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Mi Sueno - Napa Valley


Gold Medal - American Fine Wine Competition

Representing a dream realized after more than 20 years, Mi Sueño is the wonderful achievement of Mexican-American Rolando Herrera whose humble beginnings lead him to become one of California’s most storied winemakers. The origins of Napa Valley’s Mi
Sueño Winery are not dissimilar from other peer wineries of Mexican-American ownership. More than thirty years ago, owner-winemaker Rolando Herrera accompanied his parents and family to St. Helena in Napa Valley as his father sought a better life for his family. Señor Herrera found work in a nursery while Rolando and his siblings went to school. Five years later, the Herrera Family returned to El Llano, Michoacan, a departure from other winery stories of similar origin. Young Rolando now worked with his grandparents, farming corn, wheat and strawberries, and learned valuable lessons about the relationship of crops to the land on which they were planted. Rolando Herrera also nurtured a goal, one that was gleaned from his earlier experience with Napa Valley and its grapes. Upon reaching his fifteenth birthday, he returned to Napa to finish high school. While in school, Rolando went to work for fabled Napa icon Warren Winiarski at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars as a cellar worker. The job there would last ten years and would provide the momentum for the remainder of Rolando Herrera’s tenure in the wine industry. Herrera was named cellar master at the youthful age of twenty-one.

“Warren was one of the most generous people you could ever imagine,” commented Herrera. “He prompted me to go to college and provided me the means to take the wine industry seminars at UC Davis. Each year we would have a UC Davis grad come to the winery. They would teach me the theory and I would show them the practical approach to winemaking.” In 1995, Rolando Herrera made the most difficult decision in his life and left Stag’s Leap for nearby Chateau Potelle and French owner-winemaker Marquetta Fourmeaux. Here, Rolando believes, was the place where he learned the art of winemaking.

“This was the first time I was actually exposed to natural winemaking as the French prefer to do it,” he explained. “In the end, it was all quite artistic and really changed my attitude toward my craft. I was extremely happy with everything and my life was pretty secure, but in the back of my mind something was missing.” It had started during the difficult harvest of 1996 when Herrera realized he was always making wines for other people and at someone else’s direction. He knew he would never be able to prove himself and his a bilities unless he did it on his own. Herrera decided to purchase some grapes and make some wine that he could eventually sell on the bulk market and recapture his investment. His initial purchase of Chardonnay came from the incredible 1997 vintage and the rest of the story is history.

“I was winemaker at Vine Cliff Winery at the time,” he added. “They were kind enough to allow me to use their facility and make my wine. I chose Chardonnay because I felt it was a grape that California didn’t utilize to its fullest.” Herrera produced 250 cases of the first Mi Sueño (My Dream) Chardonnay. It was so good that his friends urged him to label it and sell it rather than put it on the bulk market. The wine sold out immediately to rave reviews and Mi Sueño has not looked back since. A number of French people called him to say that they thought the wine was French and not Californian in origin. Herrera has stuck with the style and today produces somewhere around 5,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, and a Cabernet/Syrah blend. He is also beginning to look out for a near-perfect location on which to build his dream winery. He has outgrown the 4,000-foot facility he began with and even the 12,000 foot new facility he currently uses. He gives credit to each of his mentors, Winiarski, Fourmeaux, and his current business associate, Paul Hobbs. Each provides a different introspect to the wine business that affected the ultimate existence of Mi Sueño Winery.

“I am living my dream every minute,” Rolando Herrera finalized. “And I consider myself a truly fortunate person.” There’s a little bit of Mi Sueño in each of our dreams, as Rolando Herrera’s wonderful wines bear out. Rolando Herrera gives his grapes hands-on attention and sees them through from the vineyard to the barrel to the bottle.


  1. Mi Sueno
    2008 Pinot Noir
    Mi Sueno
    Russian River Valley
    Sonoma County

    $42.00

    $48.00
    Gold Medal
    id: 819
    Special
    Pinot Noir

Rolando Herrera, an extraordinary person and winemaker

Rolando Herrera may have started as a dishwasher at Auberge du Soleil and a line cook at Napa’s Mustards Grill, but it is his time in the restaurant business that formed his appreciation for pairing beautiful cuisine with exceptional wine. Today, Herrera is one of California’s most notable winemakers and his humble beginnings only make him more admired for his talent and dedication. In a little less than fifteen years, Herrera has built a network of several businesses including vineyard management, consulting, custom crush, and vineyard leasing. Through all of his ventures, Herrera keeps his focus on MiSueno wines, with the goal of making better wines with each vintage. Herrera credits his consulting business as making him an even better winemaker. He has had the pleasure of producing wines for a number of boutique labels including Baldacci Family Vineyards, Longfellow Wine Cellars, Spotted Owl, Noemi, Hughes Family Vineyards, and Sharp Cellars.

About The Region

Pinot Noir is notoriously a difficult grape to grow, and it only achieves greatness in a handful of places in the world - the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County is one of those places. The Pinot-perfect cool climate combined with incredibly diverse soils (and some of the best winemakers in the world results in beautifully expressive wines that are equally bright and rich with a distinct
sense of place. Mi Sueño’s 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir comes from carefully selected vineyards within the appellation sites that are under long-term contracts with the winery so they have the ability to manage the grapes year round, throughout the entire growing process. This allows Mi Sueño the hands-on approach they desire to ensure only ultra-premium grapes make it into their esteemed wine portfolio.


Pork Posole


Ingredients

5 dried cascabel chiles,stemmed and seeded
4 dried pasilla chiles,stemmed and seeded
3 dried new mexico chiles,stemmed and seeded
5 cloves of garlic
4 15-oz. cans golden hominy, drained and rinsed (about 6 to 7 cups)
1 ½ lbs. pork neck bones,
cut into 2” pieces
1 ½ lbs. pork leg, cut into 2” pieces
1 lb pork spareribs cut into 2” pieces
Salt to taste
10 radishes chopped thinly
1 large onion chopped thinly
½ head of cabbage, chopped thinly


Instructions

Put chiles into small pot and cover with water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium to medium-low and simmer, covered until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain chiles; transfer to blender. Add 3 ½ cups of water; puree until smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl. Puree garlic and ½ cup of water until smooth. Set chile mixture and garlic puree aside. Put all the pork and 9 cups of water into large pot; bring to boil over medium-high heat; cover pot, about 2 hrs or until pork is tender. Stir in hominy, chile mixture, and salt to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer. About 45 minutes. Serve posole garnished with radishes, onions, cabbage and corn chips or tostadas. Recipe contributed by Rolando Herrera’s wife, Lorena.




Salmon Tostadas and Grilled Tomato Salsa


Ingredients

2 lbs. of cooked, steamed or grilled salmon
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
2 avocados, peeled, seeded, and cut into slices
2 limes cut into wedges
18 tostadas (corn tortillas that have been heated in canola oil on deep fry until golden brown)


Instructions

Put salmon, lemon juice cilantro, tomatoes, onions, and salt to taste into large bowl and stir to combine. Spoon evenly onto tostadas, garnish each with slice of avocado, and serve with lime wedges on the side. Add Tapatio sauce for spiciness.

For Grilled Tomato Salsa:
Preheat grill to medium. Grill 4 arbol chiles, 3 large tomatoes, 2 serrano chiles, and 1 jalapeno chile, turning frequently, until well charred (4 min. for the arbol chiles. 8 min. for the serranos, tomatoes, and jalapenos). Transfer everything to a plate. Core the tomatoes, and stem the chiles. Transfer all ingredients to a blender along with 4 garlic cloves, and a pinch of cilantro. Pulse 4 times until still chunky. Transfer salsa to a bowl and season with salt to taste. Serve with Salmon Tostadas or any of your favorite veggies, meat, or tortilla chips. Recipe contribued by Rolando Herrera’s wife, Lorena.



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