NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
Massican is the passion project of multitalented vintner Dan Petroski, who also oversees the cellars of Calistoga’s historic Larkmead Vineyards. The entire lineup is comprised of fresh, pure, mineral-laden whites loosely based on the coastal wines of Friuli, and they read like cool watercolor seascapes to Larkmead’s warmer-toned renderings. It may seem unusual that the poster child for “new California” and its counterculture spirit be simultaneously responsible for classically sculpted Napa Cabernet, but Petroski toggles between the two modalities like a perfect bilingual—a skill that earned him the title Winemaker of the Year 2017 in The San Francisco Chronicle.
Petroski launched the label in 2009 as a means of connecting to California’s immigrant viticultural heritage and to his own family’s Italian roots. Inspired by his favorite blends from the likes of Borgo del Tiglio, Kante and Ronco del Gnemiz, he vinifies Ribolla Gialla, Friulano, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as well as the southern Italian variety, Greco di Tufo. After ten years working with these varieties, he has developed a strong relationship with the vineyards where they grow and now relies more on “feel” than on any analytics such as pH, TA or brix. He ferments and ages the wines separately before making his final blends—in a combination of stainless steel and oak, depending on the grapes.
varieties: ribolla gialla, tocai friulano, chardonnay soil type: various
avg vine age: 20 years
The Ribolla Gialla for this blend hails from Vare Vineyard in Oak Knoll and Bowland Vineyard in the Russian River Valley on volcanic and Pleasanton loam soils, respectively. The Tocai Friulano is from two loam-based plots (one old-vine, one young-vine) at Nichelini Vineyard in Chiles Valley. And the Chardonnay is from Hyde Vineyards in Carneros, on loam and clay. The wines ferment independently in a combination of stainless steel and French oak barrels and are blended several months before bottling, in the spring following the harvest.
varieties: pinot grigio & greco di tufo soil type: pleasanton loam
avg vine age: 14 years
“Gemina” is the name of an ancient Roman grape planted in the region around the Massican hills of southern Italy and is believed to be the origin of modern-day Greco. This unique white blend ties Petroski’s familial history in the south of Italy with his affinity for the wine styles of the north. The Pinot Grigio hails from Nichelini Vineyard in Chiles Valley and is fermented and aged in stainless steel barrels, while the Greco di Tufo hails from Bowland Vineyard in the Russian River Valley and is fermented and aged in neutral oak barrels. They are blended several months before bottling, in the spring following the harvest.
variety: sauvignon blanc soil type: pleasanton loam avg vine age: 20 years
The grapes for this wine hail from Juliana Vineyard in Pope Valley and Alta Vista Vineyard in Carneros. A true Napa Valley wine, it also draws inspiration from the great Sauvignons produced between the Adriatic Sea and the Dolomites in the north of Italy. Fermented and aged in stainless steel barrels.
variety: chardonnay soil type: loam & clay avg vine age: 26 years
This 100 percent Chardonnay wine is sourced from a 1.5-acre portion of the historic Hyde Vineyards estate on the Napa side of Carneros owned by Larry and Beta Hyde and their sons, Chris and Peter. The grapes are whole-cluster pressed straight into barrel, where the resulting wine ferments and ages for 6 months. 188 cases produced.