Bibiana González Rave and husband Jeff Pisoni are the embodiment of keeping it all in the family. Jeff is a 4th generation farmer in the Salinas Valley. His family grew vegetables, but it was his father Gary, who first planted grapevines in 1982. Gary planted 5 acres that he hand-irrigated. Literally. He drove water up the mountain in his truck for the vines. Jeff now tends to vines in both the Santa Lucia Highlands and Monterey.
Bibiana grew up in Medellin, Columbia and at 14 decided she wanted to make wine. She lived six years in France (Bordeaux and Burgundy) where she worked her first harvests and earned a degree in Enology from the University of Bordeaux. She considers herself a French-trained winemaker with more of a vineyard focus. Jeff handles all of the estate fruit and Bibiana buys all the sourced fruit. All in the family. They have two children, ages two and four and between the two of them, they manage/oversee six different labels/brands.
République hosted us at a press luncheon in March where we tried wines from each of their brands. Below is a brief descriptor of each brand, including my standout wine.
Why am I sharing this story and this family with you? Because I believe there is a level of integrity and authenticity that comes from wine crafted by a family. Crafted by real people with real skin in the game. Bibiana and Jeff have a portfolio of California wines that you should feel good about purchasing. You are supporting a real family, real people, and real dreams.
Started in 2011, Cattleya Wines are terroir driven, small production wines. Cattleya is a type of orchid, the native flower of Columbia, found in the rainforest.
2014 Cattleya Cuvée Number Five Russian River Chardonnay $50 (current vintage 2017)
I find this wine super-duper pleasing. Very primary plus creamy malo notes and an elegant minerality. Ripe, juicy, and yummy.
Alma means soul in Spanish. These wines are produced from Napa and Sonoma Vineyards and represent the purity of each varietal from their specific appellation areas. Wine Enthusiast calls Alma de Cattleya Wines “a great taste of the freshness of Sonoma without the sticker shock”.
2018 Alma de Cattleya Sauvignon Blanc $20
A Sauvignon Blanc that is the perfect balance of CA style and NZ style. I get everything from citrus fruit to tropical fruit plus some grassy/green notes. This wine is made from Mostly Russian River fruit. 1000 case total production.
This is the collaboration between Bibiana and Jeff. In their 6th vintage, these wines are inspired by the traditional Sauvignon Blanc wines from France.
2017 Shared Notes Les Leçons des Maîtres $65 (current vintage 2018)
A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon inspired by Bordeaux. Whole cluster fruit and a wine made in a reductive style showcasing both rocks (minerality) and fruit. Served in magnum. This wine is unfined and unfiltered.
Was first planted by Gary Pisoni (Jeff’s dad) in 1982. Pisoni Vineyards consist of small vineyard blocks at 1300 ft altitude with wines made by Jeff. Pisoni makes only one Chardonnay and one Pinot Noir every year.
2017 Pisoni Estate Pinot Noir (allocation only)
Really polished. Not much else to say except that this is a stellar wine.
A collection of wines from the three vineyards farmed by the Pisoni family. These are limited production wines that afford the Pisoni family complete control of the farming and winemaking process, ensuring consistently superior quality.
2017 Lucia Chardonnay (Santa Lucia Highlands)
Fruit from the Soberanes, Gary’s, and Pisoni Vineyards. This wine is barrel aged and was the creamiest Chardonnay of the bunch, but in a GOOD way.
The charismatic younger sister of Lucia Wines. A limited production rosé produced annually with $1/bottle donated to breast cancer research.
2018 Lucy Rosé of Pinot Noir (allocation only)
100% estate fruit. A stellar rosé.
And I’d be remiss if I did not mention Margarita’s baguette and Normandy butter that was served to us at République. Normandy butter is most certainly liquid gold. The best butter I have ever tasted.