Author:Ferraez, Jorge

GUSTAVO AVINA is one of the most passionate winegrowers I know. Originally from Mexico, he grew up helping his dad on the farming business. Since 1988, he has worked for some of the best and finest wineries in Napa, including Newton and Abreu. In 2003 Gustavo joined the team at Pine Ridge where he has done a stellar career that has put him in front of all the vineyards for the winery. He oversees different locations in districts like Stags Leap, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, and Carneros. "When you love what you do, work is enjoyable," he tells me as we drive by some of his properties. His vineyards are like gardens for him, he nurtures and walks them constantly making sure they have everything they need. On a recent visit with him at Pine Ridge, I was impressed when he showed me how he can control water irrigation and monitor the temperature of the specific rows of his vineyards remotely from his cellphone, wherever he is. Wow! I thought. That's technology at the service of wine.

Later on, Gustavo invited me to a fabulous and impressive wine tasting with him and Michael Beaulac, Pine Ridge's chief winemaker where we tried most of their current releases; bold wines, great fruitiness, magnificent structures, and exquisite aromas and flavors. Perhaps the most admirable fact of Gustavo's wines is the consistent quality of the fruit that shows very well the different character of each region, microclimate, and vineyard. Incredibly expressive wines with elegant and voluptuous personalities.


* Chardonnay (Cameras) 2015. Dry tropical accents with loads of Pineapple.

* Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015-A well crafted Cabernet Sauvignon with vanilla, herbal and dill notes.

* Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford 2015.--Showing ripe fruit, vanilla cream, red cherry and brittle.

* Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville 2015.--With nice fruit, bright plum, berry and licorice notes, deeper body and complexity.

* Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap 2013.--Salty, mineral, fruity with sweet tanins and bolder structure.

* Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain "Las Posadas" Vineyard 2015.--Delicate, elegant with subtle fruitiness, vanilla, chocolate and toasted bean notes.


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