Water makes for sickness. Wine makes for singing.
My grandfather was a fisherman in Positano, Italy and from him I learned a deep respect for nature, dedication to a craft using traditional techniques, and the importance of a sense of place. These values inform my wine and my life, and it is to him that I dedicate it.
My wine is an expression of the land it comes from, and my winemaking philosophy is similarly influenced by my heritage and upbringing. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and spent summers in Florence and Positano, Italy, visiting my grandparents and family. In both of these places I developed a deep passion for food, wine, and living, all founded on a respect for tradition (Florence) tempered by a vibrant (Positano) and perhaps bold idealism (the Bay Area). With these values, I began my career as a winemaker by studying Viticulture and Enology as an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis, followed by various projects and stints in Napa Valley, Stellenbosch, Mendoza, Tuscany, and under the tutelage of Badenhorst, Erickson, Abreu, Rolland, Melka, and Farella.
In 2006, I returned to Napa Valley to take up the role of day-to-day winemaker at Screaming Eagle for the acclaimed 2006 and 2007 vintages. It was during this period in which, under the guidance, mentorship, and influence of unparalleled international master winemakers, I began to articulate my own winemaking vision, both philosophically and in the wine. After the nearly flawless 2007 vintage, I sought to create that vision uniquely and independently, and this project is the product of that quest.
The Farella Vineyard in Coombsville is the birthplace of DI COSTANZO. Coombsville is a sub-AVA of the Napa Valley, tucked into one of its most southeastern corners where proximity to the San Francisco Bay ensures that cooling breezes preserve the freshness and acidity in the grapes.
The Farella Vineyard itself is in the eastern part of Coombsville where it benefits from west-facing, volcanic hillsides bathed in warm, afternoon sun, making it amongst the warmest sites in the traditionally cool region. The vineyard, composed of red gravelly loam sits on a base of volcanic ash and is farmed meticulously and sustainably by Michael Wolf. The Farella Vineyard has been in production since the late 1970s and was the first vineyard in Coombsville to plant Cabernet Sauvignon. All of these characteristics combine to create the ideal conditions for distinctive wines of proven longevity, purity, and place.
I believe a wine can only be as much as its place allows, and I believe the Napa Valley can allow for uniquely classic wines of elegance, beauty, and distinction. I also believe that one of the aims of a fine wine should be to be “timeless,” both in a stylistic sense and in the sense that it will have the structure and vibrancy to express itself in different ways over time, to age gracefully.
As a result, I think winemaking should be an act of giving up of one's role in favor of something more valuable. I take a non-prescriptive but delicate, decisive and sympathetic approach that emphasizes purity of fruit by limiting manipulation from the time the grapes are brought in, through fermentation, and during elevage. In the case of DI COSTANZO, fermentation takes place in small stainless vats and elevage in a mixture of new and old French Oak barriques for 22 months prior to bottling, without fining or filtration. The result is a wine of liveliness and power, with the capacity but not necessity to age. Above all, however, it is to be enjoyed.
150 Cases produced
91% Cabernet Sauvignon
Coombsville, Napa Valley