Mike Morisoli

Explore Morisoli-Borges

Castello di Amorosa

August 11th, 2023

Explore Morisoli-Borges Vineyard in Napa Valley’s Rutherford Bench

Nestled at the heart of Napa Valley’s renowned “Rutherford Bench,” the Morisoli Family vineyard stands as a living testament to four generations of unwavering dedication to crafting exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. Originating in the early 1900s, the Morisoli legacy took root in the western expanse of Rutherford, where their grape cultivation journey began. Today, under the sustainable stewardship of the fourth generation, this vineyard seamlessly blends “old” and “young” Cabernet Sauvignon blocks, each nurtured with meticulous care. The resulting wine eloquently captures the celebrated “dust” character intrinsic to Rutherford, enfolding the palate with its tender, velvety tannins.

Since 1900

The Morisoli Family’s grape-growing journey, dating back to 1900, continues into the present with Mike Morisoli. In 1971, Mike Morisoli’s parents purchased this very vineyard, located on the west side of Highway 29, and just south of Niebaum Lane, continuing the family’s tradition of winemaking excellence. The vineyard transitioned primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon in the late 1980s, with a subsequent smaller redevelopment in 2006.

The Legendary Rutherford Dust

Positioned deep within the Napa Valley, the Rutherford Bench emerges as a distinctive American Viticultural Area. Its heart lies in the small town of Rutherford, California, renowned for its picturesque views and quiet small town charm. Its well-drained soil, a blend of gravel, loam, and sand enriched by volcanic deposits and marine sediments, is a canvas for viticultural artistry. In a modest expanse spanning 6,650 acres, this appellation weaves its magic.

The Rutherford region offers a complexity mirroring Napa Valley’s own intricate tapestry. A sanctuary for late-ripening grapes, nestled in the valley’s core. This deliberate pace imparts finesse and intricate layers to the wines. Amplified by deeper soils and diverse microclimates, it stretches growing seasons and nurturing “hang time,” resulting in tannins with a velvety, ethereal character. The wines from these soils embody a delicate dance of “fine dusty tannins,” accompanied by hints of plush cocoa powder. The Rutherford AVA encapsulates more than geography; an unfolding experience in every sip.

Mike Morisoli and The Next Generation of The Morisoli Family

“Rutherford dust” is a term for the fine, dusty tannins found in wines from Rutherford AVA, Napa Valley. These tannins enhance texture, mouthfeel, and aging potential, attributed to the region’s soil, climate, and grape conditions giving them a recognizable quality. The concept gained prominence as winemakers and wine enthusiasts began to notice a consistent thread of these fine tannins in wines produced in the region.

The Rutherford Dust Society, founded in 1994, promotes Rutherford’s unique wines. It highlights the “Rutherford dust” concept and fosters a community of local winemakers, organizing events, tastings, and educational programs. This society preserves winemaking heritage and contributes to the reputation as a premier wine-producing area within Napa Valley. The primary goal of the society is to raise awareness about the distinct attributes of Rutherford wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, and to foster a sense of community among the wine producers in the area.

Mike Morisoli with Winemaker Brooks Painter & Castello President Georg Salzner

Limited Production

At Castello di Amorosa we strive to create the highest quality Cabernet possible, we are only able to do this with the finest Grapes available. Mike Morisoli’s Rutherford vineyard fits that profile, with a long history of producing great Cabernet grapes. This single-vineyard site is a beautiful expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. As a proud representation of Rutherford’s unique terroir, this limited-edition 2017 Morisoli-Borges Cabernet, with its luscious notes of blueberries, blackberry jam, cassis, and graphite, stands as a true expression of Napa Valley’s winemaking prowess and is destined to age gracefully for more than two decades. The wine expresses the Rutherford appellation’s famous “dust” character, with its unique soft, silky tannins. Expected to easily age 20+ years.

Past Awards & Accolades

Explore our past awards and accolades for our Morisoli-Borges Cabernet Sauvignon.

95+ Points – Jeb Dunnuck

“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges from the Rutherford region of the valley is a beautiful 2018 that does everything right. Lots of spiced currants, mulled plums, cedarwood, loamy earth, and dried tobacco give way to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, spicy, complex wine that needs 3-4 years of bottle age.”

95 Points – Antonio Galloni

“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard offers a striking expression of Rutherford. Beautifully layered and ample, the Morisoli-Borges is a stunner right out of the gate. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, cloves, espresso and lavender all build in a resonant, super-expressive Cabernet that delivers the goods, and then some.”

93 Points – James Suckling

“Black and blue berries, mushrooms, earthy notes and chocolate as well. It is full-bodied with firm tannins and an ample, flavorful and long finish. I liked the slightly herbal undertone at the end. Try after 2023.”

97 Points – Jeb Dunnuck

“Sourced all from the famed “Rutherford-Bench” section of the valley and all Cabernet, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard sports a saturated purple hue as well as loads of spice, crushed violets, leafy herbs, chocolate, and cedar all supported by beautiful blueberry and wild strawberry fruits. Plush and sexy on the palate, with full-bodied richness and more opulence and decadence than most in the vintage, it hits all the right spots and is a beautifully balanced, sexy 2017 to enjoy over the coming 20-25 years or more.”

93 Points – James Suckling

“Attractive aromas of fresh fruit with a ripe array of redcurrants and raspberries, as well as blackcurrant and violet notes. The palate has a sleek, juicy and fleshy feel with plenty of ripe, rich fruit and a smooth-honed, long and plush texture. Drink or hold.”

96 Points – Jeb Dunnuck

“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard is cut from the same cloth with its flowery blue and black fruits, complex tobacco, cedary spice, and herbal notes, medium to full body, and sweet, yet certainly present tannins. It shines for its sheer purity of fruit and balance and is another pure class release from this team. It will keep for 3 decades. Drink 2019 – 2049.”

94+ Points – Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate

“Made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep purple-black colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges gives up scents of warm blackberries, crushed red and black cherries and black currants with hints of cigar box, tilled soil and mossy bark. Full-bodied with a solid, muscular mid-palate of pure black and red fruits, it has a firm line of grainy tannins and an invigorating lift on the long finish. Drink 2019 – 2035.”

93 Points – James Suckling

“A rich and layered red with currant and blackberry character. Full body, round and caressing tannins and a flavorful finish. Pure Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink or hold.”

93 Points – Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate

“The deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Borges is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and offers spicy aromas of cedar chest, blackberries and blueberry compote with notes of licorice and fragrant earth. Full-bodied and concentrated in the rich, spicy mouth, it has firm, chewy tannins and finishes long and a bit oaky.”

92 Points – James Suckling

“Intense aromas of blackberries, tar, blueberries and mint, following through to a full body. Round and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Fruit-forward but still fresh. Drink or hold.”

♦ 98 Points – Jeb Dunnuck

“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard comes from a site located in Rutherford, on the valley floor. It too is inky colored and offers a sensational bouquet of crème de cassis, blueberries, graphite/lead pencil shavings, tons of crushed rocks and hints of violets. Layered, gorgeously pure, concentrated and always elegant and silky, with no sense of heaviness, enjoy this blockbuster anytime over the coming 3-4 decades. (Expected Maturity: 2018–2058)”

♦ 96 Points – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

“Coming from the valley floor, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard hails from the tenderloin of the so-called bench area. It shows gorgeous fruit, loads of blueberry, blackberry and cassis notes, licorice and incense followed by an opulent, voluptuously textured, super-sexy style with oodles of glycerin, fruit and extract. This is a stunner and irresistible already. Moreover, it should age nicely for another 15 or more years.

♦ 91 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard is one of the more powerful wines in the range. It also comes across as a bit compact at this stage and in need of further cellaring, although it is likely to always remain a bit on the linear side of things.”

♦ 94 Points – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

“The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard, which comes from the Rutherford sector of Napa, shows beautiful blueberry and blackberry fruit, camphor and incense, a full-bodied, nicely textured mouthfeel, sweet velvety tannins and a long finish. This is a beauty, and a wine that can be drunk now or cellared for another 20 years.”

♦ 92 Points – Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

“Compost aromas open this vineyard-designated wine, a full-bodied, densely concentrated exploration of juicy black licorice, coconut, and dust. Soft and lengthy, it develops slowly in the glass, providing a vibrant showcase for the site.”

​♦ 91 Points – James Suckling

“Lots of ripe and unctuous fruit showing a light raisin and spice character. Full body, soft tannins and a juicy finish. This is ripe and smooth. Drink or hold.”

♦ 93 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

“A big, explosive wine, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Borges hits the palate with a rush of dark red and blue fruits, smoke, incense, violets, lavender, orange peel and spices. The firm tannins are going to need time to settle down, so readers should not be in a rush. This is without question the most complex and pedigreed of Castello di Amorosa’s Cabernet Sauvignons. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027.”

♦ 93-95 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (Barrel Sample)

“The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard is flat-out stunning. Rich, opulent and full-bodied, yet backed up by an imposing sense of structure, the 2012 possesses gorgeous depth and pure power. Mocha, plums, licorice, tobacco, graphite and ash all jump from the glass in an opulent, broad-shouldered wine loaded with class and pedigree. This hugely promising Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the best wines I have tasted from Castello di Amorosa.”

♦ 90-92 Points – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (Barrel Sample)

“A barrel sample of the dense ruby/purple-tinged, full-bodied 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Borges revealed lots of character as well as copious notes of blueberries, blackcurrants, black cherries, licorice, underbrush and spice. It should turn out to be an outstanding effort to enjoy during its first 10-15 years of life.”

♦ 92 Points – James Suckling

“A soft and silky red with plum, currants, and spice. Fully body and firm tannins that buttress the fruit. Delicious and fruity. Drink now.”

​♦ 91 Points – Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

“From decades’ old vines in the heart of the appellation, this wine conveys dusty milk chocolate and baked plum. It’s 100% varietal, aged almost two years in 60-gallon French oak barrels. Softly layered, and full bodied, it’s approachable now, linear in its acidity.”

♦ 91 Points – Wine & Spirits Magazine

“From a vineyard on the western benchlands of Rutherford, this is a voluminous Napa Valley cabernet with bright fruit ripeness that feels refreshing. What richness it delivers is clean and toned, focused by hints of lemon verbena and cherry skin. This should age with grace.”

♦ 90 Points – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

“The estate’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges is a soft, supple wine that will drink beautifully over the next few years. Sweet black cherries, plums, herbs and licorice are some of the notes that take shape in this soft, caressing Cabernet Sauvignon. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.”

♦ 90 Points – Antonio Galloni

“The estate’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges is a soft, supple wine that will drink beautifully over the next few years. Sweet black cherries, plums, herbs and licorice are some of the notes that take shape in this soft, caressing Cabernet Sauvignon. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.”