Altamura Vineyards And Winery

Frank Altamura's lifelong pursuit as a winemaker is fueled by his passion for viticulture. Born and raised in Napa Valley, Frank began working with his cousin, a vineyard manager, right out of high school and knew that this would be his life's calling. Formal viticultural training began at Sterling Vineyards in 1976 where he began to explore what winemakers were looking for from the vineyard. This concept was further developed from the winemaker's perspective at Caymus with mentor Charlie Wagner.

"Growing up in Napa Valley and surrounded by farming, my most influential experience came from working at Caymus for five years where we developed many grape varieties from Burger to Zinfandel, refining the concepts of soil and climatic influences and growing for quality rather than quantity," reminisces Frank. "As we worked to get the most from each vineyard site, I learned that it was important not to have pre-conceived ideas about what to expect from a vineyard, rather to discover the flavors that the vineyard offered. My job now as a winemaker is to successfully get those flavors into the bottle which, incidentally, is only about 10% of the whole process; the other 90% happens in the vineyard." Over twenty years later, richly textured Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese are lauded for their intensity and silky integration of the elements unique to each the vineyard sites on the expansive Valley Oak lined ranch in Wooden Valley.

Frank and Karen Altamura established Altamura Vineyards and Winery in 1985. Many of the early vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from a vineyard located on a sprawling 400 acre Altamura Ranch in historic Wooden Valley that had been settled by members of Karen Altamura's family in 1855. Frank sensed the long-term potential for this growing region and began extensive site selection research within the Napa Valley to ensure optimal vineyard development on the Altamura Ranch. They began their adventure, taming what had once been a cattle ranch by clearing 65 acres and planting to Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese on six different sites. Caves were dug and meticulous construction was begun on the stone winery. Lured by the natural beauty and rural atmosphere, the Altamura Family found their home in Wooden Valley.

Altamura Vineyards and Winery, established in 1985 by Frank and Karen Altamura, is the only winery in Wooden Valley located within the Napa Valley appellation. Napa natives Frank and Karen have a decidedly hands-on approach to every step of the growing and winemaking process. Thus, a natural production limit is established at the Altamura Ranch and the wines reflect the Altamura's deep commitment to reflecting the terroir of Wooden Valley.

The 400 acre Altamura Ranch in Wooden Valley is host to 65 acres of hillside and valley floor vineyards at elevations of 700 to 1,000 feet. The approximately 12 different soil types and microclimates carry distinguished traits found in other areas of the Napa Valley and required a rigorous site selection process prior to planting. Using the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Survey of Napa County as a guide, Frank identified soil types on his ranch that were similar to the Rutherford Bench and the mountainous regions of Howell Mountain, Pritchard Hill and Mount Veeder. As a result, several different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon on a number of different rootstocks were utilized for the initial planting and replanting of existing vineyards in 1986. The 5 acre Sangiovese vineyard was also planted in 1986 on a western facing hillside in nutrient-poor soils perfect for the vigorous varietal. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc and Nebbiolo are grown on the Ranch.

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Altamura Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
93  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 93 “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon rocks up with gregarious black cherries, blackcurrants and warm plums with hints of menthol, chocolate box and fragrant earth. Big, rich and full-bodied, with loads of minted black berry and earthy layers, it has a firm,
Item Number: 31465

Altamura Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
94  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 94“Ultrarich and extracted, offering a powerful array of blackberry, licorice, gravelly earth, cedar and tobacco leaf notes. Never eases up on torque and authoritative presence. Best from 2021 through 2035. 3,500 cases made.” ~J.L.

Altamura Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
94  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 94"A powerful youngster, teaming with rich, layered dark berry, licorice, black walnut, savory herb and cedary oak flavors. Sails along on the finish, courted by chewy, extracted tannins that add to the traction and definition. Drink now through 2032. 3,800 cases made." ~J.L.

Altamura Napa Sangiovese 2005
91  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 91 "There are 1,200 cases of the dark ruby-colored 2005 Sangiovese. Aged in neutral old wood, it tastes like a strawberry jam cocktail with lots of new saddle leather, spice, and underbrush notes. Medium- bodied and richly fruity with loads of character, it is a remarkable effort

Altamura Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
95  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 95 Top 100: 2015, Rank: 57 "Amazingly pure, rich and complex, with tiers of dark berry, blackberry, wild berry, blueberry and boysenberry layered on top of black licorice and dusty, gravelly earth details, all well-centered. The finish sails on, with a mocha brownie aftertaste.

Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
94  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 94 "Combines very ripe, spicy dark berry fruit that's even a touch racy, with a firm backbone and a well-structured mix of acidity and tannins. The fruit is potent and concentrated, yet also shows a suppleness and measure of grace. Should only get better. Drink now through 2024.

Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
94  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 94 "Offers a racy aroma, but tames quickly, with a dill-tinged edge to the tiers of dark berry, mocha, raspberry and subtle earth, gaining depth and maintaining persistence on the finish. Best from 2014 through 2027. 3,500 cases made."  Wine Advocate 92 "The 2010 Cabernet

Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
94  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 94WS TOP 100 2012 Rank 92"Combines very ripe, spicy dark berry fruit that's even a touch racy, with a firm backbone and a well-structured mix of acidity and tannins. The fruit is potent and concentrated, yet also shows a suppleness and measure of grace. Should only get better."

Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
94  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 94 "Combines very ripe, spicy dark berry fruit thats even a touch racy, with a firm backbone and a well-structured mix of acidity and tannins. The fruit is potent and concentrated, yet also shows a suppleness and measure of grace. Should only get better. Drink now through 2024."

Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
93  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 93"A ripe, juicy mix of black cherry, wild berry, plum and currant, this firms up midpalate and holds its focus, revealing greater depth and complexity and ending with a nice tight, tannic backbone. Drink now through 2016. 4,100 cases made."