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Eduardo Dingler, Wine to Sake: Xavier Cervantes' quest
Wine to Sake

Eduardo Dingler, Wine to Sake: Xavier Cervantes' quest

From the Napa Valley Wine Insider Digest: July 24, 2021 series
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Becoming a vigneron for patriarch Xavier Cervantes wasn’t serendipitous. It was the years of working towards his dream of growing the best possible grapes to produce his wine.

Eduardo mug

Eduardo Dingler

Cervantes Family Vineyards is very much a family affair. We had the pleasure of visiting the 1,100 acre Napa ranch recently, which put in perspective all the hard work, meticulous planning and execution.

I met Jero (Jeronimo) Cervantes, Xavier's son, last year when he reached out to introduce me to his wines. Their wines were on my radar, and I was very curious to find out more.

As soon as I met Jero and his wife Ale for a tasting, I was hooked. The passion behind the project is contagious, and their wines certainly deliver a monumental experience.

It comes as no surprise, after acquiring the ideal land and vineyards, Xavier managed to lock in Andy Erickson to make the wines. Andy’s reputation and expertise resonates across the valley and his Midas touch, from years of winemaking, is evident in every bottle.

The recent evening at the ranch was pure magic. Driving up, we felt the charm of the site. Beyond Pritchard Hill, a few miles north, we arrived at the piece of land that Xavier acquired after an extensive search.

The ranch is gifted with knolls and hills that provide dramatic landscape, including four reservoirs and five natural springs reaching 1,000 feet in elevation.

Jero and their two larger-than-life Irish wolfhounds greeted us and introduced us to the family, his mother, Ceci, and sisters, Ana and Ximena. We proceeded to the back porch, which provides a breathtaking view of the vineyards.

We next explored the property with Jero at the wheel, climbing the roads in their agile off-road vehicle.

The tour included trails lined with various native vegetation, rows of manicured vines and a brief reservoir pit stop. Beside the water, while enjoying a sip of wine we were greeted by their friendly horses who curiously made their way into the conversation.

“We love the outdoors and being in touch with nature,” Jero explained. “We run daily, hike and ride the horses across the property, exploring every corner.”

After the fascinating drive, we got back to the house where Xavier awaited and greeted us with a sip of tequila as he proudly gave us a brief history of his quest for this land.

Xavier, a successful entrepreneur, was born in Mexico where he developed a love for wine and the outdoors. He set his sights on Napa where he envisioned his dream of owning a vineyard. The seven-year quest culminated when he found this perfect spot.

The table was set and Ceci, who has a culinary gift, invited us to sit down as the wines were poured. A flavorful and aesthetically pleasing plate of enchiladas served as an excellent pairing for the duo of soon-to-be-released estate wines.

2018 Cervantes Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley encapsulates the phenomenal Napa vintage with mulberry notes, graphite rich layers and an intriguing dark spice. The texture displays on the palate resolving in a monumental structure with expansive tannins, finishing with a hint of espresso. A beautiful story from start to finish, like staring at a Salvador Dali painting uncovering the many secrets.

2018 Cervantes Family Vineyards Blacktail Red Wine Napa Valley highlights the beauty of blending. Driven by Malbec, this blend is lush and captivating with blueberry pie notes wrapped in complex layers of violets, cassis and licorice with a muscular mid-palate with precision and concentration giving way to silky joyful tannin. This wine is an excellent example of the caliber of fruit grown in the ranch with grip and a memorable savoir faire.

As the dinner progressed, a bottle of the inaugural 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon made it to the table. This wine provides an excellent window into the potential and longevity of these wines driven by blackberry and dark currant with lavender and crushed graphite notes and velvety well integrated tannins making an intellectual conversation as it develops in the mid-palate. Like having an in depth conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson about the creation of our constellations.

The star-filled sky was the perfect canvas for the enriching conversations with the family, which created long lasting memories. The hospitalarian spirit together with their driven passion for the Napa Valley and wine is simply unparalleled.

Xavier’s summed it up eloquently: "Everything we do in life, we do it to share; it's in our culture and it's in our blood. As humans we can create great things, but if we don't share them it's useless."

Cervantes Family Wines are sold across the United States and abroad with distribution in the United Kingdom and other important markets.

Until next time, cheers!

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