Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Villa Andretti White Wine for Casual Sipping

Villa Andretti California varietal white wines for every day summer sipping - Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc 2018

We picked up a special offering mixed case of Villa Andretti California white varietal wines for casual every summer sipping.

We visited Andretti Winery Estate in Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley during our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2017. We tasted a wide range of wines from extensive Andretti portfolio that consists of Estate wines sourced from grapes grown on the 41 acre property vineyards, a premium brand sourced from estate fruit and contract sources, and a more modest pedestrian brand sourced from fruit from growers beyond the Napa region.

While Andretti grow Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc on the estate vineyards, these labels from that last brand, Villa Andretti are designated California as opposed to Napa Valley or more specific sub-appellations such as Oakville or Rutherford.

The appellation rules call for the wine to be labeled based on the source of at least 75% of the grapes in the bottle. In this case, the fruit is from California, but not necessarily from Napa or other regions, and most likely, not from the Oak Knoll District estate.

While the published price or release price is comparable to estate labels of top producers such as Cliff Lede, Pahlmeyer, Markham and so on, we acquired these through this special offering at a 40% discount. Another lesson to be learned by many folks learning the branding and distribution strategies of wine producers, a producer will set a price to establish the value of the label in the marketplace. If or when they discount that price, they serve to undermine the 'street' price of their brand and label in the marketplace. Hence, producers will endeavor to prop up or maintain their 'published' price to support their brand. They'll offer discounts to valued, repeat customers who buy in quantity via a allocation distribution subscription or membership. Premium and super premium labels with strong brands and healthy demand, may only be available through such methods.

We joined the Andretti wine club and obtained several allocations of the premium Andretti Montona brand, Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay. We canceled our membership when we received the same vintage label release two years apart, in a row. The reason a collector would subscribe to such an offering would be to compare vintage releases from year to year.

Another lesson to be learned here is that Andretti is not an owner of vineyards, rather a tenant of the winery and surrounding vineyards. This might be fine however it may not be a brand to collect for long term cellaring or tasting over an extended period if it exceeds the terms of the lease. There are some long term arrangements of growers supplying producers that span several decades. And some of the most famous or notable vineyards are owned by long terms holders of the property who sell the grapes under long terms contracts to notable producers.

Lastly, like many producers, Andretti offer many brands and labels that are sourced from contract suppliers. This low end entry level every day drinking selection may or may not be such a brand.

In any event its a more modest priced set of labels geared for every day drinking. To that end we acquired a mixed case of three labels, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Moscato.

This is our first tasting of this recent purchase and receipt. Notably, we acquired this mixed case at the height of the pandemic shut in period when we were locked in, and running low of our every day drinking whites, as we entered the summer season. We'll look forward to enjoying it over the course of the summer.

Villa Andretti California Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Light silver golden peach colored, light medium bodied, somewhat muted aromatically, subdued notes of citrus, stone fruit, hints of pear and lychee - roundness but lacking focus or crisp precision on a moderate finish.

RM 86 points.


For our Covid Curve Rebound Wine Dinner we served Villa Andretti Chardonnay as an opener with the salad course and a selection of artisan cheeses.

Villa Andretti California Chardonnay 2017 

This was a nice complement to the selection of artisan cheese.

Golden butter colored, medium bodied, notes of green apple, pear and citrus, with hints of peach on a modest finish.

RM 87 points.