Friday, October 4, 2019

Andretti Montona Reserve Merlot 2015

Andretti Winery Montona Reserve Merlot 2015

We visited Andretti Winery in southeast Napa Valley during our Napa Wine Experience in 2018. We discovered the Andretti estate while visiting the Lewis Cellars winery which is across the road, during our Napa Wine Experience in 2017.

How ironic, the two Indianapolis Race Car drivers that have wine interests are almost adjacent to each other in Napa Valley - Mario Andretti and Randy Lewis. Notably, both source all or much of their fruit for their wines from leased property or contract growers.

This label is from the Montona Reserve brand, the high end premium line of the Andretti portfolio. The line is named for the Italian village of Montona, the hometown of the Andretti family.

Actually, Andretti was born in Croatia, like another famous Napa ‘vintner’ Mike Grgich.

Andretti Winery was established in 1996 by the famed race car driver, Mario Andretti. It is a joint venture project with Joe Antonini, former CEO of Kmart, who was one of Mario’s sponsors during his racing days.

The winery is located about 10 minutes north of downtown Napa, on Big Ranch Road, midway between the Silverado Trail and Highway 29.

The property is actually owned by the Laird Family, prominent growers and producers. Andretti leases the winery on site as well as the tasting room. Andretti also leases about 42 acres surrounding the winery, planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. They also purchase grapes from other growers from select vineyards around Napa Valley.

The estate site is in the Napa Valley Oak Knoll District in the southeast corner of the valley, which is somewhat cooler as it gets some effect from the San Pablo Bay to the south, when compared to the warmer areas up valley.

The Andretti Winery features a small faux Italian/Tuscan building and courtyard with picturesque fountains and landscaping. There is a small cottage, patios and lawns that are available for small private tastings and picturesque grounds which would be ideal for an event or outing.

The tasting room offers the extensive lineup of Andretti wines. We were hosted by Jeff (shown) who was knowledgeable about the wines and Napa Valley generally as he is has a long history and is well connected in Napa Valley being a decendent and relative cousin of the Yates Family up on Mt Veeder, if I recall correctly.

Andretti also produce several brands under the Andretti label including their Napa Valley Series (wines that are not vineyard designates), the Villa Andretti Series (reasonably priced limited production wines that focus on Italian varieties (wines not often found in the Napa Valley), and the Montona Series (named after Mario’s childhood home in Italy featuring very their most premium limited production wines).

We actually joined the wine club which provides access to the facilities and an allotment of the Montona Series of semi-premium wines throughout the year. We have fun serving the Andretti Montona label to our fellow native Hoosiers who appreciate the Indy 500 connection. 

Andretti Montona Reserve Merlot 2015

Dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, bold, elegant, nicely polished and balanced black berry and black cherry fruits with notes of floral, cassis, tobacco leaf and spice with hints of earth, black pepper and pomegranate turning to pronounced but approachable tannins on a lingering finish.

RM 90 points.

No comments:

Post a Comment