Last week, after a year of anticipation, I finally led my big tour for the Napa Valley Wine Academy. It was a whirlwind of emotions, wines and lots of food and I am here to tell you about the standout wines we tasted during our week!



The Barbera Bogliona is one of our favorites and the 2014 was a nice surprise and slightly atypical example. From a cooler vintage, this Barbera displayed beautiful layers and complexity while being incredibly balanced.

Bogliona is a single vineyard that gives an incredible quality to the grapes, allowing these Barberas to age for decades. In fact, we still have a few 2009s left on our shop here

We even got to see Carlo Castino, retired winemaker waxing the magnums!


It was heavily emphasized during the tasting with Davide at Pio Cesare, that the “classic” Barolos (blended from different vineyards)  is the true identity of the winery.

These wines are the symphonies while the single vineyard labels could be compared to the soloists. It is actually the combination of instruments  that takes you to the higher level when tasting a Barolo.

In fact, we were able to taste the classic 2004 which gave us that Mozart moment! This was named 6th best wine on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list! We felt extremely lucky to taste this!


Eating lunch from the terrace of Tastè in Barbaresco overlooking the vineyards on a beautiful September day seemed like a dream.

We were able to taste an older 2004 Marchesi di Gresy Martinenga Barbaresco at lunch which was fantastic yet the favorite was the Massa Timorasso from the Tortona Hills.

Most of the guests had never tasted Timorasso so this was an exciting discovery for the group. 


All the wines from Trediberri were beautiful starting from the 3 liter preview of 2019 Barolo Berri, magnum of Barolo 2018 and down to the last but not least .75 lt bottle of the Rocche d’Annunziata 2017.

They literally took this bottle out of some part of their collection to let us try and it was singing!

It was more profound but expressed the characteristic red berry and floral notes that Rocche is all about. We so appreciated this last generous add on by Nicola. You can find it on our shop here.



Walking with Roberto, the owner in the vineyard and witnessing the Nebbiolo harvest was fascinating. We even got to see the soils full of shells in the vineyard.

The stand out wine we were able to try with him was the Roero DOCG. It was the most Burgundian like, elegant with strawberry and raspberry jam aromas along with tobacco and vanilla.

The mouthfeel was elegant its ripe round tannins and an incredible persistence. 


The Benevelli Barolo 2018 Ravera we had at Terrazza da Renza was delicious but still very young. I was impressed with its spicy and nervous character that gave me high hopes for this Barolo coming from a softer vintage.

However, the real star of the day was the late harvest Nascetta. The bouquet was beautiful and the color was golden. It was smooth with a perfectly integrated acidity and saltiness on the finish. Fantastic! I am hoping to make a quick switch to put this in the upcoming club shipment if I am lucky! For other Nascettas check out our page here.


We were extremely blessed to have the opportunity to have the mapman and cru expert, Alessandro Masnaghetti lead a masterclass for us with a focus on Serralunga.

My favorites of the all star line up were the expressive floral Guido Porro coming from the cru of Lazzarito and of course Giacomo Conterno Francia 2016!

The Francia had an incredible complexity on the nose with strong notes of eucolyptus and spice. The structure was incredible on the palate with ongoing tannins on the finish. Bellissimi! Contact me in private if looking for 2016 Conternos.


The wines we chose for our farewell truffle dinner were a bit of a gamble but worth it! We started off with a Valentino 2009 Sparkling wine from Rocche di Manzone which spends 10 years on the lees. A huge surprise was an aged dry Gavi di Gavi from Martinetti from 1986! The nose was floral and expressive and rich yet still fresh on the palate. Such a huge surprise! From there we tasting an Ovello Produttori del Barbaresco Riserva 2011 from the magnum which was perfect with the mushroom dishes but still had so much life in it. To cap it off we opened an Oddero Barolo 2004 Vigna Rionda which opened up dramatically by the end of the night. Instead of the usual Moscato, we chose an incredible old Erbaluce passito from 1974. It definitely was memorable and proves how well old world wines can age, even the whites. 

I feel truly blessed to have had this opportunity and would love to hear about the oldest wines you have drunk or some favorites from the last few months!