November 1992


Over the years, we have received increasing numbers of requests for Chardonnay – the standard white wine of the Napa Valley.  Last year, through a serendipitous series of events, we met Marion Sargent, a happy farmer with a small Chardonnay vineyard just north of Casa.  Marion is a retired librarian who came to the Valley from Indiana in 1979.  She availed herself of all the available viticultural classes and planted her own Chardonnay vineyard which she nurtures meticulously leaf by leaf and bunch by bunch.  This was a perfect fit for the Casa Nuestra.

We have made the Chardonnay in the classic style, fermenting it in small oak barrels, and leaving the new wine on the yeast lees for an extended period to develop buttery flavors.  The oak tones blend happily with the ample fruit and refreshing acidity.  Delicious!  $12 per bottle.  $130 per case.

1991 Dry Chenin Blanc Barrel-Fermented

Our 1991 Dry Chenin Blanc continues the 13-year tradition.  It is absolutely dry.  Like the popular vintages in 1988 and 1989 this Chenin was fermented in small oak barrels.  It combines toasty oak flavors with substantial structure and medium fruit.  This is a big wine which is drinking very well now and which will develop for many more years in your cellar.  $8 per bottle, $86 per case.


Dear Folks,            Sept, 1, 1992

Some years ago we read that you figured your Chenin Blanc would age for years, perhaps as well as Chardonnay.  Well, we weren’t so sure about that, but figured “what the heck, let’s give it a try.”

We enjoyed all the years [going back to 1983] wondering “why age it?  It’s quite acceptable drinking now.”  However, showing great restraint, we did save two bottles of each year…..

We decided to see if this wine would indeed age well.  We opened one of the ‘83’s and lo & behold…. It is beautiful.  We just sipped and sipped and sipped, smacking our lips until the bottle was gone,

Not to be critical BUT your wine does not age as well as Chardonnay.  It ages BETTER.  We have not found California Chardonnays that will go much past five years.  Your Chenin Blanc ages as well or better than the French ehites.  Congratulations on your style.

No we want to know… will YOU sell us a case of the ’91?  Do you have any of the ’89 and/or ’90 still available?  By chance is there an ’83 around so we will still have 2 of each for some future tasting?  If you can do any or all of this, will you also reserve a case of the ’92 for us?

Hopefully, Respectfully & Sincerely,
Richard and Dolores D.

Tahachapi, CA

Dear Gene & Cody                June 17, 1992

My wife and I have been drinking your wines since we visited your vineyard in 1990.  We enjoyed them very much, especially the Dry Chenin Blanc and Tinto.

When the delivery charges became so high a couple of years ago we found an outlet in Baltimore to purchase your wines and stopped buying direct.

The purpose of my letter today is to tell you to keep bottling all your great wines and to keep sending us your Casa Nuestra Journal, which we look forward to receiving.

Best Wishes,
Jim and Billie S.

York, PA

P.S. Baltimore, MD is 55 miles away so we drive 110 miles round trip to purchase Casa Nuestra wine.


It is predicted that phylloxera- a voracious grape-eating louse – will eradicate 75% of the vineyards of the North Coast in the next five years.  This devastation will create wine shortages and higher prices. Fortunately, most of the Casa vineyards are on traditional St. George rootstock, which is phylloxera resistant.  Only our Cab Franc vineyard is on vulnerable AXR roots, and it may be assumed that it will eventually succumb.

Our ’92 harvest was the smallest in Casa history – down by more than a half – reflecting last year’s bumper crop, holistic viticultural practices, and the long-term effects of drought.  To compensate for sagging wine orders, we sold most of our wine in bulk at sacrifice prices.  Thus, Casa inventories are alarmingly low.  Some examples, ’88 Cab Franc, 23 cases; ’89 Johannisberg Riesling, 74 cases; ’91 Tinto, 144 cases.  It seems likely that some system of allocation may be necessary in the future.


The Napa Valley Folk Festival was a surpassing success.  For three days (Oct. 9-11) at the Napa Fairgrounds, the festival presented non-stop music and good vibes, including performances by Peter Yarrow, Bob Gibson, Hamilton Camp, David Rea, David Maloney, Steve Seskin, and many many others,  If you were there, you know.  If you missed it, you owe it to yourself to come next year.  Pierce Carson of the Napa Valley Register wrote, “May the Napa Valley Folk Festival become the model for all music events in the Napa Valley- no, not only here, but across the nation,”

Casa Nuestra is a major sponsor of the festival, and the Happy Farmer is the executive director of the Napa Valley Folk Fellowship – the non-profit volunteer organization which produces the festival.


1990 Cabernet Franc:  Color is bright medium ruby.  Intense aromas, berries with a distinct bell pepper overtone (suggestive of cousin Cabernet S.)  Full and round in the mouth, good core of promising flavors that include the Cab S. touch.  The 1990 combines the charm of Cabernet Franc aromas with one of the sharper aromas of Cabernet Sauvignon – a somewhat serious and very promising turn…..The mouth of the 1990 will probably be like the 1988 but more comples in flavors and more con brio.  $151/case

1988 Cabernet Franc:  Color is medium deep ruby.  Intense nose, cherries and plums with solid oak, round in the mouth with a great core of flavors.  The tannins are very friendly.  Drinking beautifully for young wine.  The 1988 gets quite Bourdeaux-ish – still has cherries and plums and explosively charming flavors – could drink it all day (with bread, lamb and cheese)  $173/case

1990 Tinto:  A unique red wine, in the Chianti tradition.  Deriving from one of the oldest plantings in the Napa Valley, Tinto is an authentic field mis of Pfeffer, Zinfandel and other varities too mysterious to identify.  It is fruity and complex, with an appetizing aroma and a gorgeous purple color.  A little more oak than previous Tintos.  An absolute original.  $97/case.

1991 Dry Chenin Blanc:  See Above.  $86/case

1991 Chardonnay:  See above.  $130/case

1989 Johannisberg Riesling:  Winner of two gold medalsthis year, our premier edition J.R. is in the traditional off-dry style (r.s. 1.5%)  It is spicy, scented, fruity and tart, with grapefruit flavors and a tantalizing Muscat-like aroma. $97/case

1987 Dorado – Late Harvest Chenin Blanc:  Robust, fruity flavors with the honey-like character of botritys wines and a powerful aroma of fresh pears.  A delightful after dinner nip $97/case of twelve 375ml bottles.


When we began making wine in 1979, there were 109 wineries in the Valley.  Today the number exceeds 250, permitting us to claim truthfully that the Casa is older than most of the wineries in the Valley.  The overpopulation of wineries has caused many dislocations.  It would seem that today’s wine buyers would have many more choices; but in fact, most of the choices are more of the same:  “Cab ‘n Chard,” endlessly repeated, like a library full of books but with only two authors.  Casa Nuestra offers the highest quakity wine and unpretentious prices, but there are many other good reasons for choosing the Casa.  Here are a few:

  1. Casa Nuestra supports noble though unfashionable varieties, which are otherwise disappearing from the Napa Valley:  Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Johannisberg Riesling.
  2. Casa Nuestra produces an authentic field mix, a living example of the folk art of winemaking from generations ago.  The Tinto difference.
  3. Casa Nuestra is in the vanguard of environmental action in the winery and in the vineyard.  For example, last year Casa entirely eliminated the use of pesticides and herbicides.  No other winery offers to recycle your Styrofoam shipping containers.
  4. Casa Nuestra is absolutely commited to the idea that small is beautiful and vigorously resists the pressure to trade its home-made character for growth and glitz.
  5. Casa Nuestra supports a broad range of charitable community activities at a level vastly disproportionate to its size.