An Introduction to Black Stallion Estate Winery

Black Stallion Estate Winery is situated not far from the Napa River along the southern end of the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll District. The winery makes its home in what was a large equestrian center called the Silverado Horsemen’s Center. There is more history to tell about the family that owns Black Stallion Estate Winery and the winemaking philosophy that is reflected in the two wines we are tasting today. We received both wines as tasting samples.

The Indelicato family purchased Black Stallion Winery in 2010, but that is a more recent part of the Indelicato family’s story. Their family history in America goes back to 1924 when Gaspare and Caterina Indelicato immigrated from Sicily to California’s Central Valley. Gaspare and his three sons planted vineyards and established a winery. By 1940 Delicato winery was making 15,000 gallons of wine per year.

To describe the growth of Delicato Family Winery as steady is a bit of an understatement. According to its website, the winery now sells more than 12 million cases of wine annually, is the sixth largest winery in the US and the sixth-largest exporter of branded wine from the US. And it was named Wine Enthusiast’s Winery of the Year in 2014.

The focus of Black Stallion Estate Winery is Cabernet Sauvignon, but also look for Pinot Noir, a proprietary red blend, Chardonnay and Limited Release wines. Winemaker Ralf Holdenried makes wines sourced from specific vineyard sites among the diverse sub-AVAs of Napa Valley and crafts wines from single-vineyard sites. Today we are tasting a wine representative of both winemaking philosophies.

2018 Black Stallion Estate Winery Chardonnay, Napa Valley photo
2018 Black Stallion Estate Winery Chardonnay, Napa Valley

2018 Black Stallion Estate Winery Chardonnay, Napa Valleypale yellow in the glass with generous aromas of toast, ripe melon, citrus and hints of vanilla. Flavors lead with pear, melon and citrus with notes of cedar, toast and tongue-tingling acidity. A bit of roundness adds a luxurious feel and the flavors are moderately long. 14.5% abv. SRP $22

There is no denying the use of oak in this Chardonnay, but the oak flavors are well integrated and the fruit flavors come through nicely. This is a wine made to pair with a meal and at $22 it is priced for a special weeknight meal.

The key to the complex fruit flavors of this Chardonnay is the unique vineyard sites from both cooler and warmer Napa regions. Rutherford, Los Carneros, Oak Knoll, Oakville and Atlas Peak vineyard sites are included. 

The wine was fermented in-barrel with 8 months on the lees and twice-monthly stirring. Predominantly French oak, 30% new, aging was used with some American oak as well. 

2017 Black Stallion Estate Winery, Gaspare Estate Vineyard, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley photo
2017 Black Stallion Estate Winery, Gaspare Estate Vineyard, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley

2017 Black Stallion Estate Winery, Gaspare Estate Vineyard, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valleydense ruby in the glass with generous aromas of red cherries, blackberries, cedar and dusty earth. Flavors lead with dark cherries, blackberries and ripe pomegranates. Notes of cedar, berry bramble and dried herbs support the fruit flavors. Tannins are drying and a bit grippy. The finish is moderately long with bright acidity. 15.5% abv.  SRP $75

Prepare to be charmed by the lovely fruit and cedar aromas of this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The complex and rich flavor profile is well supported by tannins. Give this wine some time in the glass to fully express itself, and it will be just as delicious on day two as when you opened it.

To be honest, the abv is a bit higher than I prefer, but it doesn’t stick out at all and the flavor profile is so delicious that I’m willing to overlook the higher alcohol level. I’m happy to savor just one glass rather than pouring myself a second. 

Pair this gorgeous Cabernet with lamb shanks or beef short ribs. It’s worthy of a special occasion meal.

Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from the Gaspare Estate Vineyard, named for the Indelicato family patriarch. Fermentation took place in small tanks with a cold soak prior to fermentation and pump overs during fermentation. The free-run juice was moved by gravity flow directly to barrel. Then the grapes were gently pressed and moved to barrel to mature separately. Aging took place in French oak, 67% new, for 21 months.

Lovely wines both and excellent quality for the price. We thank Calhoun & Company Communications for sending these wines our way.

Cheers! 

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