I honestly don’t recall the vintage, but it more than likely was either a 1985 or ’86. I believe that the winemaker’s name was John Thatcher, although I’m not 100% positive about that, either. What I vividly recall is that, unlike so many Chardonnays of that era, I could taste the fruit flavors; they were not cloaked in oak or bathed in buttery flavor by malolactic fermentation.
It was an eye-opening and palate-awakening experience, and helped me understand that a single batch of grapes could be made into several widely varying styles of wine. If the grapes were good — and Cuvaison’s were — the ultimate presentation of them in the form of wine was in the vintner’s hands.
And through the years, some talented hands have touched Cuvaison’s wines, today led by those of Steve Rogstad.
The Cuvaison winery was established in 1969. As the winery’s website notes, it is dedicated to a philosophy of producing vineyard-driven wines. Cuvaison employs block-by-block farming methods and a hand-crafted, vineyard-to-bottle winemaking approach. The resulting wines are balanced and complex, showcasing the distinctive characteristics of the estate.
“At Cuvaison, we are compelled to reduce our winery’s impact on the environment,” says President Jay Schuppert. “Going solar and being certified Napa Green are only a few initiatives which support what we are trying to achieve.
“Because there is a shared concern from the staff as well, we turn to our organization and grassroots networks with our staff, their families and friends to find ways of creating change from within.”
That’s a level-headed, forward-thinking, environmentally respectful approach to the business and art of winemaking. You can read more about Cuvaison’s commitment to the environment and see its various certifications here.