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Wine of the Day

2009 Trinchero Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Chicken Ranch Vineyard, Rutherford

Trinchero Family Estates is the second largest family-owned wine producer in the United States (behind Gallo). There are many brands under the TFE umbrella. Trinchero Napa Valley is unique among them in focus, aspiration and price point. It’s wines are all Bordeaux varietals and blends from estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Most of them are single vineyard, varietal wines. All are intended to be of high quality and terroir-expressive. Prices for the red wines range from $40 to $100.

Mario Monticelli has been the Trinchero Napa Valley winemaker since its founding in 2007. Prior to that he held the same position at Quixote and before that was assistant winemaker at Melka Wines where he worked on wines for Quintessa, Vineyard 29, Lail and others. At Trinchero Napa Valley he has full control over the winemaking from vineyard to bottle.

The Chicken Ranch Vineyard is on Zinfandel Lane, a less than a mile east of Raymond Vineyards by my estimation. Decades ago, it was an egg farm. Now it's a vineyard with deep, clay-rich red soil. It is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, for which the soil is particularly well-suited. Trinchero farms Chicken Ranch Vineyard biodynamically — buried cowhorns and all — but it isn't Demeter-certified.

I’ve tasted more than 75 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the 2009 vintage within the past two months. The 2009 Trinchero Napa Valley Chicken Ranch Vineyard Cabernet is very consistent with the better wines from its locale (northern Rutherford, valley floor). There is balance among flavors (fruit, herbal and spice) as opposed to being strongly fruit driven. The fruit is ripe, but not jammy. Tannins are light-grained and will reward some bottle age, but don’t demand it.


In the glass, the 2009 Trinchero Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Chicken Ranch Vineyard is medium+ ruby and elegantly aromatic with black cherry, spicy tobacco leaf and earth. In the mouth, there are medium+ body and tannins which are nearly matched by acidity. The attractive flavors of cherry, dry herb and tobacco spice are consistent with the nose and medium+ in length. Monticelli doesn’t concern himself much with alcohol percentages, instead focusing on overall balance and ensuring that the wine doesn’t taste alcoholic. Mission accomplished here and at just 13.5%. Drink now through 2018. Highly Recommended.

2009 Trinchero Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Chicken Ranch Vineyard, Rutherford
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: now through 2018
Release Date: June 2012
Closure: Cork
Production: 2,985 cases
Retail Price: $50.00

Winemaker: Mario Monticelli
Origin: Chicken Ranch Vineyard, Rutherford AVA, Napa Valley
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Aging: 22 months in French oak, 65% new
Alcohol: 13.5%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Not required
Temperature: 58º - 64º F
Food Pairings: 

The wine above was tasted at the winery.

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This article is original to Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.