Friday, October 5, 2012

Luna Vineyards – A Cal-Italia Winery in Napa, California

Continuing with the Cal-Italia theme, after eating lunch at Tra Vigne, my second stop for the day was at Luna Vineyards located at the southern end of the Silverado Trail. I visited this winery back in 2000 the first time I was in my Italian varietal phase and was immediately impressed with their wines. I particularly loved their Super Tuscan wine “Canto.” In fact, I was so impressed I was a member of their club for a couple years.

The winery was co-founded George Vare and Mike Moone in 1995, who set themselves apart from their neighbors by planting the Italian varietals Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese. But, Luna isn’t exclusively focused on Italian varietals as they also bottle Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and now they have two unique proprietary bends called “Lunatic.”

Recently I picked up a bottle of their “Lunatic” red at a grocery store which is a unique blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Souzao (suh-zay-oh), a Portugese varietal. I was really impressed with it and so I was eager to return to Luna to experience their wines again. They also have a “Lunatic” white blend of Chardonnay, Albarino and Malvasia Bianca. Unfortunately they were not pouring these wines at the tasting room.

In addition to the Luna lineup of wines, the winery has a long term partnership with Arnold Palmer and produces the much acclaimed Moone-Tasi wines, which are very small production and enjoy a cult-like status. 

The tasting room has two wine tasting flights but after I told them I was only interested in the Italian varietals they graciously allowed me to pick and choose from both of them. So, while visiting I tasted the following Italian wines:

My first pour was the 2010 Pinot Grigio – Napa Valley. This wine is a blend of 92% Pinot Grigio  and 8% Albariño. On the nose I picked up canned pears, peaches, apricots and a touch of white flowers. On the palate this wine has medium acidity, with a medium weight (slightly more than Benessere’s Pinot Grigio). It is slightly creamy and not as sharp giving it a full-mouth feel. A nice wine for $18 a bottle.

My second wine was the 2010 Reserve Pinot Grigio – Napa Valley. This wine 100% Pinot Grigio. It is more focused than the previous wine with more pronounced aromas of freshly peeled pears, peaches and grapefruit. On the palate it has a longer finish. It is definitely worth the extra ten bucks at $28 a bottle and I took one home.

My third wine was the 2009 Estate Sangiovese – Napa Valley.  Made from 100% Sangiovese, this wine has pronounced aromas of cherries, red currants with a hint of spice and vanilla. On the palate this wine is really well balanced with medium (+) acidity and medium tannins. This is what I’m looking for in a Sangiovese! I brought a bottle home for $25.

My final pour was the 2009 Canto. A Super Tuscan blend of 60%  Sangiovese  and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is deep ruby in color with aromas of dark cherries, plums, blackberries and just a hint of anise and a touch of minerality. On the palate it is medium (+) bodied, well integrated tannins and medium (+) acidity. A really well balanced wine with a prolonged finish that it just to die for! A really superb wine but a major hit on the bank account at $60 a bottle.

To visit or for more information:

Luna Vineyards
2921 Silverado Trail
Napa California, 94558
Phone: 1-707-255-2474