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Bonacorssi Wine Company

Michael Bonaccorsi was a talented sommelier who distinguished himself at Masa’s Restaurant in San Francisco and later for almost ten years at the original Spago Restaurant in Los Angeles. His passion for wine led him to become the twentieth Master Sommelier in the United States. He had a knack for matching wine and food and making diners comfortable through his unpretentious approach to wine. He met Jenne Lee, a native of Seoul, Korea, while she was working at Spago and the two married. Fittingly, they were married in Burgundy. In 1999, they formed the Bonaccorsi Wine Company, sourcing grapes from premium vineyards in Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. From their first vintage, the wines were well received by the wine press and sommelier community .

Tragically, Michael passed away suddenly from a heart attack in 2004 at the age of 43. Undaunted, Jenne Lee has kept the Bonacorssi label going, making the wines with the assistance of winemaker Sashi Moorman (Stolpman). The winery is located in the Lompoc “Wine Ghetto.” In addition, as a lasting memorial to Michael, Jenne Lee has started the Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship Fund for viticulture students at University of California Davis. An annual fundraiser is held in West Los Angeles each year (www.bonaccorsifoundation.com).

I had the pleasure of sampling four recent releases from Bonacorssi Wine Company. In addition to the two 2004 wines tasted, there were a Cargasacchi Vineyard and Melville Vineyard bottling. In 2005, besides the Santa Rita Hills and Presidio Vineyard bottlings described here, there is a Sanford & Benedict Vineyard spring release and a Cargasacchi Vineyard, Fiddlestix Vineyard and Melville Vineyard Pinot Noir all of which will be available in November, 2007. The wines are aged 18 months in 50% new French oak.

2005 Bonaccorsi Wine Company Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

15.1% alc., 400 cases, $55. Composed of fruit from Cargasacchi, Melville and Fiddlestix vineyards. Clones 115 and Pommard. · Lightest in color of the wines tasted. The nose is introverted even after two hours showing restrained notes of red fruit, hay and oak. There is a rich palate of primarily red cherry and red berry fruit with a hint of anise and a texture of milky softness.

2005 Bonaccorsi Wine Company Presidio Vineyard Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

15.1% alc., 150 cases, $60. · A demure aromatic profile of organic matter and dark crushed berries. The alcohol peaks out a tad on the nose as the wine warms in the glass but is not intrusive. Packed with sweet dark cherry and black raspberry fruit with an oak sidecar. Very satiny and sensual texture. The whole package is quite enjoyable and this is clearly my favorite.

2004 Bonaccorsi Wine Company Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $60. · This deeply colored wine has a woodsy, damp, barnyard aromatic profile. The flavors are complex with black fruits, spice, earth, herbs, root beer, wood and raisin evident. The texture is caressing. Mild drying tannins are evident on the finish.

2004 Bonaccorsi Wine Company Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $60. · Dark garnet in color. Forest floor and oak frame the darker Pinot fruits on the nose and on the deep palate. This is a wine with an earthy edge and is muscular but not harsh. The finish is lingering.

Bonaccorsi Wine Company wines are sold on the website, www.bonawine.com, and through retail channels. The 2005 spring releases are sold out at the winery. The 2005 vintage wines are strikingly silky in texture and demonstrate a harmonious integration of oak. They will appeal to fans of biggerstyled, virile and opulent Pinot Noir.

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