Flavor Napa Valley is just around the corner and we are beyond happy to be part of this amazing effort to fundraise for the Culinary Institute of America. Here in Napa there are are people and wineries that are very near and dear to our heart. They are family to us, and their achievements fill our hearts with joy.
We heard it through the grapevine that our dear Alex Castillo Llamas had been selected as a panelist for the wine classes to be held during The Festival at COPIA in the Napa Rudd Center on March 18-19.
There is plenty to be said about Alex. He has a generous heart, he is an outstanding communicator but most importantly he is a fine winemaker whose sensibilities allow him to produce beautiful, complex and memorable wines. During the classes Alex will be pouring a 2010 Llamas Family Wines “Stagecoach Vineyard” Syrah. Alex personally selected this wine and we know you are going to love it. Here is a teaser from the tasting notes:
“Ripe plum, black cherry and baking spice greet the nose. Underlying notes of black olive, char, black pepper and dried meats unravel as the wine breathes. On the palate, this round, soft wine confers flavors of dried red and black fruit, violet, and distant caramel complimented by a fresh touch of acidity. Fine, earthy tannins and a core of minerality lead to a medium long finish.”
Both the man and his wines are among our favorites. You don’t want to miss him if you are coming our way.
Alex grew up in the fields. As migrant workers, his parents followed the same route each year, travelling with their children and a troop of assorted family members from outside the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico all the way to Portland, Oregon and back. Along the way, they would harvest fields, orchards and vineyards – everything from Thompson Seedless and Concord grapes in the Coachella Valley to pears in Fairfield, California to cherries in Oregon and olives in Corning, California. Although only a child, Alex, like many migrant children, worked side by side with his parents before and after school. His early exposure to the cultivation of crops helped to instill a sense of connection to the land.
When Alex’s family finally settled in Napa, his father and many of his uncles took jobs working the vineyards of Napa Valley – ultimately planting and managing the first acres of what would later become the famed Stagecoach Vineyard which they still oversee today. Alex continued to work alongside and learned firsthand the meaning of terroir and the effect of the environment and management practices on winegrape quality.
Driven to take his experience in the fields a step further, Alex began exploring the world of wine and developed a love for fine dining. Working at restaurants such as The French Laundry and Per Se, Alex learned the importance of precision, care and detail and was exposed to some of the great wines of the world. His passion for wine ignited, Alex decided to pursue his own winemaking venture, honoring his heritage by exclusively sourcing grapes from vineyards farmed by his family. In his free time, Alex can be found fishing, hanging out with his beautiful Blue Heeler, cooking gourmet meals for his fiancé and drinking incredible wines!
Alex, you always make us proud and we are lucky to be able to call you a friend!
The NPT Team