Napa’s ‘less is more’ Pinot Noirs

Ceja Vineyards

Ceja winesThe story is inspirational: a Mexican family that evolved from migrant farming to owning one of the most respected brands in Napa Valley.

Returning to Mexico after working Napa Valley vineyards, Pablo Ceja would tell his children about his love for the little Napa Valley town of St. Helena. Pablo and his wife, Juanita eventually moved their family to the US in 1967. Their son Pedro grew up in St Helena, where he met and married Amelia Moran Fuentes. It would take years, but Pedro, Amelia and family members pooled their resources and purchased their first plot of 20 acres in Carneros. Their continued drive translated into Ceja Vineyards with 113 vineyard acres and a portfolio of highly-respected wines (10,000 cases which will expand over the next few years).

Amelia and Pedro Ceja

Amelia and Pedro Ceja

Amelia Ceja is a tour-de-force: never tiring of sharing her wines with as many people as she can gather to her Carneros property or visit in the marketplace. Her daughter, Dalia, has the same vivacious personality and works alongside her mother and father, Pedro, and uncle Armando who makes the wine.

Amelia Ceja explains that when purchasing land for winegrowing, they bought property only and planted all of the vines themselves. Visit the Ceja property and there is one thing you should not expect: all pomp and superficial show. The Cejas throw inspiring events in their beautiful Carneros setting, inviting guests and club members to experience Mexican cultural festivities. The family and the wines are all heart.

What you can expect is good wine. The Ceja 2009 Los Carneros Pinot Noir ($40) is a silky palate of red fruit flavours balanced by acidity and integrated oak flavours. Amelia explains that this Pinot Noir is made from Dijon and Pommard clones. The wine was put into neutral barrels except for 10% in new oak, and aged for 23 months. They seek balance and food friendly wines above all else.

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