This is the second wine we have featured from the Aquilini family. Last year we introduced the family’s sauvignon blanc and we are thrilled to bring you another stunner. The owner, Luigi Aquilini came to North America in 1956 from a small farm in Northern Italy seeking a new future. Over the next 65 years he built an empire in agriculture, construction, entertainment, and hospitality. He is both one the state’s largest blueberry producers and the owner of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.
With success, came the opportunity to travel and taste great wine. He loved it so much he decided to get in on the game. For ten years the family visited some of wine’s most hallowed grounds, including Tuscany, Napa, and the Willamette Valley. But the region that impressed them most was a little corner of land at the far end of the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington called Red Mountain. This tiny AVA was barely on the map yet had all the prerequisites for producing 100-point reds. So, when the last 670 acres of growable land came up for auction in 2013, Luigi acted quickly and acquired this precious parcel. He loves walking in the vineyards each day and enjoying the finer things in life.
The A56 label is an homage to Luigi’s story having arrived in North America in 1956. This wine is purposefully crafted to serve as his legacy. The family wanted to create a high-quality wine that could be sold at a price point that all could enjoy. This Bordeaux-style blend is 40% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, all from the Aquilini vineyards in the Red Mountain AVA. A versatile blend, this wine can be enjoyed from the hearty, robust flavors of red meat and rich sauces to lingering over your last sips with a silky tiramisu. It is big and decanting is recommended.
Sweeping gusts of wind, wild temperature swings, and high-alkaline soil are just a few of the features that position Red Mountain, Washington among the world’s top regions for growing wine grapes. It is not unusual to get a dusting of snow in the winter and almost no rain during the growing season. That allows the vineyard manager to control moisture to the vines with a finely tuned drip irrigation system that delivers just enough water to each plant. Red Mountain is on the exact same latitude as the best wine growing regions of France and the volcanic soils are like the best regions of Italy. The weather and the soil make it a wine makers version of heaven.
Explosive aromas, leading with fresh blackberries and dried, savory herbs. Hints of anise, clove, and crushed stone. Dense and chewy on the palate, with an expansive entry that crescendos through the long finish of lingering, fine-grain tannins. Blends are all about drinkability and this one is no exception.
While searching for great undiscovered wines is hard work (poor us), sometimes one just falls in our lap. We were introduced to the Aquilini family wines through one of Bill’s closest friends from his undergrad days (when wine came in a bag.) It was almost a throwaway thought. Something like, “Oh, and you should call my friend. He makes good wine.” Usually that is a sign to run the other way, but this one was a winner. Bill’s friend is apparently a wine genius. We are thankful for friends like that.