One of my favorite duties as a Sommelier is the opportunity to taste and discover new exceptional wines. (Yes, I do love my job, but I assure you that is only part of it!) And when I can’t get to the wineries due to the everyday demands of my job, I simply love it when the winery—and the winemaker—come to me! Such was the occasion when Aaron Buoncristiani of the Napa Valley family winery bearing his name visited me at the Inn with an extraordinary line up of wines.
Aaron and his three brothers are running the show at Buoncristiani Family Winery. The Winery was established in 1999 by the young foursome who were born and raised in Napa. They are bonded by blood, but also by a shared passion and dedication to handcrafting ultra premium wines. They are succeeding and being noticed! They are currently in the process of building a winery on the Soda Canyon Ranch Road in Napa Valley.
This was the first time I had tasted these very small production wines with Aaron. WOW. We tasted Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Malbec, Syrah and a Proprietary red blend O.P.C (old pa’s cuvee).
All of these are quality wines, but the Malbec was exceptional. Usually used as a blending varietal, this is the first vintage Buoncristiani decided to bottle Malbec all on its own. This is not an inexpensive Malbec, but once you taste it, you will appreciate the quality. This wine captured my attention, and I had to keep re-visiting it to taste with consistent thoughts of how well this wine drinks.
The Malbec is dark purple in color with intense black and blue fruits, white pepper, spice, violets, vanilla, toasty oak, maybe some white chocolate, displaying deep flavor, yet extremely balanced with a long, long, satisfying finish.
The limited production of all the Buoncristiani wines will make it difficult to find them in retail stores. I believe they made only 125 cases of the 2008 Malbec, and I was fortunate enough to get a case to add to the Bernards Inn wine list!
Aaron assists Philippe Melka in the winemaking of the Roy Estate Wines which are also located on the Soda Canyon Ranch Road and happen to be a top red choice of mine from the Napa Valley. Interesting that Philippe Melka has always been a favorite winemaker for me, and Aaron obviously has a suited style that shines as well. I certainly look forward to the completion of the Buoncristiani family facility with the anticipation of visiting them on my next visit to the Napa Valley.
I invite you try this wonderful Malbec the next time you dine with us. It pairs exceptionally well with these dishes on our menu:
- Dry Aged Rib Eye with Aligot potatoes (potato puree enhanced with gruyere and swiss chesse), asparagus, roasted pearl onions, black truffle sauce.
- Beef Tenderloin Tips from our bar menu
- The Bernards Inn Burger would be fabulous with the Malbec, add to the burger caramelized Vidalia onions, applewood smoked bacon and Vermont white cheddar cheese and you’ve connected with something delicious.
Let’s not forgot the wonderful pairing of harder style cheeses such as Idiazabal which is a pressed cheese made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk from the Basque Country and Navarre Spain: or Tomme de Savoie which is from cow’s milk made in the valley of the Savoie in the French Alps. Parmesan, Pecorino, and Hard Cheddars would also be excellent accompaniments.