Russian River Valley AVA
This excellent Napa Valley-based winery utilizes more than eighty growers to produce their great, top-notch wines
Amici Cellars has been around for almost three decades and started in the wine business with a tiny release of around fifty cases. Located just above Calistoga in the Napa Valley, Amici Cellars is the handiwork of two friends whose desire was to produce truly fine wines.
The friends, John Harris and Bob Shepherd, planned their winery’s future carefully and began collecting ultra-quality growers to provide the fruit necessary to fulfill their dreams.
“Whenever fruit from a true high quality vineyard became available, we jumped on it at once,” offered Melissa Devore, Amici Cellars’ President. “We now have a cadre of grower friends that must rank as among the best in California. The fruit we receive is just tremendous and that’s what you need to be a top rung winery.”
Amici Cellars has grown to around 15,000 cases per annum, a level the winery is completely happy with.
“But, whenever superior fruit becomes available, such as some recently in the Stag’s Leap AVA, we quickly commit to adding to our portfolio. It’s almost impossible not to buy really great fruit and turn it into masterful wines,” she added. “A gem is a gem no matter what.”
John Harris tends to the production side of the business and Bob Shepherd to the company’s sales and marketing efforts. Both spend a good deal of their time on the road promoting Amici Cellars.
The entity is also extremely proud of their Reserve and vineyard designated programs that produce small lots of limited production wines, usually around the 150 case level. This month’s Amici 2018 Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay falls into that category and provides an excellent example of outsourced fruit from what Robert Parker calls “one of the great Grand Cru Chardonnay sites in California.”
The Amici team has worked with Sonoma County’s Charles Heintz Vineyard for over 11 years and they are always impressed by the depth and complexity of this Chardonnay. It is easy to see why it’s one of their personal favorites.
The winemaking team at Amici Cellars is something quite unusual, given there are two noted winemakers involved with the operation. Tony Biagi, the highly-credentialed Napa Valley winemaker (Clos Du Val, Paraduxx Winery, PlumpJack Winery, Sinegal Estate and CADE Estate) is considered the lead winemaker and handles most of the Napa Valley winemaking. Jesse Fox, another noted winemaker (Harlan Estate, Ram’s Gate Winery) has also traveled abroad with stints in Argentina and New Zealand to his credit. He makes most of the additional AVA selections for Amic Cellars. Both employ different styles of winemaking and each has found great success. Biagi’s wines tend to be big, bold examples of near-perfect Napa Valley fruit, while Fox’s selections tend to be more methodical and statistical, which works well for the likes of the problematic Pinot Noir varietal. They have the privilege of making wines from legendary Northern California growers and together they have created an outstanding portfolio of elegant, balanced and expressive wines.
The name ‘Amici,’ by the way, means ‘friends’ in Italian and is a tribute to the friends who started the winery, as well as to their Italian heritage. What started as a small project between friends has now grown beyond their wildest imagination, and it is their greatest reward to share these wines with all of their Amici friends.
The Amici Cellars label is simplicity itself and speaks well of the winery’s intent. “Since wine is the only beverage that is meant to be shared among friends, we intended that the label be about the place itself without any gimmicks. The wine business is all about terroir, at least at our winery’s level,” concluded Melissa Devore. “We believe we’ve honored that concept.”
Amici Cellars is a prime example of a truly focused winery that has carved an important niche for itself in the incredibly competitive California wine market. Its wines score highly in industry periodicals and events and its following is large and faithful.
We are delighted to present this exceptional Amici 2018 Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay to our Platinum Wine Club members. We know you will enjoy this exquisite wine!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
We, at Amici, are very excited to be able to share with you our 2018 Amic Cellars Charles Heintz Chardonnay. We have worked with Charles Heintz for a long time and are always amazed and pleased by the depth and complexity of this Chardonnay. It is certainly one of our personal favorites.
The 50-acre Charles Heintz Vineyard sits upon a ridge top along the rocky Sonoma County coastline and you can literally smell the fresh sea air from the vineyard. I asked our owner, John Harris, for his thoughts on this wine and he stated: “We’ve worked with Charlie for over 11 years and have always loved the wine from this vineyard. The location and soils are both fantastic, but to me, one of the main reasons the fruit is so amazing is every time we’ve gone to walk our rows, Charlie and his dog are always there too. His passion and attention to detail are what really drives this vineyard to be one of the Grand Crus in the West Sonoma Coast.”
The 30 year-old vines, planted on Gold Ridge Sandy Loam top-soils, ripen slowly, cooled each evening by the fog that rolls in from the nearby Pacific Ocean. This slow, even ripening process results in beautifully balanced wines with fully developed flavors and fresh acidity. The vineyard site has been in the Heintz family for over 100 years, and since its planting in 1982, has become a name synonymous with the best of California Chardonnay.
We hope you love this wine as much as we do. Enjoy!
In Wine and Friendship,