Joel Aiken always thought he'd be a farmer and enjoyed the thought. He set his sights on Fresno State, one of the best agriculture schools in the nation. Since most of his friends were going to Davis, Joel changed his mind and, once seeing the wine program at Davis, changed his mind about his future.
He worked the harvest at Inglenook in 1980 and then went back to Davis for his master's in biology. After graduation, he landed an enology position at BV, working with the legendary Andre Tchelistcheff, who had retired ten years earlier but still consulted.
Aiken knew he was in a special company and used it to acquire as much information from Andre as he could. After all, it was Tchelistcheff who made the first Cabernet of note in the Napa Valley, Beaulieu Vineyards Private Reserve, in 1936. As a result, Joel advanced to winemaker at 28 and became the youngest winemaker in BV history.
His legendary status made him an instant celebrity. He was called on for advice so many times that he ended up starting his own consulting business and making wine when he found exceptional grapes. Such was the case with our selection.
It was Sonoma Mountain were Joel found those grapes and crafted this fantastic wine. Here is mountain fruit at its best with penetrating presence of cherry and plum, spice, and vanilla match all comers from swordfish diablo to chicken cacciatore.