At first glance Calculated Risk looks like a well-heeled, well-oiled Napa Valley winery. The problem is, "How do you get that well-heeled and that well-oiled when you're relatively new?" Answer: "Because you are part of Monticello, founded 50 years ago by Jay Corely."
Monticello is an estate vineyard, meaning that all the wine they make comes off their vineyards. But, what if you want to make a different wine from a different vineyard? Well, in this case, you call yourself Calculated Risk and source grapes from other top areas.
Winemaker, Dwight Bonewell, sourced these from prime vineyards in Northern Santa Barbara County, just a few miles from the ocean. He found intensity without over-ripeness, something very difficult to find in Napa. Here the grapes sit on the vine longer, pulling important nutrients from the root system, one of the most important aspects of attaining flavor.
The grapes then crushed themselves. After being placed in a tank, the top grapes begin to crush those on the bottom, releasing the native yeast and initiating fermentation. It doesn't get any more delicate than that.
After 16 months in French oak, an intense wine with searing flavors and presence was produced. Only 20% of the oak was new, so it left less of an impression. The imposing green apple and tropical fruit essences are stunning and able to handle anything from fish and chips with garlic aioli or seared scallops in a saffron cream sauce.