Mario Monticelli and his Meritage

2009 shown
Mario Monticelli is a soft spoken, very modest, and easy-going Winemaker. Although incredibly knowledgeable he downplays his brilliance. I have to admit, I was a little star struck when we conversed. I mean he’s from Trinchero Napa Valley – a rather reputable vineyard from St. Helena, California. Over time the vineyard expanded and really started developing their niche in the marketplace. Fast forward Mario Monticelli makes some remarkable wines today. 
I recently attended a wine dinner at Zeal’s in Schaumburg featuring the mastermind of Chef Vince and Trinchero Napa Valley wines. Although I was lucky enough to taste several of Mario’s wines my favorite (and his) is the Meritage.

Trinchero Meritage, 2010 ($50) is an artfully blend of Bordeaux varietals including 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petite Verdot, 8% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. The aromas in the beginning are a perfect fusion where California meets France, juicy ripe blackberries and deep French oak. As it opens up the blackberries became preserves, I started to detect black pepper and over time I noted blueberry pie, cinnamon and possibly nutmeg. The wine is super balanced with smooth tannins and a long finish. It’s a true “Napa Valley” wine, big, rich, and chewy! Again, as it opened up the flavors became a little sweeter and the wine softer.

Like Mario’s personality his Meritage is inviting and incredibly approachable – down to earth! Yet you can cellar this bottle for another 6 plus years.  We drank several glasses of his wine together and nattered like “wine geeks”. Alas, he had to depart but his closing remark to me summed everything up about his wine and personality “If I didn’t have to leave with my associates right now I’d have a drink with you at the bar!” Sláinte, Mario!


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