Aliento del Sol Winery
Napa Valley AVA
Producing a truly classic Pinot Noir, deep and rich in body and taste and somewhat spiritual in nature
There exists an incredibly specific passion within the California wine community concerning the Pinot Noir grape, one that has existed for at least thirty-five years. The passion was formulated following the first pronouncements by the wine media that early California Pinot Noirs were unequal to their Burgundian counterparts in many ways, and that to continue production of the classic varietal was basically a futile effort.
Ever since then, a number of dedicated vintners have dedicated themselves to the prospect of producing a truly classic Pinot Noir, deep and rich in body and taste and somewhat spiritual in nature. Many have tried, and it has become the in-thing within many California wineries to expend inordinate amounts of time and effort in pursuit of the aforementioned quest.
Almost everyone will agree that in the past fifteen years or so a number of wineries appear to have mastered the Pinot Noir. The highly respected Pinot Noirs from William Selyem comes to mind and also the award-winning Saintsbury Pinot Noir from the Carneros Region of Napa Valley. Each winery’s efforts were incredibly well received and deserve much praise and adulation.
Even today, there is still a hint of apprehension at world class levels, and few realistic writers actually compare California Pinot Noirs to the best Burgundies of the Cotes d’Or.
Enter the Riboli Family of California, whose interest and passion regarding Pinot Noir is as deeply rooted as any in the industry. This interest was nurtured by the Riboli Family’s close association with the Joseph Drouhin collection of outstanding French Burgundies that they have distributed in California since the mid 1990s.
“Our friendship with the Drouhins ignited a flame of sorts within our Family,” offered Anthony Riboli, fourth generation spokesman for his family’s far-reaching wine business. “We visited Burgundy often and were charmed by the finesse and wonderful flavors that we experienced. When we returned home, we waited until all the factors seemed to work in our favor. With Pinot Noir, it’s a delicate balance that decides the ultimate quality and character of each wine. With the Aliento del Sol Pinot Noir, we believe we have achieved that marvelous balance.”
The wine of which Riboli speaks is the offering from Aliento del Sol (literally, Spirit of the Sun, a phrase embodying California’s wine dependence on the combination a truly benevolent sun and other cooling influences), an award-winning winery that is part of the Riboli Family Wine Estates collection. The emphasis at Aliento del Sol is on low-production of vineyard-designated wines with specific micro-climatization.
“To my Family,” Anthony Riboli added, “it seemed that the emphasis on Pinot Noir fruit was shifting somewhat from the established Carneros vineyards of Napa and Sonoma further southward, towards Santa Maria, Edna Valley and even Monterey. It is everyone in the wine industry’s quest to find the best fruit and growing conditions for this particular varietal so that the wines that are produced can realistically be called ‘best of the best.’ We are really no different from many other wineries in that regard.”
The first release of the Aliento del Sol Pinot Noir was a miniscule 600 cases with current releases numbering only 900 cases and Anthony Riboli feels that these levels of future releases can be expected. “When you try and produce the very best, you must be content with what the Lord provides you. He dictates quality and quantity, and in this case, less is usually better.”
Gold Medal Wine Club is proud to offer our Platinum Series members such a small production wine that is basically unavailable to the greater portion of the country. We are confident of your enthusiastic response to this delightful wine.
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
I first viewed the future site for the Sacramento vineyard in the Spring of 1999. The year before, I had graduated with a Master's Degree in viticulture for U.C. Davis. The vineyard would not be planted until 2000, and it was a field of green grass spotted with dozens of majestic oak trees. As I walked through the field, my boots became muddy from the previous night's rain. The mud didn't bother me, and I just kept walking. I was in awe of this beautiful sloping land. I knew this was going to be an incredible vineyard for the highest-quality Pinot Noir!
The Sacramento Vineyard is named for the pioneering family of Monterey County farmers. It is located on a southeast-facing benchland in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. This relatively new region had only been established as an AVA in 1992. However, its reputation for outstanding Pinot Noirs was fully established within the last 15 years. Enjoy my 2003 Aliento del Sol Pinot Noir with your family and friends.
Fourth Generation Winemaker