Creating red wine from grapes grown on small acreages in both Napa Valley and Knights Valley is the passion of Beth and Jim Summers. Jim Summers originally purchased a 28-acre vineyard in Knights Valley in 1987. Knights Valley is located northwest of Calistoga, between Mount St. Helena and the Alexander Valley. At that time, 30 years ago, it was primarily Merlot grapes planted on the property by Dan Duckhorn, with some Muscat Canelli. Knights Valley is one of Sonoma’s warmest appellations, and its volcanic soils and close proximity to the Napa Valley have led to increased interest in Bordeaux varietals from the appellation in recent years. In 1996 they expanded their vineyard holdings to include 25 acres at the corner of Highway 128 and Tubbs Lane. This Napa Valley property carries the name Summers Estate Wines, with the vineyard designation of Villa Andriana Vineyard, named after their daughter.
Summers 22 acres of Estate Villa Andriana vineyard experiences warm to hot temperatures during the day, giving way to cool evening breezes from the San Pablo Bay. Under the direction of viticulturist, winemaker and vineyard manager, Ignacio Blancas, Summers vineyards are farmed by hand in a low-impact sustainable manner. Their flat and gently sloped vineyards contain soils almost completely of volcanic origin, and alluvial to heavier clay-silt soil. The combination of soils, climate and varietals planted help the vineyards to produce expressive, fruit-forward wines, rich and aromatic, characterized by unique earthy-berry flavors. The Summers’ goal is to create a true reflection of the vineyard terroir, and they are also proud to produce wines which also reflect the quality and care they put into their Estate vineyards.
The Summers Andriana’s Cuvee Cabernet is a blend of fruit procured from several select vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties. It is quite a compilation bearing 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% Merlot, 4.5% Petite Verdot, 1.5% Malbec, 1.5% Syrah, 1% Petite Sirah, and 1% Cabernet Franc. It is a medium-bodied wine with a deep ruby plum color and notes of black currant, cedar and spice. The wine was aged for 16 months in French oak, 50% new. It is dense and elegant and a perfect match for London broil, roasted chicken, dark chocolate and warm Florida weather. Enjoy now but can be cellared for 7-10 years.
Heather Burton, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine and spirits supervisor
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