2006 Ceja Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Codename: Forever and ever
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Ceja Vineyards and procure an allotment of their exceptional 2006 Carneros Pinot Noir for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Ceja Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Armando Ceja
Backgrounder: Napa Valley is revered worldwide as the ultimate area in which to produce fine Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2006 vintage has produced some remarkable examples and we were lucky to get our spy-hands on today’s fine offering from dear friends at Ceja Vineyards. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and winemaker interview, below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep Burgundy hues, with a shimmering and almost iridescent surface that reflects a narrow rainbow of colors. At the rim of the glass, the wine shows off beautiful plum-colored edges. Stained legs start low on the glass, and have a chubby appearance.
Smell – Lush blackberry, black cherry, plum and cassis are the leading fruits. These mingle with dark chocolate, sweetwoods, cinnamon and fresh fennel.
Feel – Concentrated and hearty with a soft entry and a fleshy mind-palate. After a few moments, a soft dryness appears.
Taste – Delicious blackberry and dark cherry, with caramelized plum. Follow-on flavors of bramble, soft spice and gentle oak.
Finish – Ultra-long and very flavorful, with fruit and spice that lingers on and on – as a soft dryness emerges and evolves on the palate.
Conclusion – We always love Ceja wines, but today’s 2006 Ceja Cabernet Sauvignon provides an added thrill. Flavor and bold character are present in quantity in this wine, delivering a lush and very appealing drinking experience. Flavors are big and natural, aromatics are deep, and the finish goes on forever. Pair this exceptional wine with your favorite grilled meats, or enjoy it all on its own!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Armando Ceja
WINE EDUCATION: My wine education started immediately upon my arrival here to the US from Mexico. I immigrated in 1967 with my family when I was seven years old. We settled in north Napa where I started working alongside my parents and siblings in the vineyards. Over the years I fell in love with the grape growing process and eventually decided I would make a career out of it. I worked at various wineries throughout high school and even had the chance to make my first barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon at the age of seventeen before I headed off to UC Davis where I received degrees in oenology and viticulture. I was on my way!
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: After college I worked for Kenwood Vineyards in both winemaking and vineyard management before joining the management team at the Christian Brothers winery on Mt. Veeder. After a few years at Christian Brothers I decided it was time to strike out on my own; I formed Vina Del Sol (Vines of the Sun), my own vineyard management company.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Grow the best fruit possible in the vineyards and let nature take its course in the cellar utilizing gentle wine-making techniques.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Wine is not a lifestyle, it represents life itself.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1998, Sonoma Carneros Pinot Noir
AGENT RED: Greetings, Armando Ceja. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Sonoma Carneros Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
WINEMAKER: Thanks for promoting the Ceja love. Can I have a cool “Agent” name too?
RED: We’ve already given you one, Agent Carneros! Tell me, was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WINEMAKER: Having been born into a seasonal farm-working family, I had no choice but to work in the vineyards of Napa as a child. During harvest I would follow the grapes to the winery, curious to see how the grapes would end up. That curiosity still leads me to the cellar today.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
WINEMAKER: I was fortunate to have Gino Zepponi of ZD Wines as mentor growing up.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
WINEMAKER: Mother Earth
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
WINEMAKER: Our classic 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the best of “both worlds”. It’s fruit driven, robust and silky smooth yet remains lower in alcohol and has nice bright acidity.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
WINEMAKER: Carne asada and our Cabernet always makes me quite happy.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
WINEMAKER: Our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, lying directly south of the Stag’s Leap district benefits from the warm days and cool nights which allows the grapes to achieve an excellent balance of acid and sugar which also results in a longer growing season – perfect for late-maturing varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
WINEMAKER: I’m spending a lot of time moderating malolactic fermentation and racking (the process of siphoning the wine off the lees into a new, clean barrel).
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
WINEMAKER: With a wine glass and corkscrew!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Ceja Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.