A truely unique Napa wine, this represents some of the only (possibly the only) Black Muscat vines grown in the USA. Grown in their 2000' elevation, estate vineyard, the resulting wine is delicious, rich, perfectly sweet, and beautifully balanced with acid. While there are many dessert wines, there are none as distinctive as this one.
Each bottle of Ca’Togni is wrapped in magenta tissue paper with the following story:
The year was 1768, and George III sat firmly on the throne of England, unperturbed by events still eight years hence in the far-off Colonies. He commissioned Capability Brown, the famous landscapist, to proceed with the planting of some new grape vines beside his palace of Hampton Court, on the Thames, just upstream from London. Capability Brown lived up to his name so well that one of these vines survives to this day, the world’s oldest and largest living grapevine…The variety… Black Hamburgh.
By the end of the 17th century, plantings of this variety, now under the synonym Red Muscatel, appeared in South Africa at the little farm of Constantia, just south of Cape Town. They were destined to put this place name on the world’s wine map for all time, for the sweet red wine Constantia would dominate dessert wine consumption in the courts of Europe for the next two hundred years. Michael Broadbent, in his 1977 “Great Vintage Wine Book,” describes one of the last sweet Constantias, that of 1922, as “...curious spicy nose, traces of Muscat…twist of lemon aciity…interesting.” This was after more then fifty years in the bottle.
A quarter-acre planting of this variety, believed to be the only one in Napa Valley, lies at the eastern end of the Philip Togni Vineyard, high above St. Helena. Its wine has been given the proprietary name of the ancient family halmlet in Italian Switzerland, Ca’Togni. Enough grapes are grown most years to fill one small barrel with this sweet red wine. Black Hamburgh is planted over a considerable acreage in northern Insia where it is called “Gulab,” the Sanskrit word for “rose.” Certainly, this wine smells more of roses than of muscat, which inspired the artist to decorate the Ca’Togni label with a wild rose from our woods on Spring Mountain. Yet as a muscat-type grape, Black Hamburgh’s origin lies in the Middle East. Following Mohammed’s edict against the consumption of alcohol, Arab hybridists worked in the development of grapes with interesting—muscat—flavors for eating. It is ironic that one result of all this serious work should be a wine, and that wine should have the charm and ready appeal of this Ca’Togni.
The Ca’Togni is bottled each year in June in half bottles (375ml.) only. The sugar level is very high; acid, alcohol and tannins are low. It is pleasant to drink young either in place of Port in the winter, or chilled as a summer aperitif.