Get to know the family behind the Buselli 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
When Italo and Rosalia Buselli bought a tract of land on the east side of Napa Valley in 1990, they could hardly have imagined that their grapes would end up in some of the region’s most highly sought after, limited production wines. As their daughter, Maria Buselli Filous explained, “When our parents emigrated from Italy they brought their passion for farming with them. They fell in love with Napa, which reminded them so much of home. It was always their dream to own a small piece of property there and plant a vineyard. It was in 1990 when they planted the first vines and their dream became a reality.”
While the senior Busellis did not live to see wine produced bearing their family name on the label, they quickly made a name for themselves among their neighbors in Oakville for the high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown on their 10.8 acre property. Maria’s brother, Tony Buselli, told us, “Over the years grapes have gone to Cakebread Cellars, Miner Family Wines and Oakville East; we’re currently supplying Rivers Marie.” In 2013 the siblings made the first vintage of Buselli Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon. Their immediate neighbors are Dalla Valle, Rudd Estate, Tierra Roja and Miner Family; other renowned wineries in the small Oakville AVA include Cardinale, Promontory, Silver Oak and Opus One.
Maria and Tony have expanded upon their parents’ aspiration by producing limited quantity Cabernet Sauvignon and a red blend, first made in 2016, made with estate grown Cabernet and, in a nod to their heritage, a touch of Sangiovese. While Maria and Tony are equal partners in the business, she focuses on sales and finance while Tony’s domain is the vineyard and winemaking, which he does alongside winemaker Timothy Milos. In his 20-plus-year career, Milos has received scores of 90 points or higher from major scoring publications for more than 120 of his wines, including several 100 point scores for his mountainside Cabernet Sauvignons.
Made at the conclusion of a near-perfect growing season, Buselli 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, as described by Tony, “ . . . is a small production, single vineyard, hand crafted Cabernet Sauvignon that does a great job of expressing the eastern hillside of the Oakville AVA, a classic hillside Oakville Cab.” The siblings do not have a tasting room on site, just four and a half acres of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of other varieties. Their wine is hard to find, as they have no outside distribution, but as Maria told us, a handful of bottles are available at “specialty wine retailers and restaurants in the bay area.”
Asked how she expected consumers to discover Buselli wines considering their scarcity, Maria smiled and said, “Word of mouth, one glass at a time.”