Behind the bOttle
Czech for excellent
“He wisely chose the Oak Glade. But if he wanted, he could plant vines on a cobblestone street.”
Alex is a quiet, but accomplished, old farmer. He's been in Napa Valley since 1974, a product of UC Davis' acclaimed school of agriculture. He's a humble man, but grape growers 'round these parts will tell you about his pedigree. Alex has managed legendary vineyards for Far Niente, Joseph Phelps and many, many others. His name is so synonymous with quality, that "Vyborny" is the actual Czech word for "excellent." Seriously, look it up.
You should see this vineyard. It's absurd.
Picture a half-acre of dried-up river bed, scattered with randomly-planted, barely-tamed grape vines. We're not exactly sure what all is in there, but it's always fun to guess. There's some Zin, some Petite Sirah, some old Carignane and probably Malvasia Nera. The rest, we're unable to identify.
Though it may look like a messy rock jumble, in actuality, this Oakville vineyard is a museum of pre-prohibition cuttings, masterfully curated by one Alex Vyborny.
So what's Mixed Blacks? It's exactly what it sounds like. A mixture of different red grape varieties. Though a bizarre rarity these days, vineyards like Alex's were once quite common. To make sure all their eggs weren't in one basket, old farmers would plant a spectrum of varieties, hedging their crops against Mother Nature's whims. Those days are long gone, but for whatever reason, Alex's has one.
Now normally when making a red blend, you'll pick and crush all the varieties separately and have your brilliant winemaker combine them when the time's right. With our Mixed Blacks, we make a "field blend." When Alex says "go," we pick, crush and ferment everything together, all at once.
Seems easy, right? Wrong. Since different grapes ripen at different times, pinpointing the exact moment all parties will seamlessly intermix is nothing short of sorcery. And we don't throw that accusation around loosely.