I always love when I discover new-for-me wineries. But in this case, it’s pretty much a new-for-everybody winery.
You may have heard of Delfino Farms, they’ve been around since the 1960s (under the name Kids Incorporated until 2017). Edio and Joan Delfino founded the business, along with their seven children. Today, second generation Chris Delfino and his four children, Christine, Peter, Benjamin, and Derek own and run the family enterprise.
So, where does wine fit in? According to the Delifino family, founder Edio grew up amongst the vines of St. Helena, studied agriculture in Cal Poly, which is what ultimately brought him to El Dorado County, where the family farm thrives today. Up until recently, it’s been all about apples—fresh apples, apple pie, apple cider. But in 2018, the Delfino’s celebrated their first vintage of wine grape harvest—an occasion that also celebrates the return to the family’s “original” agriculture endeavor. “Dedicated to our hardworking, intelligent, strong, sharp, and driven father and grandfather, Edio Delfino, an inspiration to his entire family.”
Thank you to Christine and the whole Delfino family for sharing this first vintage with me.
When I received a package filled with SIP Certified wine, I was thrilled to see an Albariño in the mix. As one of my favorite Spanish varietals, I’ve only recently come to taste a few with a California home base. After a recent successful tasting of the Eighty Four Wines 2017 Albariño from Sonoma, I was eager to taste what Edna Valley had to say about the grape variety. Maybe too eager. The Tangent Paragon Vineyard Albariño went straight from box, to chiller, to glass that same day.
Abariño? Yes, please! That’s kind of my attitude every time I see the Spanish white wine on the menu. Indeed, every time I do see it on a menu, it is a wine hailing from the motherland. So when I opened up my delivery from Eighty Four wines (a side project by Elias Fernandez and Doug Shafer of Shafer Vineyards — read more about the Eighty Four Wines project here) and saw an Albariño from one of the most esteemed Napa-based producers, I was delighted, excited, and suddenly quite thirsty…
Today California girl goes to Spain for a study in Albariño. This white grape is primarily grown in Galicia, Spain, specifically the DO Rías Baixas. In fact, though the DO Rías Baixas allows for 12 different grape varieties, 90% of the wine region is planted to Albariño 99% of all wine produced is white. Ryas Baixas is known for its cool-climate in the northwestern side of Spain due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. And though these conditions are mostly ideal, the region is also prone to humid rainfalls which can lead to mold, mildew and other diseases. For this reason, many grape growers train their Albariño vines along a wire trellis called a “parra,” which reaches up to seven feet high and allow for wind circulation through the vines and berry clusters.
Fermentation, like most wines, varies between winemakers. Most will age Albariño on the lees, a few will even take the wine through malolactic fermentation. Barrel fermentation, while not unheard of, is, in general, is used sparingly.