Wineries Without Vines: Michael Pozzan Wines

What happens when:

A – You want to make wine;

B – You don’t own any vineyards to grow grapes for your wine;

C – You discover that vineyard land alone can run you a cool quarter of a million dollars per acre, plus the 20 grand or so it’ll take to plant the vines;

D – You realize that even if you could beg, borrow or steal the dough for the land/vineyards, then you would have to wait for four or five years (without income) before you can actually make wine out of the fruit of your very own vines; and

E – You’re not independently wealthy, haven’t won the lottery and don’t have a generous sugar daddy/momma?

When all this economic reality hits home, you decide there must be a better way. And there is. It’s what more and more young winemakers are doing: they make contracts with grape growers who’ll grow good fruit for them, and to their specifications. They craft their wine just like the land-owning winemakers, but they’re able to make top-quality wine without the huge capital investment required to own vineyards. They also have the flexibility to craft wine from any region close enough to truck grapes from.

Don’t think these wines are sub-standard: many “wineries without vines” score huge ratings from wine critics and command high prices. But today I’m reviewing a relatively modestly-priced label: Michael Pozzan.

Michael Pozzan and winemaker Richard Bruno have been making wine for several years under several labels, all from purchased Northern California grapes. We’ve always found their wines to be great value for the money, and this one was no different. Michael Pozzan Cuvee 14 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 is the latest vintage of his Napa Cab, and is a blend of fruit from three different vineyards. Its style is very accessible, and the profile well-balanced. This is no jammy fruit bomb — it offers classic blackberry and cassis flavors, vanilla oak, soft tannins, and enough acid to make it a good food wine. And at 13.5% alcohol, it’s well within traditional limits.

This is a Napa Cabernet that fits our times — it’s a well-made wine in a classic style for a consumer-friendly price. Look for it, and while you’re at it, try their Knights Valley Cabernet, too. It’s another winner.


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