With a focus on tradition and family, relationships are at the heart of Muscardini Cellars.
With a focus on tradition and family, relationships are at the heart of Muscardini Cellars, and at that heart’s core are the relationships that proprietor, Michael Muscardini has cultivated in the vineyards with the growers he receives phenomenal fruit from every year. Michael Muscardini’s passion for Old World varietals extends beyond crafting exceptional Sangiovese, Barbera, Brunello-style vintages and Super Tuscan-style wines, Muscardini Cellars wine conjures up a la dolce vita celebration which reflects Michael’s indefatigable tasting and lifestyle research on his sojourns to Italy. In addition to producing Sonoma County’s finest Italian varietals and Super Tuscan-style wines, Muscardini Cellars’ 2016 Merlot, Sangiacomo Vineyards recently received a rare Double Gold Medal at the 2022 San Francisco Wine Competition. Michael has forged deep relationships with Sonoma growers since founding Muscardini Cellars more than fifteen years ago. These close ties have established consistent sourcing of some of the area’s finest fruit in pursuit of superb Italian blends and non-Italian varietals met with an Italian winemaking approach. The results of these collaborations have been nothing short of extraordinary.
“I wanted to form a partnership with [Sangiacomo Vineyards] to create an Italian varietal. It became a perfect marriage, earning us prestigious awards and a 95-point rating.”
Michael Muscardini expresses the same standards for his wine that he’s observed over his many trips to Tuscany, whether creating a signature Sangiovese or a Double Gold Merlot. A fortuitous collaboration, Muscardini’s Merlot was drawn from grapes that benefited from clay and loam-based soils as well as the climate of the cool San Pablo Bay, a direct benefit of his relationship with growers like Sangiacomo Vineyards. “Sangiacomo is primarily known for Chardonnay,” Muscardini notes, “But I wanted to form a partnership with them to source an Italian varietal. They weren’t growing what I was hoping for, but when they told me about their Merlot, I immediately knew we had a fit, even though we had never done a one hundred percent Merlot before. It became a perfect marriage, the very first vintage we produced earned us multiple prestigious awards including 2 best of class awards and a 95-point rating from an esteemed competition.”
In addition to the Double Gold, Muscardini Cellars received an unprecedented half-dozen Gold Medals at this year’s SF Chronicle Wine Competition, the most prestigious juried event in the USA. More than 5,000 wines are submitted for consideration. More impressive still, Muscardini Cellars received this set of gilded accolades as a boutique winery that produces no more than 5,000 cases annually. The 6 gold medalists included the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2017 Fortuna, 2018 Rancho Salina, 2018 Sangiovese, 2018 Zinfandel, and the 2019 Tesoro – Muscardini’s flagship blend.
The 2019 Tesoro continues an important legacy for Muscardini, whose grandfather made wine in Italy before emigrating to America in 1909. Fifteen years ago, Michael Muscardini first blended Sangiovese, Syrah, and Cabernet grapes to create his signature Tesoro, an homage to his grandfather and his Italian heritage. Muscardini’s Tesoro swiftly became the winery’s flagship label, with numerous vintages receiving 90+ point ratings and “Best of Class” awards at various competitions.
Muscardini Cellars’ laurels do not rest on receiving a Double Gold Medal and six Gold Medals at a storied wine competition, however. Assistant winemaker Cecilia “Ceci” Valdivia’s success illustrates that, when given the opportunity, exceptional talent can change long-held gender stereotypes in winemaking. Born and raised in Mendoza, Argentina, Ceci studied agricultural engineering and oenology at the University of Mendoza, ultimately earning a Master’s Degree.
After apprenticing at Argentina’s renowned Trapiche Winery and working at Bodega Chandon and Doña Paula Argentina, Ceci relocated to Sonoma County in 2003. She says she was driven by her desire to integrate Argentinian winemaking techniques in another region famous for its Cabernet and red blends. Ceci’s swift ascension via several area wineries led her to Sonoma, where she works directly with Michael to produce the outstanding reds showcased above.
Muscardini Cellars’ ode to the Italian way of life is on full display at the picturesque winery in Sonoma Valley. Michael describes the signature ‘All Things Italian’ Reserve Tasting Experience to be both intimate and educational – it is the most popular experience at the winery that provides insight on how to set your Italian table. The unique Italian-centric experience is highlighted with wine-infused salami featuring Pete Seghesio’s Journeyman Meats, Cassata Vineyards’ olive oil, and a variety of local artisan cheeses. Naturally, the event commences with the winery’s Vermouth aperitivo and concludes with their Grappa digestivo. The ‘All Things Italian’ exploration is one of several tasting experiences available at Muscardini Cellars (by appointment) and is complimentary for Wine Club members. In addition to tasting experiences, a Muscardini Cellars wine club membership carries an additional cache, the opportunity to receive small-batch wines that never appear before the public, including many award-winning and rare vintages. And, unlike many clubs, the Muscardini Cellars membership invites you to customize your wines for each shipment.
Michael Muscardini founded Muscardini Cellars to celebrate family, fellowship, and the storied Italian culture. Inspired by his grandfather and frequent extended holidays to Tuscany, the Muscardini family remains committed to blazing its own trail, be it the inclusion of outstanding talent like assistant winemaker Ceci Valdivia or crafting highly regarded Italian blends. Michael and Ceci’s perseverance benefits us all. Visit the Muscardini Cellarss website to reserve a tasting experience, purchase wine, and join the wine club.