Atop Atlas Peak, Antica Napa Valley Astounds
Antica’s amphitheater-like vineyard atop Atlas Peak reveals a spectacular panoramic vista not unlike those found at the Tuscan vineyards from whence came the owners – the distinguished Antinori Family of Florence, Italy – the only Italian wine-producing family that owns a Napa winery. With more than 630 years of winemaking in their family history, it’s safe to say that the Antinoris (now in their 26th generation) know a bit about wine. They also know a bit about land and terroir, and when the opportunity arose for them to craft a winemaking home in the Napa Valley, they seized it.
It was 1985 when the Antinoris and their business partners discovered and purchased this land – 1,800 feet above sea level. It was a bold move; vintners in those days weren’t exactly seeking ‘mountain vineyards.’ But Marchese Piero Antinori’s instincts told him that rocky mountain soil equals vine struggle equals richness and concentration. He was right. Today, nearly 15% of Napa Valley vineyard acreage is in the mountains. In 1993, the family assumed 100% ownership, and it would be another 14 years before they released their first wines. Explains vineyard manager Glenn Salva, “Patience is part of the Antinori family DNA.” Led by family patriarch Piero and his three daughters Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia, the family philosophy rests on the belief that quality is a long-term and ongoing commitment, aptly illustrated by their family’s centuries of successful wine production.
Antica (the name represents ‘Antinori California’) features 600 acres of estate vineyards; all Antica wines are estate grown and estate produced: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Townsend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and limited production Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Rose of Sangiovese. The vineyards in the amphitheater-like setting are surrounded by steep slopes on all sides and are at the head of two watersheds that flow to the Valley below.
Antica’s tasting room, located in a Tuscan villa that overlooks bucolic grounds, is a bit off of the beaten wine path, but is worth the winding, uphill drive. Theirs is a quiet and intimate tasting experience where you’ll enjoy a tour of the estate and winery, and al fresco (weather permitting) pours of their estate-grown Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. And if you’re lucky, perhaps a sip of late harvest G&G Soracco. These private tours and tastings are $40 per person, by reservation only, with a max of eight guests, and are offered Monday through Friday at 10am and 3pm, and Saturdays during the summer at 10am – during which time it’s not uncommon for one or more members of the Antinori family to peek-in with a welcoming ‘hello,’ while they vacation at their Napa home just up the hill.
3700 Soda Canyon Rd., Napa | 707)-257-8700
Article By: Fran Miller