FrontRunners March 2015: LEISURE
Joy Story Many remarkable developments have occurred in the winery where the winemaker Chris Carpenter carefully crafts Lokoya and Cardinale, two of Napa Valley’s best-loved red wines. Though the vineyards—and hence the wines—are different, his goal for both remains the same: to allow the places and climate to tell the unique story of each vintage. This philosophy he passed on to his protégé, Laura Díaz Muñoz, who has since taken on the role of winemaker at Galerie, a new label that produces expressions of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and Knights Valley. A native of Spain, Muñoz has a rare gift for rendering white wines. The Galerie 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Naissance Napa Valley ($30, galeriewines.com) presents a joyous infusion of ripe peach, loquat, and honeysuckle invigorated by an undercurrent of citrus acidity.
Good Neighbors Location is everything, as realtors are wont to declare—and nowhere is this truism truer than in the wine industry. Erika Ratti, who purchased 170 acres of land near the Tuscan village of Monteverdi Marittimo, understood the importance of locale when she selected the land that would become Tenuta Sette Cieli. Her son, Ambrogio Cremona Ratti, who now serves as the estate’s owner and brand ambassador, is the beneficiary of her prescience: The estate’s neighbors include Ornellaia, Guado al Tasso, and Tenuta San Guido, the home of Sassicaia. A vintner could ask for no better company, and the vineyard’s elite environs inform the flavors and textures of the Tenuta Sette Cieli 2009 Scipio Toscana ($112, tenutasettecieli.com). This 100 percent Cabernet Franc exudes aromas of blueberry, blackberry, and bittersweet chocolate, while on the palate, leather, cinnamon, allspice, and sweet oregano precede the prolonged finish.