One of my favorite parts about visiting wine country is getting to hear how important the art of winemaking is to some very special families, including some of my recent intros to Robert Mondavi, Benziger, and Trinchero. In fact, Napa and Sonoma are some of the only places in the world where I’ve gotten to visit one family business after another. And they are often of Italian lineage like mine to boot. The Buoncristiani brothers were the grand finale to my most recent trip, one final stop on my way to the airport. Matt, Jay, Aaron and Nate are several generations into winemaking, but they decided that the family actually needed a (not-just-a-hobby) winery — and so the young whippersnappers created one. Their next step? Build wine caves like Napa has never seen.
They invited us for a sneak peak.
We followed Aaron in a small caravan of cars up to the top of a dusty hill having no idea what to expect. Once we’d parked, we trudged through the dirt, laughing in the sun. Then we were poured some delicious wine (of course) and ushered into the cave construction zone. I had never seen anything like it.
The caves will eventually be 20,000 square feet and are already three years behind schedule. It’s hard to imagine how they will look when finished, even though I have been in plenty of wine caves.
The brothers have had their label since 1999. The youngest wasn’t even old enough to drink! But with their family, they’ve been making wine for as long as they could remember. Their Nonno would be proud.
Once outside, we all blinked to readjust to the light. Those caves are going to be huge! We decided to stay put for a little snack (when in Rome…), and Aaron set up shop on a little lookout over the Stag’s Leap Appellation. The views were spectacular.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to make a simple snack of cheese and bread taste nearly as delicious as it does in Napa, especially paired with local wines…
We were treated to a tasting of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and the brothers’ famous O.P.C. The logo, inspired by Aaron’s own design, features four loops for the four brothers, which creates a cross for Cristiani.
Buoncristiani’s wine is regularly given high ratings between 90 and 97 from the various powers-that-be. It is so exciting to watch these guys as they take off!
Many thanks to my friend Liza the Wine Chick for bringing us Vegas folk on this special adventure.
The Buoncristiani brothers require a reservation for their unique tasting. Don’t be shy!
Please contact them directly:
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