Buccella; an under-the-radar ‘cult’ Cabernet (Employee Pick)

Bret’s Pick


Buccella is one of the most under the radar ‘cult’ Cabernets in Napa Valley. It is made by the talented Rebekah Wineburg with consulting winemaker Celia Welch (Scarecrow, Corra, Keever, Dr.Stephens, etc). Rebekah brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Buccella. After graduating from UC Davis, she spent time in Tuscany working as harvest enologist for the famous Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. After Tuscany, she spent harvest in Australia and New Zealand to add more perspective to her winemaking background. After returning to Napa she worked for Staglin and then headed winemaking operations for Rudd, working closely with the legendary consulting winemaker Michel Rolland.

Buccella which is Latin (not Italian), means mouthful, and these wine surely are. Using premium vineyard sources throughout Napa Valley, along with the assistance of superstar consulting winemaker Celia Welch, has allowed Buccella to quietly reach the level of ‘cult’ status. Buccella always produces excellent wines, but it is the reserve, uber rare ‘Katrina Eileen’ that absolutely floors me every year. It is arguably one of my favorite wines in its price point and it never disappoints. The ‘Katrina Eileen’ is usually so exclusive that it does not get submitted for ratings and almost impossible to find outside the mailing list. It is a tiny production 100% Cabernet that showcases the best that the varietal can be. I will leave you with a quote form Rebekah that I feel is the true essence of wine and the reason why I love wine so much; through winemaking, “you get to be part of something so much more, as wines have a life and a spirit of their own.” You owe it to yourself to experience these living gems, that will lift your spirit and connect you to the beauty of wine.

Cuvée Katrina Eileen is primarily composed of fruit from a vineyard in the Western Hills of Yountville, where yields are miniscule. The extremely rocky soil of the vineyard produces concentrated clusters of perfectly ripened Cabernet Sauvignon. In German, the name “Katrina” represents purity and fittingly, this wine is made entirely from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, providing a pure expression of this decadent varietal. It also reflects our daughter’s personality with flavors that are complex, unreserved and expressive.

2011 Buccella ‘Cuvee Katrina Eileen’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – $265/b

Monstrous wine, full of spices, black licorice, blackberry pie, very ripe cassis, blueberries, and a palate that puts silk to shame. Always a full body wine, but its the texture that truly makes this wine magical every vintage. ’11 was a difficult vintage for ripening, but this Katrina does not disappoint one bit. The finish is dry, soft, and lingers for well over a minute. One of the best Katrina’s I have tasted, and certainly one of the best ’11 Cabernets I have had, by far. BB

Fresh blackberries along with notes of pastry crust are immediately evident in the glass. The 2011 Cuvée Katrina Eileen is a perfumed, voluptuous fruit focused wine with a rich mouth feel and a long smooth finish with reminders of the sweet fruit found on the nose. Aged 22 months in 100% new French oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 158 cases produced. 

2011 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – $149/b 

I have had this wine 2 times now, and man it is really starting to come around. Big fruit, black cherries, cassis and plums, are followed by spices and earth tones. Still on the young side I can really see where this wine is going. The finish is dry almost dusty style tannins. Coming from the very difficult ’11 vintage, this wine has great structure but I will need about a year to balance it self out, and might not be a big as warmer vintages, but surely a pleasure that will reward you with a little patience. BB

The 2011 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful interplay between the lively acidity that is the hallmark of the vintage and the density and lushness that Buccella wines represent. Aromas of black cherry, cassis, and black plum mingle with notes of molasses, cocoa, and baking spices. The palate showcases a velvet texture, coffee and dark chocolate flavors, and a rich finish of black fruit. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec.


Bret Barrett is a Senior Wine Advisor with the Wine Spectrum in Northern California.  Bret joined the Wine Spectrum with over 15 years of experience in the food, wine, and customer service industry with more than 10 of those years focused primarily on wine and wine service.  He has been a Manager and Sommelier for a AAA Four Diamond French Restaurant in Virginia, creating and managing a Wine Spectator’s Award Excellence wine list.  Continuing to fuel his passion for wine, he moved to California, where he managed a wine retail shop and tasting bar in Lake Tahoe, CA.  With a desire to excel in wine, he successfully completed the second level examination from the Court of Master Sommeliers, achieving the title of Certified Sommelier.  Bret currently lives in Kenwood CA with a wonderful family, two young children and two dogs.

“Wine is my love, and the greatest thing about living in beautiful wine country, is sharing my love for wine and everything wine country has to offer, with you.  I hope you enjoy my thoughts and please feel free to reach out and contact me if you would like to learn more about our wines or myself.  I look forward to hearing from you.” – Bret Barrett

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *