While most people know the estate in its current form when it was established by Tom Burgess in 1972 – certainly pioneering by Howell Mountain standards – the actual vineyard history stretches back over 150 years.
The Burgess Vineyards were originally planted by Swiss-Italian immigrants and cultivated in the traditional way of their homelands, positioned on extreme slopes and planted high above the frost line. The extreme sun, extended growing season, and natural irrigation from the slopes create wines of immense power and expression.
To say these particular vineyards are inspiring is an understatement. Their imposing presence high above the valley lured the very best winemakers in the history of Napa Valley to try their hand at taming these wild vines. Warren Winiarski (of Stag’s Leap Cellars) and Mike Grgich both cut their teeth here before starting their own historic wineries, just to name a few.
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93 Points, Wine & Spirits
Meghan Zobeck makes this wine with cabernet from Burgess’s Sorenson Vineyard, a west-facing parcel on Howell Mountain, blending in a small amount of petit verdot and malbec from Haymaker, an eastfacing vineyard slightly higher in elevation. Aged mostly in neutral French oak barrels (15 percent were new), this developed a textural grace without the weight of oak tannins, feeling airy in its richness. There’s darkness to the fruit and a marrow-bone savor, ending light and breezy.