ANGWIN ESTATE VINEYARD
These days it seems like every year there are dozens of new wineries in Napa each with a similar story and style. Most hire the same consultants, use the same barrels and chase the same critics for scores. All the while the countercurrent is rediscovering the glories of the aged Cabernets of Napa. Wineries like Corison, Philip Togni, White Rock, Forman, Diamond Creek and Dunn are finding favor with sommeliers but who are the new wineries carrying this classic age-worthy style orward? Today's darlings are the pop and pour cocktail wines that won't hold up over time. Into this gap steps Jon Larson of Angwin Estate Vineyard. This is a new vineyard and winemaker with both eyes locked on what made Napa great, ageable balanced and complex Cabernet Sauvignon from great sites.
Jon is a Napa native, growing up in St. Helena and going to school with all the winemaker kids. His best friend in high school was Lisa Togni, daughter of Napa legend Philip Togni, and he has maintained his close friendship with the Togni family often calling for advice. Before returning home to Napa, Jon spent many years as a top cardio-thoracic surgeon. He honed his perfectionism in the high pressure realm of trauma surgery. Growing frustrated with today's highly bureaucratic medical system he returned home to focus on a small 2.2 acre family plot of land high atop Howell Mountain that he planted and farms himself. He is a true vigneron, living on the vineyard, farming the land and making the wine himself and he wouldn't have it any other way.
The constant struggle of getting the vines to flourish in a demanding site and staying atop the variables of each vintage keeps him engaged and he relies on his scientific background to keep improving the wine each year. From the challenging first vintage in 2011 to the microscopic yields of '15 and '16 it is exciting to watch this vineyard mature and develop into one of the new classics of Napa Valley.
The winery produces two wines. The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (white label) is the flagship and is build to age. The wine is made with press wine for structure and is the best blend possible from each vintage. The winemaking techniques are similar to Philip Togni's including the same Nadalie barrels and direct racking. The Kissing Trees (red label) is a true second label which is a selection of lots that lack the structure for aging and are more approachable in youth. The goal is to make as little of this wine as possible as there is no difference in production between it and the flagship Cabernet. As such, quantities vary significantly from vintage to vintage. Entire production for the vineyard ranges from 200-400 cases per vintage.