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Early on, it was all about the vineyards. Making wine didn’t happen until 1986, when David Abreu tried his hand with a few barrels of Cabernet from Madrona Ranch. He never released the wine. He’d always heard the first release can make or break you, and the ’86 just wasn’t good enough. So ’87 was the first Abreu wine David sold. “I’d leave bottles at restaurants around the valley and tell them to drink it with their staff. ‘If you like it, call me.’”
That’s how it all began. A close observer, David had the opportunity to learn from some of the best. Winemakers who understood, as he did, that it was all about the vineyards, the soils, the fruit. As for the winemaking, he got a lot of advice, listened to it all, and then carved his own path. He made wine the way he thought it should be made. Some people shook their heads. Wondered why he went to such lengths. But it’s the same approach he takes in the vineyards. He just does what he feels, in his gut, is right. He’s done it that way for 30 years now.
Thorevilos was one of David’s favorite haunts as a child. There were no vines then. Just pine trees, redwoods, an old olive grove. And a rusted hog wire hanging from a tree—“Hook Man” in Abreu family lore. These days it’s the dirt that engrosses him. White tufa that turns to fine powder when you grind it beneath your foot. Tannish soil peppered with orange-brown pebbles. Streaks of dry, red earth. Sitting 800 feet above the valley floor, wedged between the St. Helena and Howell Mountain AVAs, Thorevilos doesn’t belong to any sub-appellation. “It’s an outlier,” David says. When the AVA boundaries were being determined, he could have argued to have it included. “But it wouldn’t have made any difference to the vineyard. Or the wine.”
“One of the finest Napa Valley wines to pass my lips, the 2018 Thorevilos offers an incredible level of purity, concentration, and balance. Revealing plenty of creme de cassis, white flowers, spicy oak, and tobacco-like aromas and flavors, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a multi-dimensional texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a great, great finish. Coming from a site just outside St. Helena and mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (with a good chunk of Cabernet Franc), this is pure perfection in red wine. Although it can be drunk today, it really needs to be forgotten for 4-5 years, but it’s going to cruise for 30, 40, if not 50 years.” (12/2021)
-Jeb Dunnuck, 100 Points
“Yes, the score is a bit of a cop-out, but as I had a slight preference for the 100-point Madrona Ranch, I just couldn’t justify the same score for the 2018 Thorevilos Proprietary Red, however wonderful this wine might be. It splits the difference between 2016 and 2017 in terms of its fruit expression, with dark cherries and cassis joined by gentle floral-herbal nuances on the nose. It’s full-bodied in the mouth, concentrated and pure, with a lengthy, refreshing finish that adds brighter raspberry notes and hints of fine leather. Just gorgeous.” (9/2022)
-Wine Advocate, 99 Points
“The 2018 Thorevilos is incredibly elegant and nuanced. Graphite, crushed rocks, lavender, menthol, spice, dark cherry and bittersweet chocolate are all seamless in the glass. Over the last few years, the Thorevilos has really gained in finesse, as all these wines have. The 2018 is simply magnificent. This is the last vintage from the original Thorevilos vineyard, a site David Abreu and Ric Forman planted and farmed for thirty years.” (1/2022)
-Vinous, 98 Points
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