I was told and then I also got a follow-up test message that Tom Celani was going to visit my local wine shop The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. The last time he was here for a tasting was 19 December 2019 when the world was fair and innocent, at least from a certain bug that seems to get mentioned in the papers quite a bit. Since my earliest days as a clothier, I had stopped listening to music on the radio and listened to the top news radio station in the Detroit area, so that I, as a clothier could speak rather intelligently with the customers, a trait that has been lost, I have noticed among the clerks that I now encounter. I lead in with this introduction, because for years I had heard Tom Celani and all the philanthropic work he has done in the Detroit area, long before he had a winery. Tom Celani is lauded in the Detroit area for his largesse for charitable organizations that he helps in a grand manner. He and his father ended up creating one of the largest Miller distribution companies in the United States along with other beers and wines. Tom Celani fell in love with wines, first as a drinker and a collector and finally acquiring a Tuscan-style estate with seventeen acres of grapes and one-hundred-twenty olive trees in the foot hills of the Vaca Mountain range in Napa Valley. As the proprietor of the Celani Family Vineyards he has chosen to bottle wine without costs becoming a consideration, to him wine is about quality and not quantity. In fact, he was joking that he is not sure if the winery, will ever truly show a profit, because of his concern about getting the best wine each and every time.
We started off tasting the Celani Family Vineyards Napa Valley Rose 2019 made from Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was aged on the lees for nine months in neutral French Oak barrels. The wine was an estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé that was mouthwatering with its refreshing taste. Strawberries and rose petals wafted up to tempt the nose, after studying the deep pink color of the wine, and the wine delivered in spades, essences of strawberries, cranberries and red fruits with a layer of mineral terroir to make this wine an excellent dry finish and so satisfying. It was a great way to start the tasting off, and I do think that the other tasters are getting used to my lame photography sessions and my questions directed to our guest host.
The next wine that we had was a new wine for me, from the Celani Family Vineyards. We were tasting a Celani Family Vineyards Estate Chardonnay Napa Valley 2020 from the Oak Knoll District. The Chardonnay was whole-cluster pressed and fermented on its lees using forty percent new French Oak and sixty percent in self-stirring egg-shaped concrete fermenters. To maintain the natural acidity of the Chardonnay, malolactic fermentation was inhibited. The nose on this wine was excellent with notes of apple, pear, tropical flowers and brioche and some soft notes of spices and jasmine. The taste was a crisp balance of fruit and floral flavors with a very decent length finish of oak and roasted nuts. And to think, we had just begun.