1881 Napa is named in honor of the year the winery building was built in Napa, and the owners have kept it completely intact. Those owners are the Boisset Family, stewards of what could only be called a global wine empire.
Jean Claude Boisset was a wine merchant in 1950s France trying to make a living after the war. He married Natalie Deschamps whose family-owned vineyards in Burgundy, which enabled them to buy their first parcel in 1961. The Boisset Family is now the largest vineyard owner in Burgundy. It's like saying they own the most property in Honk Kong, Manhattan, or London.
Boisset controls over a dozen wineries in both California and France. The empire is run by their son, Jean Charles, who, in the family tradition, married a girl whose family is also in the wine business. Her name is Gina Gallo, granddaughter of Julio, who founded the Gallo Winery with his brother, Ernest.
Boisset's fascination with California wine began some 40 years ago. He already had a very successful import and wholesale business, but he still wanted to produce wine in California. The problem was that it's not the kind of business you can run from 7,000 miles away.
But that suited Jean Charles just fine. He had no reservations about running the operation from this side. Boisset has the resources to make as good a wine as possible, and they do. Here is a classic Napa with boysenberry, cranberry and cassis notes ready to grace a Provence lamb stew or Chateaubriand