Bonacorssi Wine Company
Michael Bonaccorsi was a talented sommelier who distinguished himself at Masa’s Restaurant in San
Francisco and later for almost ten years at the original Spago Restaurant in Los Angeles. His passion
for wine led him to become the twentieth Master Sommelier in the United States. He had a knack for
matching wine and food and making diners comfortable through his unpretentious approach to wine.
He met Jenne Lee, a native of Seoul, Korea, while she was working at Spago and the two married.
Fittingly, they were married in Burgundy. In 1999, they formed the Bonaccorsi Wine Company,
sourcing grapes from premium vineyards in Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. From
their first vintage, the wines were well received by the wine press and sommelier community .
Tragically, Michael passed away suddenly from a heart attack in 2004 at the age of 43. Undaunted,
Jenne Lee has kept the Bonacorssi label going, making the wines with the assistance of winemaker
Sashi Moorman (Stolpman). The winery is located in the Lompoc “Wine Ghetto.” In addition, as a
lasting memorial to Michael, Jenne Lee has started the Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship Fund for
viticulture students at University of California Davis. An annual fundraiser is held in West Los Angeles
each year (www.bonaccorsifoundation.com).
I had the pleasure of sampling four recent releases from Bonacorssi Wine Company. In addition to the
two 2004 wines tasted, there were a Cargasacchi Vineyard and Melville Vineyard bottling. In 2005,
besides the Santa Rita Hills and Presidio Vineyard bottlings described here, there is a Sanford &
Benedict Vineyard spring release and a Cargasacchi Vineyard, Fiddlestix Vineyard and Melville
Vineyard Pinot Noir all of which will be available in November, 2007. The wines are aged 18 months in
50% new French oak.
2005 Bonaccorsi Wine Company Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
15.1% alc., 400 cases, $55.
Composed of fruit from Cargasacchi, Melville and Fiddlestix
vineyards. Clones 115 and Pommard.
Lightest in color of the wines tasted. The nose is introverted even after two hours showing restrained notes of red fruit, hay and oak. There is a rich palate of primarily red cherry and red berry fruit with a hint of anise and a texture of milky softness.
2005 Bonaccorsi Wine Company Presidio Vineyard Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
15.1% alc., 150 cases, $60.
A demure aromatic profile of organic matter and dark crushed berries. The alcohol
peaks out a tad on the nose as the wine warms in the glass but is not intrusive. Packed with sweet dark
cherry and black raspberry fruit with an oak sidecar. Very satiny and sensual texture. The whole package
is quite enjoyable and this is clearly my favorite.
Bonaccorsi Wine Company wines are sold on the website, www.bonawine.com, and through retail
channels. The 2005 spring releases are sold out at the winery. The 2005 vintage wines are strikingly
silky in texture and demonstrate a harmonious integration of oak. They will appeal to fans of biggerstyled,
virile and opulent Pinot Noir.