April 4th, 2010

Good wines are made here in Northern California. They’re famous, so that’s not a controversial sentence. A little past halfway through the last century, some people started planting grapes in the Napa Valley and it turned out well. But, let’s face it, the Native Americans were not making wine, the missionaries had other priorities, the gold miners were too busy and things didn’t really settle down in these parts until relatively recently. So, though these wineries are world renowned, it can feel a little embarrassing to when they boast of their histories. “Since 1971” they say, “Since 1980, “ even. I always feel like a company should not say “since…” until it’s been around at least 100 years.

It’s so refreshing, then, when Artesa proudly pronounces themselves the newest winery in the Napa Valley. They’ve got fresh energy, fresh ideas and this, after all, is how all things Californian get good. They boast of the entrepreneurship and youthful energy that pushes companies into the future, where others get tied down to their own pasts.

I guess it’s easy for them, though, to brag of newness. The Artesa Winery was started by the Cordoniu Group, Spanish winemakers who have been making wine since the 16th century. So, while it is a new venture, it lies comfortably under a very very old blanket. Is this the best of both worlds, or stodgy old Europe trying to fake young America’s élan? Come decide for yourself, here in our bar.

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