Miro Tchokalov learned about wine at a very young age in his native country of Bulgaria. Actually wine was just a part of life back in the old country. As in many parts of the world where rural living requires farming and preserving food, Miro saw first hand that there are certain times of the year when you harvest your vegetables, pickle and jar some of them, make jam, etc. And when grapes are ready to be picked, you make wine while the grown-ups “sample” [sic – drink] wines from previous vintages.
After his military service, Miro received his degree in viticulture and eonology from the Higher Institute of Agriculture in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. In 1990 he was chosen from hundreds of candidates to intern in the US under an international agriculture exchange program sponsored by Future Farmers of America. Shortly thereafter, he did brief stints in Napa Valley, and landed at Dry Creek Vineyards where he eventually became the Assistant Winemaker.
In 1999 Miro became the winemaker for Trentadue Winery in the Alexander Valley, and has been creating very interesting and affordable wines for Trentadue and the La Storia label.
Miro on Winemaking
La Storia Wines
La Storia is the flagship label for Trentadue. Miro uses the best blocks in the vineyards, and the best barrels he feels are worthy of the La Storia label.
La Storia 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon – Alexander Valley Estate
“The Cabernet in this blend was selected from our best block, 901, and the grapes were hand picked at 2:00 AM, which was still very cold for maximum freshness. After a few days of cold maceration, the fermentiation was started and completed in seven days. The wine was left on the skins for extended maceration for an additional 22 days. After pressing and several rackings, the wine was aged in 65% new French and other European barrels for about a year and then blended and aged for an additional nine months.
“The wine is classic Alexander Valley with a nose of ripe sweet cherry and plums, developed aromas of leather, licorice and hints of cocoa powder and molasses. With more aeration, additional aromas of vanilla, brown sugar and slight earthiness complete this wine. The mouth feel is balanced and not heavy with a long and pleasant finish. The wine should be age well with proper cellaring for another six to nine years.” ($24)
La Storia 2005 Cuvee 32 – Alexander Valley Estate
“In 2005 our four rows of precious Montepulciano finally produced more that the usual ton and a halve which increased its part of the blend to a staggering 8%. The Estate Merlot and Sangiovese were given extended maceration to further develop the color and complexity of the wine and then racked into oak barrels, 40% of which were brand new. All of the blend components were aged separately for about a year and then blended and aged for another 14 months for the total of 26 months. Vintage after vintage, Cuvee 32 is one of the favorite wines for the visitors in our tasting room and La Storia Wine Club members.
“The wine is a perfect marriage of the lean, food friendly acidity of the Sangiovese and the firm and juicy structure of the Merlot and Cabernet, resulting into a rich, yet nicely balanced wine that exhibits layers of lush, sweet black fruit flavors and hints of plum and spice. The well-integrated tannins will allow for early enjoyment, but will beg for 10+ years in a quiet cellar.” ($24)
La Storia 2005 Petite Sirah – Alexander Valley Estate
“The 2005 is our third bottling of the Estate Petite Sirah under the La Storia designation. The 2005 vintage will go down in history as “the abundant” vintage and yet as one of the better balanced in terms of ripeness and overall structure of the wines. In normal year we do our grape thinning in one pass but in 2005 we had to do it in two passes and in some blocks even three times.
Approximately 30% of the wine was aged in new European and American oak barrels. Stylistically our 2005 is similar to previous vintages-a big, powerful wine, with dense berry-laden aromas and lush, mouthfilling flavors. The difference is the surprising feel of polish and elegance not usually associated with young Petite Sirahs. Based on our track record this is another successful vintage of age worthy wine that will keep you intrigued for many years to come.” ($24)