A Cal-Italian with a Rich Family History of Winemaking
I recently attended a “Meet the Winemaker” event at Veritas Wine Bar. It was wonderful to taste so many new wines, but it was even more interesting to hear the stories behind the bottle.
Mario Monticelli is the winemaker at Trinchero, a winery located in California’s Napa Valley.
Chatting with Monticelli over a glass of the well-balanced and easy drinking Chicken Ranch Merlot, he told me an incredible history of wine in his family.
His great grandfather immigrated from Italy, importing wine into America before later returning to Italy during prohibition. 2 generations later, Monticelli’s father came to the States from Italy as a child.
Monticelli told me of growing up drinking wine around the dinner table, a glass of water with just a splash of wine mixed in as a young child, progressively graduating to proper glasses of the family grown wine.
Trinchero produces around 12,000 cases of wine a year, including five single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. Monticelli described these single vineyard productions as a “Cabernet for every occasion.” Some skew decidedly old world in style- a nod to the Old Country with subtle and earthy notes. Others exhibit the big, bold, juicier characteristics one would expect from a Napa Cab.
When asked his favorite wine, Monticelli hesitated. He’s obviously proud of his single vineyard productions, as he should be, but described the Meritage as his “desert island” wine. One of the most versatile wines in the Trinchero portfolio, the Meritage is intensely approachable. “You can pair it with anything you like: salmon, steak, chips…”
Tasters at the event agreed, “I would definitely take this to a dinner party if I didn’t know what was being served- it’s easy drinking and hard not to like!”
Visit the Trinchero website for even more family history, photos, and information about their wines.
What would your “desert island” wine be?