California: Napa Valley
What we say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Bourassa Vineyards.
Mission Codename: Napa Valley Premier Cru?
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Find a California Bordeaux style blend worth of our operatives palates.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bourassa Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2003 Harmony³
Winemaker: Gary Galleron
Bordeaux wines are usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere. And in France, perfection is achieved with the perfect balance of those grapes. In California’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon reigns supreme with large crops of Merlot and to a lesser extent Cabernet Franc. The 2003 Bourassa Vineyard Harmony³ is a perfect blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 21% Cabernet Franc. Napa Valley’s unique location, climate, aspect and soil make it ideal for the production of the primary Bordeaux grapes.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful dark purple in color with a slightly inky clarity.
Smell – Big and intense juicy blackberries and plums balanced against oak and spice.
Feel – Medium bodied, smooth and rich, but still exhibits a solid tannic structure with an almost creamy texture to the fruit.
Taste – Great fruit flavors of juicy and tart blackberries, cherries, mild toasted oak, hints of cocoa and a nice mineral quality.
Finish – This wine finished long, rich and smooth with lingering flavors of its fruit and a hint of spice.
Conclusion – There is a reason that Bordeaux wines are so loved among wine aficionados, and this Napa California version reminds us of just why wines from Napa Valley is among the best for the Bordeaux varietals. This wine is both elegant and juicy with exceptional layers of flavor, balance and structure. If you are a fan of Napa Valley wines then this is definitely worth a try. After tasting this wine, we know why it is considered Bourassa Vineyard’s ‘flagship’ wine.
For those ‘insider’ operatives that know me, you know I also have a soft spot for Highland Scotch and authentic Jalisco Tequila. While on a mission where I was technically ‘off the reservation’ in search of tequila, an interesting incident occurred.
I had flown in to Mexico via small aircraft (our very own Wine Spies Spy Plane, a kitted Cessna R182) into a dirt strip, just to the south of the pueblo of Tequila and after scoping out some of the farms, I was relaxing in the plazuela. Now its not uncommon to see people walking around with bottles of the distilled nectar of agave, but strangely there was a young man carrying a couple bottles of what looked to be red wine.
I immediately grew suspicious and carefully followed the man into a tequila tasting room where I sat at one of the plastic ‘Tecate’ tables, adorned with limes, salt and a bottle of Huichol salsa. After, browsing the shop, the man sat down at my table and introduced himself as Mr. Barragan, from the Bourassa Winery.
“Agent White, what are you doing here in Tequila”, he asked, followed by “Our intel suggests that you should be in Napa, trying to discover ‘our’ versions of a Bordeaux blend”. I replied, “I am, supposed to be in Napa, but I needed to pick up some samples for a personal mission, I’ll be in Napa in the next couple days in search of a few exceptional Bordeaux styled wines.”
“You could have saved me a trip” he proclaimed, “But not all is lost, I have some wine for you to taste, assuming your palate is not ruined by the tequila.” I had not yet indulged, so I was prepared to taste his samples. Thankfully, the cantina/tienda had a couple of wine glasses.
All I could say is ‘wow’, the wines that Mr. Barragan poured where amazing. Having spent so much time in France tasting Premier Cru Bordeaux wines, their 2003 Bourassa Vineyards Harmony³ was like being back in Pauillac. “You must come and visit us to meet Victor Bourassa and our winemaker Gary Galleron when you’re up in Napa.”
The juxtaposition of drinking a fantastic wine in Tequila was strange at best, and almost surreal. (Try enjoying wine listening to Banda.)
I was getting anxious to get back to California, and subsequently Napa to gather the full intel and conduct a complete tasting, but I’d have to wait to fly back, I needed to wait “8 hours bottle to throttle”, knowing that the earliest we could fly back was the morning, we finished enjoying the wine, and even a few tequilas.
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About This Wine:
Harmony³, a Bordeaux blend, is our Flagship Wine. This wine represents the best varietals from the vineyards in the Napa Valley and the first wine crushed, fermented and aged under master winemaker Gary Galleron’s supervision.
This blend is elaborately crafted, offering full-bodied elegance and opening up beautifully on the palate. Complex, rich and lush, the young and compact black currant and dried cherry flavors are enhanced by scents of caramel, slate and herbal hints. Tastes of plum, chocolate, and oak are evident throughout. The wonderful flavor possesses a veneer of youthful tannins presenting a long finish.
Bourassa Vineyards, the Essence of Paradise
Welcome to Bourassa Vineyards, one of Napa Valley’s most distinguished wineries. Bourassa Vineyards skillfully produces rich, complex blends and world class varietals from only the finest, self-maintained vineyards in Napa Valley. Born from a family tradition of winemaking with a passion for quality, our wines are hand-crafted in small lots to ensure unsurpassed excellence in every bottle. Our award-winning vintages display varietally correct balance paired with handcrafted passion.
The Bourassa tradition of winemaking started in 1899 in Naples, Italy with Victor Nozzolillo, Victor Bourassa’s grandfather. In 1910, he came to American by himself, greeted only by an older brother who also left Italy at a very young age. Nozzolillo fought in and survived WWI before settling down to raise a family.
On Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, MA in the early 1900’s, street-style farmers’ markets were the order of the day. Grapes from other states were on display on wooden boxes, ripe for home winemaking (most of which was done in the basement during Prohibition.) It was Victor Bourassa’s grandfather who provided him an inheritance of tradition as a winemaker. He instilled in Bourassa an eagerness to learn the ancient craft of winemaking.
On the other side of town, Bourassa’s other grandfather Joseph Bourassa, tended his entrepreneurial spirit by building a neighborhood grocery store from the ground up. He too planted a seed within Vic Bourassa to honor and build on tradition.
Many of Victor Bourassa’s memories provide confidence in seeking the knowledge in winemaking and entrepreneurship for his wine business today. Bourassa Vineyards is built on this strong family tradition in Napa Valley. Bourassa recognized the importance of these people who have touched his life. They have taught him to work hard, have integrity and always be optimistic in life. Thus the result is the fruition of Vic Bourassa’s lifelong dream to produce and sell wines that would make his grandfathers proud.
Appellation: Napa Valley
Varietal: 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc