Brutocao Family Vineyards, welcoming winemaker Hoss Milone


“Winemaking traditions often begin around the table. Brutocao Cellars’ roots go back four generations to a Venice, Italy dinner table. When the Brutocao family came to the New World and married into the Bliss family of farmers, it was only natural that they would combine their passions and become grape growers and winemakers.

“The ‘Bliss Ranch’, or ‘Home Ranch’ was purchased in 1943 by Irv Bliss. In the early days Irv farmed the land, grew grapes and figs, raised sheep and cattle. In the 70’s all of the land was converted to grapes. Irv’s great farming skills produced grapes that were sold to many great local and regional wines. The Brutocao family released the first wine with the 1980 vintage. In 1990 we built a winery on the Bliss Ranch to make all of our wines Estate Produced. Because of our award winning wines, customer loyalty, and amazing growth, we outgrew the first winery and it has now become an onsite wine storage warehouse. A brand new winery was built in 2003 and expanded in 2009.”

“Brutocao Family Vineyards practices Sustainable Winegrowing.”


Hoss Milone grew up in the wine business. His family started Milano Winery in 1977 where he split his time between farming and winemaking, and in 1983 became the assistant winemaker. Starting in 1991, Hoss worked at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery where, during the 18 years he was there, the winery tripled in size. In 2009 he assumed the head winemaker role at Brutocao.


Brutocao’s 400 acres in southern Mendocino County include the following vineyards:

400 acres with 177acres planted.  0 – 2% slope. Purchased by Irv Bliss in 1943. On the Bliss Vineyard, we grow Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot, Sangiovese, Barbera and Dolcetto. Soils are Talmage very gravelly sandy loam, Feliz gray loam gravelly substratum, Feliz loam, Cole clay loam, and Cole loam with effective rooting depths of 60+ inches.  Available water capacity ranges from low to high to very high and permeability ranges from slow to moderate to moderately rapid.

582.54 acres with 113.99 planted.  0 – 5% slope. Purchased in 1994 by Len and Marty Brutocao. We grow Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Barbera, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. Soils are Talmage gravelly sandy loam, Pinole gravelly loam, Yokayo sandy loam, Maxwell clay, Feliz loam, Cole loam, and Bearwallow-Hellman loams with effective rooting depths of 40 – 60+ inches.  Available water capacity ranges from low to moderate to high to very high and permeability ranges from very slow to slow to moderate to moderately rapid.

Philo (Anderson Valley)
16.5 acres with 10.56 planted.  0 – 9% slope. Purchased in 1996 and planted in 2001. We grow our Brutocao Pinot Noir here. It is the old Scharffenberger winery and also the location of our first tasting room. Soils are Casabonne loams and Wohly loams with effective rooting depths of 20 – 60 inches.  Available water capacity is moderate to high and permeability is moderate.

251.11 acres with 89.69 planted.  2 – 30% slope. Purchased in 1997 and planted in 1999.  We grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Primitivo. Contento is the site of the old ATECO Brangus cattle Ranch where they raised purebred Brangus cattle and used some of the ranch for research and development of new tractor equipment. This resulted in very fertile land. Contento is also the location of an old inactive gold mine. Soils are Redvine sandy clay loam and Hopland-Witherell-Squawrock complex with effective rooting zones of 20 – 60 inches.  Available water capacity ranges from moderately low to high and permeability is moderate.”

Brutocao Sauvignon Blanc Feliz Vineyard 2013
Mendocino, California. “This single vineyard Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc opens with grapefruit and melon aromas. Citrus flavors awaken your palate to be followed by a long, wonderful, honeydew melon finish.” 1300 cases produced. Jen’s note- Citrus aroma, some suggestions of grapefruit and lemon. Zesty acid, refreshing style. Fresh and juicy. Good.


Brutocao Pinot Noir Slow Lope’n Vineyard 2009
Anderson Valley, California. 16 months in barrel mix, 30% new French oak. “Warm days and cool nights, typical of the Anderson Valley, are ideal conditions to grow Pinot Noir. From this climate, we produce our single vineyard Pinot, which has notes of cherry cola, strawberries and vanilla. Earth tones and a touch of oaky spice make this a balanced wine with a velvety finish.” 1400 cases produced. Jen’s note- Rusty, almost tawny color. Dark aroma, spice/garrigue, cedar, brown sugar undertones and dark fruits. Very lively, will soften with air. Dark and spicy finish.


Brutocao Merlot Bliss Vineyard 2010
Mendocino, California. Aged in French and American oak, 45% new, for 18 months. “Our Vineyard Select series showcases the best fruit our home ranch, Bliss Vineyard, has to offer. Strawberries and raspberries dipped in chocolate introduce our single vineyard Merlot. With luscious red fruit integrated into a voluptuous mid-palate, the oak presents itself with cinnamon and mocha, resulting in an age worthy Estate Merlot.” 575 cases produced. Jen’s note- Ruby/garnet. Oak and spice aromas with hints of pepper. Dark fruit qualities; appealing cassis/cedar and underlying sweetness. Friendly palate, rich and complex. Very good.


Brutocao Zinfandel Hopland Ranches 2009
Mendocino, California. Aged in mostly American and some French oak, 20% new, for 18 months. “Our Estate Zinfandel once again brings together the best of our two Hopland ranches, Bliss and Feliz. This fruit forward wine has aromatics of raspberries, red cherries and anise. Your palate is greeted with a burst of ripe blackberries, followed by earthy spice, cherry cola and a hint of pepper on the finish.” 1500 cases produced. Jen’s note- Garnet color. Sweet, perfumed nose of ripe strawberry/berry fruit with some oak and spice. Ripe palate/approachable style. Dark notes at finish.


Brutocao Quadriga Hopland Ranches 2009
Mendocino, California. Aged in French oak, 9% new, for 16 months. An Italian-inspired blend of 36% Sangiovese, 28% Primitivo, 21% Barbera, and 15% Dolcetto. “Soft and open in style with a breadth of flavors typical to all 4 varieties included: Sangiovese Primitivo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. From the bright wild berry flavors and violet aromatics of ripened Sangiovese to the plum/black cherry nuances, dark purple color and historic acidity that even a kiss of Barbera can offer. Balanced, approachable and fascinating flavors.” 2000 cases produced. Jen’s note- Subtle aroma. Sweet oak/vanilla with baking spice- opens up with brown sugar and dark fruits. Big palate, dark notes. Textured. Full and flavorful finish.


Brutocao Cabernet Sauvignon Contento Vineyard 2011
Mendocino, California. Aged in French and American oak, 32% new, for 18 months. “Our Contento Ranch is a beautiful, hillside vineyard, which gives this wine its distinct character of concentrated fruit and complex layers. Aromas of boysenberry, plum, and mocha mark the entry of our single vineyard Cabernet. It coats your mouth with juicy boysenberries, followed by soft balanced tannins with a hint of sandalwood, leading to a long, smooth mocha, espresso finish.” 2000 cases produced. Jen’s note- Ruby/magenta center. Sweet, perfumed nose- coconut, toasty oak, some licorice, ripe fruit- friendly scent. Juicy entry, oak and spice. Layered finish.


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