On February 10th we lost a dear friend by the name of Chester Brandlin. You will recognize the name being the same as our Brandlin Cabernet and here is why: Back in 1998 we were informed that a very special property was for sale in the Mount Veeder district of Napa Valley, which was owned by Chester Brandlin. We knew it was special due to the incredible Zinfandels from the site, which were produced by Peter Franus. We negotiated with Chester for many months but it wasn’t about price; he wanted to make sure we would protect the environment that his family had nurtured since the 1920’s when the 10 acres of zinfandel were first planted. Once purchased by Cuvaison, we planted 38 acres to Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, while maintaining the old vine zinfandel.
Once we heard the rich stories about the Brandlin family, which dated back to their arrival to Mount Veeder in the 1870’s, we knew we had to do something to bring homage to this great family. They had grown wine grapes that entire time but never had their name on a label. While they made wine, it was only for their personal use with the rest being sold to wine producers. Chester told stories of his family taking grapes by wagon all the way to San Francisco before there were motorized trucks. 2003 was our first vintage of Brandlin Cabernet and I’ll always remember handing Chester that first bottle with his family name on it. We were all a bit teary that day.
You can read Chester’s obituary here.