Massimo di Costanzo: A new Napa star in the brilliant 2013 vintage
There’s a new kid on the block in Napa and he goes by the name of Massimo di Costanzo. In actual fact, Massimo isn’t new to Napa, he studied at UC Davis before hitting the road for a number of European harvests. He worked with the Antinoris, and then with Bedenhorst in SA, before returning home to Napa. Upon his return he worked with Andy Erickson at Ovid, which eventually led to a position as day to day winemaker at Screaming Eagle , a position he held through the much lauded ’06 and ’07 vintages.
Dedicated to producing his own wine, he fell in love with an area called Coombsville, one of Napa’s most exciting new sub-appellations. Tucked into the Southeast corner of Napa it is something of a secret AVA. The sub soils are volcanic with alluvial rocks and gravel above, and while Coombsville is one of Napa’s coolest growing zones (by virtue of being the closest AVA to the San Pablo bay) the Farella vineyard is west facing and bathed in warm afternoon sun. This unusual combination produces exceptional results.
The first vintage of Di Costanzo was 2010, and since then the style has evolved, refined and settled as Massimo has worked out the perfect way to articulate the specifics of the great Farella vineyard. The cool Coombsville breezes allow for an extra-long hang time and the resulting naturally small berries are infused with concentration but also pungent minerality and wonderful development of perfumed Cabernet Sauvignon aromas with fine ripe tannins. The style is taut, restrained and structured but also wonderfully bright and aromatic – even young the 2013 is remarkably enjoyable. With age, this looks set to be a stunning bottle of wine. We are delighted to be bringing this rising star into the UK for the first time, and yet we must caution restraint - a mere 150 cases are produced in total, so availability is needless to say, highly limited.
“Massimo Di Costanzo. Make a note of the name now, because you will be hearing more about Di Costanzo as soon as the broader public has a chance to taste these wines. One of the most quiet and understated young winemakers in Napa Valley, Di Costanzo will tell you about his background, but only reluctantly. After receiving degrees in enology and viticulture, Di Costanzo worked at a number of prestigious estates around the world before coming back home to California. Di Costanzo makes no effort whatsoever to leverage those names, as most people reasonably would. Instead, he articulates a vision of making old school Cabernets like those of Cathy Corison and Randy Dunn, both of whom he admires. Quite honestly, these are the wines so many of Napa Valley's young winemakers want to make, but few have the courage to actually make. Starting a label is hard. It requires money, involves more risk than most people can stomach, and it takes time to realize a dream. Di Costanzo sources fruit from the Farella Vineyard in Coombsville, where the volcanic soils yield distinctive, mineral-inflected Cabernets. Di Costanzo's first wines were early essays in style and terroir. While certainly good, I felt those wines didn't fully capture the voice Di Costanzo was after. But with the 2013 and the 2014, Di Costanzo has two fabulous vintages on his hands.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
“What I tasted with Massimo, is far greater, at least in my estimation, than the wine he made for Screaming Eagle as the assistant to Andy Erickson, and I now count him as one of my favourite producers in the United States” RH Drexel, Loam Baby