As with many distinctive vineyards throughout the world, there is a story behind Napa Valley’s Black Stallion Winery. Situated in the Oak Knoll District, this 32 acre estate was once home to the Silverado Horseman’s Center. The equestrian center featured an indoor riding track, numerous training rings, breeding facilities and an outdoor arena that seated 3,000 spectators. After more than two years of construction, Black Stallion Winery opened its doors in 2007. The indoor track now houses winemaking production but remnants of the original 36 horse stalls are still visible today. Spanning three generations and more than 85 years of winemaking heritage, Delicato Family Vineyards now runs the operation.
Black Stallion has a modest portfolio of approachable high quality wines. In addition to their 2009 Muscat, I’ve tried their 2008 Rose with delightful results. Each of their varietals is handcrafted and carefully blended from small vineyard lots. Fermentation and aging are done separately in their cellar until just before bottling. Blending carefully achieves balance while showcasing layers of complex flavors. Since Black Stallion’s wines are produced in small lots, they are only sold through the winery Tasting Room and online.
So when I learned that Black Stallion was running a half price special on their 2009 Muscat, I leaped at the opportunity to purchase a bottle. I anticipated that this wine would be sweet and it is…but not so much that only the sugars pop through. It’s just as appropriate to sip with dessert as to linger with a glass between meals. As they indicate, I definitely tasted Asian pear with apricot and candied ginger notes. The grapes for this Muscat come from both a vineyard on Silverado Trail in Napa Valley just south of Black Stallion Winery and a vineyard in the Alexander Valley in Sonoma. This combination is officially known as North Coast. All of the grapes for this 2009 vintage were harvested at night retaining the fruit’s crisp character. Its bright fruitiness comes from a slow cool temperature fermentation in steel tanks.
Photo courtesy of Steve Mirsky