and cherry. A punch of oak vanilla further elevates the fruit, morphing into a crisp, refined caramel. Thick, bold tannins provide a slightly restrained structure but as it opens up they pull forward and dominate the experience from front to back, giving this wine’s youth away. Definitely recommend decanting. Transition to finish is seamless, characterized by blackberries, black currants, and a fine grained dusty but firm tannic grip.

Fall Sunrise over Naggiar Vineyards

This region is known for its longer ripening season. This extended hang time results in more intense fruit flavors and a bigger bolder wine overall. This is its identity. It’s sense of place. Slightly fruit forward, shows good balance. I think with more cellar time this wine should further integrate very nicely. Recommend at least 5 to 10 more years. Get yours now and lay them down.

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2017 La Bohème by Naggiar Vineyards

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 La Bohème (Bordeaux Blend) by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, CA.

Deep dark rich ruby color. Out of the bottle, nose is a bit restrained with crisp dark plum and a wet granite essence, and touch of sweet cherry cola you’d likely miss. Swirling vigorously releases more cherry cola and wet granite reminiscent of a mid-summer rain on a hot day – that essence that rises from the first drops as they hit the warm gravel. As it breathes, an unmistakable anise emerges in the back and moves forward. This is expected of a terroir driven wine from this region. I love it.

Body is clean, crisp, dry and balanced from front to back. Restrained tart plum ushers a well mannered expression providing crisp, thin but firm tannic structure. A clean crisp oak elevates the fruit essence. It is so subtle you’d likely miss it. I suspect neutral oak was used here. It has a precise, measured mouth feel. Crisp tannins turn dusty as body slowly gives way to its mineral underpinnings, black currants and a gentle, warm spice which emerges through the finish, descending down the chest and leaving the lips parched shut under a gentle but firm tannic grip.

This Bordeaux blend comes across as an exercise in balance and restraint. It is a well crafted example I can easily recommend for the intermediate to advanced palate who is curious to explore the Sierra Foothills and what it has to offer. A masterful showpiece.

Tres bien fait! Je l’aime beaucoup!

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2017 The Red (Root 49) by Naggiar Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 The Red (Root 49) by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, California

Composition: 32% Syrah, 32% Tempranillo, 27% Malbec, 9% Grenache.

Out of the bottle the nose is filled with a dusty Cedarwood with a hint of redwood. This subsides a little but remains prominent throughout. It’s oak underpinnings is revealed ever so slightly while it eventually turns to black licorice as it opens up. I expect this from a terroir driven wine of this region however not as a primary note. Ripe plums and dark cherries take a secondary stage. An almost oily granite minerality lingers in the back. Another distant floral note eludes me. Interesting.

Body greets with a dash of acidity. Ripe plums, cherries, berries blue and straw quickly usher the palate in followed by a dash of oak. This immediately sets a fuller, more tamed stage. Slightly thin, crisp tannins provides good structure and balance while remaining largely in the shadows. Body as a slightly whispy mouth feel. Interesting, considering how massive this wine is otherwise. At 14.7% ABV this very well balanced and restrained. Transition to finish starts with dry tannins and a gentle but intense spice heat moving to the front. The duel is quick, as both quickly settle for a truce, leaving the lips parched shut and tingling.

This wine was made in the Vineyards. The winemaker shows great stewardship of their transformation. The hallmark of a great winemaker.

Nicely done Naggiar!

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2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Root 49) by Naggiar Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Root 49) by Naggiar Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, California

Dark opaque color out of the bottle. Rich dark plum essence on the nose. A granite rocky mineral essence comes second. Swirling vigorously unlocks a burst of sweet, dark cherry and red vines licorice as a distant leather disappears into the background. Notes are crisp, unmistakable, and very highly delineated.

Body is precisely balanced from attack to finish. Fruit carries through, and is well represented without overwhelming the palate. Oak is measured, almost unnoticeable as it conspires with dark plum and berries to create a slightly silky mouth feel. This has the effect of taming this fairly dry wine. Firm tannins provide broad structure across the palate while remaining fairly restrained. Transition to finish is marked by a the unleashing of massive tannins that, in short order, completely dominate the palate, revealing its relative youth. Blackberries and currants linger as an ever tightening grip seals your lips shut, parched. At 14.7% ABV you would hardly notice but for a slightly bold spice towards the finish which easily dissipates as it opens up. A testament to the winemaker’s craft.

This is a big bold Cab by all accounts. It is full of character, balanced and shows a good amount of restraint. It will only become more interesting as it further integrates over the next 5-10 years. This is a winemaker to watch closely. Well built, impeccably executed wines.

Very nicely done Naggiar Vineyards!

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