Twelve years after arriving in America, in 1924, Gaspare Indelicato planted a vineyard in Manteca, California. With it, he planted the foundation of his eventual success in the California wine trade. Since that first vineyard flourished, Gaspare’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have honored his legacy through dedication to his steadfast values of family, hard work and integrity.
More than a century ago, Gaspare and Caterina Indelicato immigrated from Sicily to the United States. With little to draw on but a long family history of grapegrowing and an entreprenuer’s gift for seizing opportunity, Gaspare entered the wine trade by planting a single vineyard in Manteca, California, where the climate reminded the couple of their homeland.
Occupying a privileged position at the southern foot of the trail, the winery grounds eventually became the site of the Silverado Western Center, a major equestrian center that opened in September 1963.
The original riding area now houses prized wines, instead of prize-winning horses. However Black Stallion Estate Winery carries its heritage forward. The estate’s legacy honors the world-class terroir of Napa Valley, the pioneering spirit of the Silverado Trail, and the Indelicato family’s warm hospitality and generations of wine expertise.
To make great wine, a winemaker must have a deep familiarity with each lot of freshly pressed juice. At Black Stallion, the search for greatness means boots in the vineyard, checking on vine growth and grape development all year long. It means tasting grapes rather than looking at lab reports to determine the perfect moment to pick. It means harvesting and sorting fruit by hand. Black Stallion Winery’s small scale means that each lot of grapes that arrives at harvest is treated individually, and receives a unique upbringing to bring out its full potential for excellence.
Once crushed at the winery, micro-lots may be fermented in small tanks made of wood, concrete or steel. These choices of aging vessel give winemaker Ralf Holdenried exceptional flexibility to match a batch of grapes with the material best suited to bring out its greatness—key in a region as diverse as Napa Valley.
After fermentation, wine is drained using gravity (not pumps) and aged in the finest oak barrels. The gentle handling of the wine prevents the extraction of harsh components that could impart bitterness.
There’s no set recipe for a Black Stallion blend, just the finely honed palates of winemaker Ralf Holdenried and his team. It’s not uncommon for Holdenried to try dozens of trial blends before deciding on a final cuvée. The goal is always the same: To create a seamless, harmonious wine that captures the varietal’s best expression of that vintage in Napa Valley.
WINEMAKING BEGINS IN THE VINEYARD. LOCATION, CLIMATE, SOILS, PICKING DECISIONS – ARE ALL IMPORTANT FACTORS THAT DETERMINE THE QUALITY OF OUR WINE. I AM FORTUNATE TO WORK WITH SOME OF THE FINEST GROWERS IN NAPA VALLEY. THEY ARE COMMITTED TO FARMING TO OUR STANDARDS IN THE BEST VINEYARDS AND A.V.A.S IN THE REGION.
– Director of Winemaking, Ralf Holdenried
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