Alma de Cattleya wines are created from the soul.
Winemaker Bibiana González Rave has an impressive background. She grew up in Medellín, known more for the city’s drug cartel reputation in the 80’s than inspiration for a young enology guru. As young as 14, she knew she wanted to be a winemaker. After studying chemical engineering in Colombia, she made her way to France, living there for six years studying viticulture and enology. If that wasn’t enough, she worked in Côte-Rôtie and Alsace while obtaining her Bachelors of Enology from the University of Bordeaux (graduating with honors!). Her newest project, Alma de Cattleya, is “a great taste of the freshness of Sonoma without the sticker shock” per Wine Enthusiast.
“Growing up in Colombia shaped who I am. My training in France defined the winemaker I became and California gives me the land and the opportunity to make exceptional wines.” ~Bibiana González Rave
In 2012, she created her label, Cattleya, as an homage to her home country. Naming it after the national flower of Colombia, the cattleya orchid, Alma de Cattleya represents the soul of the land that gives life to her wines as well as her own soul she puts into each drop of wine she creates.
Experience combined with soul makes for dreamy wines.
Bibiana’s travels, experience, studies, background, as well as being a Consulting Winemaker for others, is present in her wines. I was able to sample her 2017 Chardonnay, 2017 Pinot Noir, and the 2016 Cabernet Saugivnon thanks to Robert of The Larsen Projekt. Alma de Cattleya is a relatively small production of ~5,000 cases, currently focusing on “Sonoma County, Napa Valley and the overall Wine of California appellation, each glass embodies the soul of the vineyards, orchards, and farms that make up this bucolic California landscape.”
Alma is the Spanish word for soul, and the flower on the Alma de Cattleya label is an orchid endemic to Colombia, a tribute to her home country, her family, and the experiences from her upbringing.
- 14.1% ABV
- Partial Malolactic Fermentation
- Beautiful yellow cattleya label
- DIAM cork used to ensure there is no cork taint
- 600 cases made (hurry and get a bottle or 12!)
Alma de Cattleya 2017 Pinot Noir ($28) Quality Pinot for under $30? Yes indeed. Fruit was fermented in stainless steel, in open-top tanks using hand-punchdowns. Aged for 16 months in French Oak. Combination of native and selected yeasts used for these Pinot Noir grapes from the Sonoma Coast, picked from sites close to the Pacific Ocean. First sip, I found it to be musty, full of forest floor and unwashed mushrooms (in such a wonderful, unique way!). I had a glass, corked it, and opened it again the next day. Just allowing it to breathe a little brought out so much of the fruit. Tannins are present but pleasantly subtle, red fruit came forward with just the right amount of acidity, all enveloped in a savory balance.
- 14.1% ABV
- Unfined & Unfiltered
- 100% Malolactic Fermentation
- DIAM cork used to prevent cork taint
- Only 1,600 cases made
Alma de Cattleya 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon ($48) This Cabernet reminded me of some of the full-bodied, luscious Garnatxa (Garnacha) I tried in the Priorat region of Catalonia. Deep, rich, saturating texture, and higher ABV, all with finesse. Velvety tannins, lingering finish, abundant fruit giving off a subtle impression of sweetness (but, not sweet!). I’ve always liked Cabernet, but for a long time it’s become the varietal I’d choose last if I had my pick. Mainly because of some of the big California Cabs full of bell pepper and just sort lackluster, but Bibiana’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon has me singing its praises again! This was such a beautiful bottle! At $48 it’s not budget-friendly for most, but if you feel like splurging for a special occasion, you won’t be disappointed.
- 14.9% ABV
- Fruit sourced from Napa Valley AVA
- Fermented in Stainless Steel
- Combination of native and other selected yeasts used
- 100% Malolactic Fermentation
- 330 Cases Made (I urge you to buy one!)
Thanks again to Robert of The Larsen Projekt and winemaker Bibiana González Rave for the opportunity to sample these exquisite wines. If you happen to find Alma de Cattleya wines near you, they’d like to see “your wine pairings, your recipes and your farmers market finds. Share on social media with the hashtag #AdCWINES and help us build a community around our California bounty and our love of life.”