Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mi Sueno Winery - a dream come true

Mi Sueno means “my dream” in Spanish and the story of Mi Sueno Winery is a dream come true.  Owner/winemaker Rolando Herrera is living his dream, starting as a dishwasher in Auberge du Soleil to owner and winemaker for his own highly regarded boutique winery in Napa Valley. 

But this dream goes back even further.  Rolando worked alongside his grandparents in El Llano in the Mexican province of Michoacan.  Here he learned his early lessons in agriculture.  And here he learned how there were special soils and areas of the mountains surrounding the town that were especially good for growing fruits and vegetables, his first lesson in “terroir”.  

In search of a better life, his parents brought the family to Napa Valley in 1975.  While the family returned to Michoacan five years later, Rolando had his taste of his dream in Napa, where opportunities were greater than in Michoacan.  With a better education he strived for better opportunities than just working the fields and set his dream on owning a winery.

In 1985 Rolando went to work for the summer at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.  Over the next 20 years his journey towards his dream progressed though various high profile wineries, building from his foundation at Stag’s Leap through various other positions until he became Director of Winemaking at Paul Hobbs Consulting where he learned much about the development and maturing of boutique wine programs.

The 2007 Chardonnay from Los Carneros uses grapes from the Tierra Blanca Vineyard that is managed by Rolando Herrera.  The aromas and flavors will remind you of a lemon meringue pie with a creaminess and lemon flavors but you will also find green apples, orange blossom and honeysuckle in the flavors.  There is also a dash of spice and oak to enrich its beauty.  The acidity matches well with the flavors and texture for a well rounded wine.  The price is $21.

Mi Sueno 2007 “El Llano” Napa Valley red wine is named after Rolando’s family home town in Michoacan and is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Syrah.  This wine is not a “formula” but rather a creation from Rolando.  Each vintage might have different percentages of Cab and Syrah, but his goal is to produce a wine that is right with that year’s grapes.  It has a wonderful intense nose of dark black fruits with a strong dose of white pepper and spice.  On the palate you will detect cassis, cranberry and slight cocoa leading to a long finish.  It has a velvety mouthfeel and rich texture.  The price is $40.

The 2006 Syrah is from Herrera managed vineyards in the Coombsville region of Napa Valley.  It delivers a rich mixture of black fruits and violets with strong notes of pepper and spice with overtones of leather and coffee that lead to a great finish.  The price is $45.

The 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a single vineyard designate wine coming from the Ulises Valdez Vineyard in Sonoma.  This wine has only been produced for a few years and is a real crowd pleaser.  The inviting deep ruby red color invites you to sample the aromas and flavors of both red and black cherry, cranberry and pomegranate with great notes of spice and a cherry cola flavor.  It has a slightly old world character of minerality and earthiness.  The price is $48 for this limited quantity wine.

Learn more about the great wines from Mi Sueno at the Mi Sueno Winery website.

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