Pritchard Hill, Napa Valley
“The best grape-growing region in Napa Valley you’ve probably never heard of is Pritchard Hill.” Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
The grapes for ALMVS Cabernet Sauvignon come from a very special place called Pritchard Hill in Napa Valley . High above the fog line, this hillside produces the wines collectors typically love to showcase as trophies at every dinner party (e.g. Bryant Family, Colgin). Wines from Pritchard Hill have fetched $4,000 - $10,000 per six-pack at Sotheby’s during recent auctions. As a somewhat newcomer to Pritchard Hill, ALMVS is destined to be one that continues to rise alongside its glamorous neighbors.
Pronouced 'al-muss' it is derived from the Latin term 'soul'. ALMVS means tranquility, serenity, purity, and abundance. Inspired by its very unique location, ALMVS might not only be a great name for this wine, but for the entire Pritchard Hill region.
Founded by Sylvain Portay, a well-known French trained chef who oversees the Alain Ducasse restaurant empire, the team selected Byron Kosuge as the winemaker. Known for his focus and skill in capturing the influence of aromas and flavors from the surrounding environment, Kosuge’s wines are an honest representation of the unique and exquisite grapes that come from the Spanos-Berberian Vineyard (aptly named after vineyard owners Alex Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers and Ron Berberian, former Californian wine merchant).
Pritchard Hill is unlike any other location in California. The vineyard sits high above the fog line (800 – 2,000ft) so as farmers tend to the vines in the sunshine, they simultaneously gaze down at the rest of Napa Valley covered in fog. Basking in this little piece of wine utopia, the increased sunshine is unrivaled by any other area in California and creates an optimal amount of time for ripening. ALMVS’ Pritchard Hill Cabernet captures the enviable sunshine perfectly. These wines produce succulent, intense flavors, so soft and round that other wines should not be able to lay claim to the same description.
Despite the fact that Pritchard Hill is probably the best wine growing region in CA, there’s a good reason why even the most savvy collectors have likely never heard of it. There are just 16 wineries / brands on the hill, who fiercely protect its pristine location within Napa Valley to avoid the inevitable tourist hoards. Thus, you’ll rarely, if ever, see ‘Pritchard Hill’ on any wine label.
In fact, most of the Pritchard Hill wines will never be seen on any wine list or make it into a private collector’s cellar. Only a very limited number of bottles are made available for sale to the public. The rest stay in the hands of the winemakers, owners, and a lucky few billionaire/celebrity investors.
In keeping with this spirit, ALMVS wines are produced in exceedingly small quantities. With less than 120 cases in 2009, critics often comment on the profound beauty and intensity of ALMVS wines, balanced without being an overly done, tannic blockbuster.
Grapes were harvested after a superbly balanced growing season. A mild and even summer resulted in ideal ripening before the mid-October rain storms. A complex layer of cassis and dark cherry fruit, one that is very aromatic and floral with soft tannins. It is by far the finest vintage to date for ALMVS. Byron Kosuge, Winemaker