OUR WINEMAKERS

6th Generation Winemaker, Steven K. Mirassou is a member of America’s oldest winemaking family. Six years before Abraham Lincoln was president, the Mirassou family was growing grapes and making wine in San Jose. After graduate school on the East Coast, Mirassou returned to California to start an eponymous brand, The Steven Kent Winery, with his father. They began their brand with one single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and one mission, to make a Cabernet that would equal in quality of those made anywhere in California. He chose the Livermore Valley as the place to achieve this goal.

7th Generation Winemaker, Aidan J. Mirassou was raised in San Jose, CA roaming the vineyards of the Livermore Valley with his father & 6th generation winemaker, Steven K. Mirassou. In early 2009, Aidan entered the hospitality side of the wine industry learning his way around the family business — from polishing glasses at the age of 16 years, to hosting wine tastings in The Cellar.  Today, Aidan leads the day-to-day operations of our wine production, standing next to his father as assistant winemaker, and a member of the seventh generation of the oldest winemaking family in North America. 

Production Assistant, Beth M. Refsnider started her career in the wine industry at the age of 21 and held various positions in tasting rooms, tasting room management, wine club, winery administration, and wine export in the Willamette Valley, Chicagoland area, and The Bay Area. Realizing her calling was in winemaking, Refsnider returned to school to study enology, with the goal of making world class wine in Livermore, California. Her favorite place in the world is in the barrel room, where she can often be found on top of the highest ladder, topping and tending to barrels, and her favorite activity is punching down the bins of actively fermenting wines during the harvest season.

Our Winemaker's Vision

The best wines are balanced wines that reveal the site, the variety, and the winemaking vision in a way that makes our wines inevitably Mia Nipote.

As a California-Italian wine house, we create wines that celebrate the lushness of California while maintaining a more acid-driven, tannic style that speaks of the Old World.  We spend a great deal of thought on the proper time to pick each block of vineyard with which we work. The pick date is one of the crucial points on the winemaking calendar as, once the decision is made, it cannot be undone.

Each block of fruit ripens at its own pace, and it is our job to harvest the fruit when it is at its most perfect. No matter if we ferment in stainless steel under heat or in an open-top plastic bin, the next crucial phase of winemaking involves the moment one separates the wine from the skins upon which it has been fermenting and macerating. The skins provide most of the flavor and structure to our wines so it is of no small importance that day we decide to press the wine off the skins and halt the acquisition of ever more structure.

Our wines are then aged in 100% French oak barrels. The percentage of new oak to once or second-used barrel is dependent upon how much organoleptic contribution we think the wines need from wood. Generally, we use only 50-60% new barrel, believing that the aromas and flavors of fruit are much more delicious than those derived from wood.

We use oak for its wonderful contribution to the precise structure of our wines are completely content to forego any nuance of oak flavor or aroma in the process.

Our blends are often elaborate, and they are made as early in the aging process as possible. We have found that the best, most complex and delicious blends are those that have ample time for each individual variety to marry harmoniously with its mates.

Consequently, about half-way through aging, individual barrels are chosen for their ability to add complexity and deliciousness to a final wine, racked into a blend tank then put back into oak for the second half of their elevage.

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