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  • Weather

    4° C Clear sky
  • Time

    10:55 AM
  • Wine average?

    97 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    15
  • Region Ranking?

    15
  • Popularity ranking?

    205

History

Growing up, Napa Valley was David Abreu's playground as well as his classroom. Born into a family of ranchers, he spent the better part of his youth working in Napa's original vineyards. Over time, David's sense of what makes a site stand out—why one vineyard makes great wine and another's is just good—was sharpened beyond the ordinary.

 

Eventually, intuition and experience led him to four exceptional vineyard properties: Madrona Ranch, Cappella, Howell Mountain, and Thorevilos. He planned and planted each one. And with an uncompromising—some might say insane—commitment to quality, he and his crew farm them to perfection. Alongside Brad Grimes, a chef turned winemaker, he whittles one hundred barrels down to just 12,000 bottles of single-site Cabernet blends. You could call it passion beyond reason. And you may be right.

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Vineyards

Cappella

Cappella is one of the oldest vineyard sites in St. Helena, six acres that sit alongside a Catholic cemetery on the west side of town. In the 1980s the church asked David to tear out the old vines, then he watched as the land lay fallow for close to two decades. When he finally got the chance to replant, he jumped. He'd tasted fruit from Cappella in the 70s. He knew what kind of wine it could make. But that first replant was ill-fated thanks to diseased rootstock, and once again he was ripping out vines. “It took us six years before we had a crop. We could have ignored it, pulled the vines out one by one as they collapsed. But then we'd have all these different ripening patterns, which would impact consistency. It was an easy decision.”

 

 

Howell Mountain

When David purchased this property in 2000 it came with an unexpected perk: first growth redwood stakes dating back over a century. Relics of an earlier era of agriculture. “When the college owned this site they'd burn all the underbrush, including the stakes, to keep it clean. When I came in we found them and set them all aside,” he says. At about 2000 feet elevation, Howell Mountain sits above the fog line, surrounded by a protected forest of fir and pine. Red Aiken soils are layered over white tufa, and the rocks that littered the site before it was planted now form walls defining the property. The redwood stakes—collected, stacked, preserved—await their next life.

 

 

Madrona Ranch

If Abreu has a core, it is undoubtedly Madrona Ranch. It was the first property David fell for, and developed, back in the 1980s. The canyons and curves that snake through the site, the soils that range from red Aiken to white tufa to dark clay and rocks—it’s a magical site. Harvest picks are meticulous, often spanning weeks, but the diversity makes for incredible complexity, and plenty of blending options. Madrona is a working ranch too. In fact, livestock have laid claim to more than their share of real estate. Cattle, goats, pigs, chickens—even honeybees, which live in one of the old barns on the property. “We tend the animals and leave the bees alone,” says David. “We do collect the honey though. We consider it fair rent.”

 

 

Thorevilos

Thorevilos was one of David's favorite haunts as a child. There were no vines then. Just pine trees, redwoods, an old olive grove. And a rusted hog wire hanging from a tree—“Hook Man” in Abreu family lore. These days it's the dirt that engrosses him. White tufa that turns to fine powder when you grind it beneath your foot. Tannish soil peppered with orange-brown pebbles. Streaks of dry, red earth. Sitting 800 feet above the valley floor, wedged between the St. Helena and Howell Mountain AVAs, Thorevilos doesn't belong to any sub-appellation. “It's an outlier,” David says. When the AVA boundaries were being determined, he could have argued to have it included. “But it wouldn't have made any difference to the vineyard. Or the wine.”

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Winemaking

“Sometimes the best experiments are the ones that just happen. When David started making wine in the 90s he only had two tanks. He didn't have a winery, so he had to bring in all his fruit on a single day. He had to pick it all at once. First the Cab and Cab Franc came in together and went into the same tank; then came the Merlot and finally the Petit Verdot. It was two tanks of whatever he picked. That's how the blend was made. It's different now. We have all the tanks and time we need and it's more intentional. But we still co-ferment. It works for what we're trying to achieve.” –Brad Grimes

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Inside information

Our guys know their vineyards like the back of their hands. Each vineyard has one crew that tends it all year, every year. They prune, position, thin. Towards the end of the season they thumb unripe berries off the clusters. And they harvest. After the pick they man the sorting table at the winery. It's about them having ownership of that fruit. They grew it, they know it. They're proud of it. “They're actually pretty competitive about it,” says Brad.

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5 different wines with 27 vintages

People

  • David Abreu

    When you work with a vineyard long enough, you get to know its personality. You know how to pull the best from it, no matter the vintage. That’s what it takes to make a great wine. A wine that might actually be around—to tell its own story—100 years from now.

Highlights

Latest news

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW/ BWW2024 Finalist, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  29 wines 

1945 Mommessin – Clos de Tart Grand Cru / Medium garnet hue with a fading rim. This wine is amazingly young and an unconvincing ’45. Sweet potpourri on the nose with hints of dried red berries. This wine is still fresh, possesses good density, firm tannins and a grippy, tannic finish. Discussions evolved around what other wine (from Africa, southern France) this bottle might contain besides Clos de Tart.(93)

12d 6h ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  21 wines 

American beauties like Colgin Herb Lamb 2000, 2002 and 2002, Opus One, Dominus etc.

1y 5m ago

 Antonio Galloni/BWW2024 Finalist, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  29 wines 

Bryant Family 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, tasted from a working base blend, is just magnificent. Seldom - maybe never - I have seen a young Bryant Cabernet that is this well put-together at this stage. The integrity of the fruit, acid and structure is outstanding. Sweet red and purplish fruit, sweet floral notes and spice are all beautifully lifted. The 2018 is flat-out stunning. That's all there is to it.

2y 10m ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  22 wines 

American Beauty -tasting with Dominus, Dana Estate, Ovid, Caymus, Colgin etc.

3y 5d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  28 wines 

The Parker 100-point California tasting with 29 wines.


 

5y 7m ago

 Michael Jones, Wine Blogger (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  8 wines 

We were greeted at the door with a glass of 2003 Dom Perignon– not California, but no one was complaining!  This newest release from the legendary Champagne house came from one of the warmest growing seasons on record in France.  The wine offered aromas of toasty brioche and the typical fine mousse of bubbles on the entry.  Very graceful on the palate, with mellow orchard fruit, more toast and almond influences into the finish.  A hint of citrus, but generally round, ripe and very easy to drink.  Perhaps it was the heat of the vintage, but this young wine showed muted acidity and tasted surprisingly mature.  Very inviting to drink now!  I’d cellar the 2000 Dom and drink this one- it’s ready.

6y 15d ago

 Fernando Pessoa, Pro (Spain)  tasted  1 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  11 wines 

On April 22 Antonio Galloni and Vinous hosted 2010 Napa Valley: An Epic Vintage at the NoMad Rooftop, one of the most striking locations in New York City.

6y 11m ago

 Michel Jamais, Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Abreu Madrona Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 / There is approximately eight to ten percent of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and some Petit Verdot in this dark and still youthful Cabernet Sauvignon based premium wine. Tasted two years ago, it was massive and still quite tannic, tasted today it’s slightly more developed and much more elegant and drinkable. Still there are a lot of primary fruit flavors, also a delightful grassy note (which is not underripe, but a variety quality), and although young and densely full bodied with a slight sweetish touch, it is not closed or overly firm anymore.


Expensive new oak barrels are still present on the nose as well as on the palate, but the oak flavors are much more integrated today than some years ago. Overall it is an impressive wine with intensity, depth and length, and the structure of skin and oak tannins has just begun to become softer – and it’s just delicious. Still, it needs at least 30 minutes in a decanter to open up.

7y 1m ago

 Robert Langer, Wine Collector (Germany)  tasted  4 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  28 wines 

“Napa Tasting with 5 vintages (1994-1998) Bryant, Abreu, Colgin, Maya and Harlan.”

7y 6m ago

 Li Yong Liú, Wine Merchant (China)  tasted  2 wines  from  Abreu Vineyards . In a tasting of  29 wines 

“Harlan Estate 1997 -perfect 100 points: Good looking normal size bottle in perfect condition with by the neck level. Colour is ruby red and deep. On the nose it is intense, open, fresh, refined, complex and charming. The taste is harmonious, focused, ripe, vivid, with silky tannins, full-bodied, with perfectly balanced, complex, good texture and concentrated structure. On the palate it is layered and has blackberry, honey, leather, licorice, meaty, mineral, herbs, earthy, dried-fruit, toasty, truffles and tobacco flavours. The finish is endless, lingering and flavorful. This wine is transparent, intelligent and masterpiece. I paid around 3k$ a bottle. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 10-15 years and decant at least 2h before tasting. Good value for money.”

7y 6m ago

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