Monday, May 7, 2012

Interview With a Winemaker: Aaron Pott from Blackbird Vineyards and Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley Winery

While on a trip in Sausalito a few weeks ago, a friend of mine presented a Sauvignon Blanc wine from Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley Winery.  After living in Napa for about two years, I came to appreciate their Sauvignon Blanc style, and truly found this to be an amazing representation of that style.  I truly enjoyed the bright, citrus and tropical fruits that complement a characteristic Old World creaminess.  The smooth and elegant structure, with just a touch of flintiness, is so appealing that it’s difficult to resist a second (or third) glass. 

Ma(i)sonry Wine Labels
(Photo from Google Images)

Ma(i)sonry, located  in Yountville, California (Napa County) was built in the early 1900s by Charles Rovegno and local mason, Angelo Brovelli.  Charles was an Italian immigrant that settled in the future wine-producing region of California, which was, at the time, a large agricultural area.  Angelo is well known for his many bridge additions throughout Napa County.  Today, this old stone building in Yountville serves as a historical relic featuring many boutique wine labels and a valuable art collection.

Maisonry Napa Valley
Ma(i)sonry Winery in Yountville, CA
(Photo from Google Images)

The Ma(i)sonry wine is created as a premier, small production lot, artisan label by the Blackbird Vineyards production team.  These wines are crafted from select Napa Valley fruit to capture the finest terroir of the valley.  For a full collection of the wine labels at Ma(i)sonry, please visit

(Photo from

My friend that brought the wine kindly enough introduced me to the winemaker, Aaron Pott.  Below is an excerpt of our discussion regarding Aaron’s background and his thoughts on Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley Winery’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Aaron Pott, Winemaker

Denise’s Press Fractions (DPF): How did you decide to become a winemaker?
Aaron Pott (AP): [Taken straight from the Blackbird website, and a true story.]  Aaron Pott’s curiosity began at a young age of 9 when he ordered a glass of milk in a venerable Parisian bistro.  When the waiter responded – in halting perfect English – that “milk is for babies” and prompty produced a glass of watered down red, Pott realized that wine was a beverage of choice for adults and immersed himself in the world of wine trivia.

DPF: What was your inspiration or objective while making this Sauvignon Blanc?
AP: Great Sancerre.

For those unfamiliar with Sancerre, this is one of the Loire’s (France) premier Sauvignon Blanc regions.  Geographically speaking, Sancerre is relatively close in proximity to the more well-known region of Pouilly-Fume.  Many Sauvignon Blanc’s produced from Sancerre are often marketed as being “racy” (oo-la-la!) with a dynamic gooseberry flavor.  These wines from Sancerre became quite popular in the 1970s and 1980s, standing alone as an important wine style.

Map of France with Sancerre pointed out
(Map from Google Images)

Also a topic of great discussion: what are gooseberries?  Native to the European region, gooseberries are a fruit that is often used to supplement desserts or made into fresh jams.

(Photo from Google Images)

DPF: What do you like best about Ma(i)sonry’s Sauvignon Blanc?
AP: It’s funky mineral groove, bright acidity and lack of wood.  I am also making a Sauvignon Blanc fermented in barrels for Ma(i)sonry.

DPF: Where can people buy this Sauvignon Blanc, and what do you think, food-wise, that it goes well with?
AP: You can buy it [online] at  I think it goes with many things, my favorite being salumi or just sipping alone.  It is great with fish!

(Photo from Google Images)