Even the best of times at a tasting at my local wine shop The Fine Wine Source of Livonia, Michigan has to come to an end. Tom Celani from Celani Family Vineyards was holding court and it was a joy to listen to him talk about the winery and his wines. We only had four wines left to taste, but there were two different vintages of each wine. The first two were the Cabernet Sauvignon, and in 2018, the name was changed to “The Family.” The last two wines were from his “Ardore” collection and I have to smile each time I see a bottle of it, as the label reminds me of a cigar wrapper, another one of Tom Celani’s passions and since his roots are from Detroit, he has a charity event centered on cigars, which I am sure is a great event, as I see some of my former customers listed on the ads, but I gave up cigars, which makes my Bride happy and to finalize that chapter of my life, I just sent my eldest grandson my humidor that I have had from college and he has just started his college days.
We had a chance to try the Celani Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Unfiltered 2016 and the Celani Family Vineyards “The Family” Napa Valley Unfiltered 2018, the ’16 vintage was only available in a Magnum format. The production notes for these two wines are the same. This wine is made using fruit from two respected Napa Valley AVA districts; Mt. Veeder and Coombsville. Here is a wine that was aged for twenty months in French Oak, of which ninety percent was new. That wonderful nose of black fruit, especially black cherry and blueberries. There were several spices that were mingling in the taste along with supple tannins that made this wine great fresh from the bottle and will be stellar ten to fifteen years from now. To be totally honest, this was such an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, that I could not really discern that much difference between the two vintages, so I opt for the ’16, because I could drink it sooner, though I really think the new name “The Family” is very cool and deserves a couple of slots in the wall.
If Tom Celani was Sam Spade, he would probably refer to the next wines as “The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.” It was time to taste the Celani Family Vineyards Ardore Napa Valley Unfiltered 2016 and 2018. Once again, the production notes of these two vintages are the same. There is a meticulous selection process to secure the finest ten barrels of the Coombsville AVA Cabernet Sauvignon juice. These ten barrels are then aged in one-hundred percent new French Oak barrels for twenty-two months with no fining or filtering. The nose was even more concentrated compared to the Cabernet Sauvignon and there were floral tinges as well. This was a very big, bold wine that was chewy, balanced, with tannins that all contributed to a wine that will probably become a cult wine, since they only make two-hundred-fifty cases and this wine will be great for at least twenty years, if not longer. The ’18 was a bit more fruit forward and some notes of black tea and violets and the tannins were a bit more velvety and rich. I didn’t mind getting a second taste. I am sure that I will be seeing more wines from Tom Celani in the future.