Varozza Vineyards2001 Cabernet Sauvignon
(St. Helena ~ Napa Valley)
This is the second release from a revived winery family that dates to 1913. Swiss-born Joseph Varozza made wine on Pratt Avenue just north of St. Helena under the JA Varozza label until his death in ’46. It’s from the 37-acre vineyard that Joseph’s grandson Jack began leasing in 1999, that the Varozza label was reborn.
Winemaker Bill Ballentine (St. Clement ’98-’01, Astrale e Terra ’01-present, William Cole, present), a childhood friend of Jack Varozza, is one of those few remaining producers who believes in not releasing a wine until it’s really, or at least close, to being ready. In this case, the wine spent 36 months in French barrels – four new, the rest 3 years old. Therefore, at about the time Varozza released this Cab, the rest of California was beginning to putting their ‘03s on the market.
I applaud Varozza for the practice and it shows in the bottle. While the wine is still very tight with a goodly dose of tannin, one can already tell that it possesses delicious black fruit, is well-balanced, and has a long, long finish. However, despite the delayed release, the wine still needs a couple more years and then it will show its stuff over the next 15.
The vineyard sits near the juncture of York Creek and the Napa River so all of the alluvial soils have been deposited in this vineyard creating a rich foundation. Some of the Cab blocks, at 60 years old, are considered “old vines,” but a replanting program has been undertaken. Listed alcohol is 14.2 %. There were 350 cases produced.
Reviewed June 30, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.