Last week I started the story of my journey to Napa Valley to make wine during the last full week in March. This week I would like to continue and finish up my trip roundup. We are ready to pick up the story on Tuesday, March 22:
Breakfast was at the hotel and then I was off to meet with the folks at DDC Shipping. As we prepare for Internet shipping of our wines, once our California license is approved, we’ll need a way to ship our orders (assuming we have some).
I met with Katie Thompson and got the lowdown on shipping procedures, packaging, etc. It was a lot to absorb. Good thing she can email me all the specifics. I also got to say hello to owner Chris Sweetanos who I know but actually had never met.
I skipped lunch in order to get some paperwork done and then headed to 4 Winds Winery in the Stags Leap District for a wine tasting of Roy D. Chapin IV’s new 2013 Cabernet. 4 Winds is a new venture and the 2013 is only its second release. It was a great afternoon. Stay tuned for a future article on 4 Winds Winery.
After the tasting I rushed back to Napa for dinner with winemaker Bruce Devlin. We ate one of Bruce’s go-to places: Atlas Social. It is a gastropub (a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food) located at 1124 First Street, Napa. (707-258-2583; Atlas Social Website)
Bruce and I enjoyed some small plates and a bottle of Three Clicks Grenache Blanc…naturally since it is Bruce’s wine. We had a great discussion on wines, winemaking and the wine business. I will have a separate story on Bruce later.
Wednesday was a great day. I have been talking to Bruce about working with him on a lower price point red wine for about 18 months or so. This was the day we decided to create that wine. I arrived at Ballentine Vineyards and Winery at 11:00 a.m. to get started. Bruce had all the samples ready to blend, as well as glasses, beaker and the all important spit bucket. The wine samples consisted of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Lagrein and two different Zinfandels.
We started with a Merlot-based blend and after a couple different blends it just wasn’t what I wanted. Bruce suggested we reverse the blend and use Zinfandel as the base and blend in the other wines. After a number of attempts we finally made a blend that had good nose, good mouth feel and a nice strong and reasonably long finish…Perfect, I hope!
So now we have a new 2015 Glenwood Cellars Adler’s Blend Red Wine!!
In a couple weeks it will get blended, go in oak barrels to age for a year or so. Then it will get bottled and sit for up to six months more in glass before it gets released for all of you to try.
The final blend is as follows:
- 50% Zinfandel
- 30% Petite Sirah
- 20% Lagrein
I am sure most of you are familiar with Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines, but you may not have heard of the Lagrein grape. Lagrein is an Italian grape originating in Northeast Italy from an area known as South Tyrol. Lagrein wine typically has high acidity and it is highly tannic. The sample we tasted was fruity, a little earthy and chewy. It is a real dark wine. It added good body to the new blend.
I think this wine will sell in the $35.00 a bottle range in wine shops. Stay tuned for updates on this new project.
Done with blending, I headed for Speedy Creek Winery north of Calistoga in the hills of Knights Valley. The vineyard and winery are owned by a great couple: Dave and Kathy Burton. We have just added four wines they produce to our Tiedemann Wines portfolio. If you haven’t been to Napa Valley and toured a lot of remote wineries you may not have a feel for what it takes to get to some of these places. To give you and idea, I am including below the instructions the Burtons send out to visitors. What do you think?
The winding roads are single-lane on the edge of the hill and there are no guard rails. It takes some careful driving to get where you are going. Stay tuned for an upcoming article on Speedy Creek.
Wow! Thursday was a powerhouse day. In the morning I did a tasting at HdV Wines. These great folks donated wines to my grandson Adler’s cancer benefit last fall.
HdV Wines (HdV website) is located 10 minutes down the street from my hotel so it was easy to get there. It was nothing like the adventure of getting to Speedy Creek. I will tell you that HdV Wines is a venture between the Hyde family of Napa Valley and the de Villaine family in Burgundy. Both are noted wine families. They produce some elegant wines, which I will tell you about in a future blog posting. Stay tuned for my HdV article.
From HdV I headed to meet Kelly Peterson-Holmes, managing partner at Switchback Ridge. This was a special treat. I met Kelly last year at the Dean & Deluca Cabernet tasting and then again after the event at dinner at Press Restaurant. She also was kind enough to donate wine to Adler’s benefit. I will say that they make good wines and I have personally been buying them since their 2003 vintage. Again, stay tuned for a future article on Switchback Ridge wines.
From Switchback Ridge I headed for a look at Kerrin Laz’s new tasting room in Yountville. Her new company is called K. Laz Wine Collection. The wine shop and tasting room is located at 6484 Washington Street, Suite C, Yountville. (K. Laz Wine Collection Website)
The shop is located in the back of a little retail center. It is next to the Wells Fargo Bank at the south end of Washington Street (in town). If you pass Ad Hoc, you went too far. It is really an attractive shop. Stay tuned for an article on Kerrin’s operation. It is quite unique.
This was a catch-up day spent mainly at the desk in my hotel room. I am changing wine label printers and needed to address that issue. I wrote this blog article and tended to some projects happening back in Elkhart.
I packed my bags and told the front desk to call me at 3:15 a.m. Saturday so I could hit the road by 4:00 a.m. to arrive at the airport on time.
I had trouble sleeping and woke up at 2:30 a.m. and just stayed up and got ready to leave for the airport in San Francisco. It was an uneventful but long trip back to Elkhart. Yes, I got through the TSA check point just fine this time. It was nice to get home.
It was an exciting trip as most visits to Napa Valley are. If you enjoy wine and you haven’t done it for awhile, better put a trip on your schedule soon. If you want or need any suggestions for things to do in Napa Valley let me know and I will help you out.
As always I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics please do so in the comments section below.
Until next week,