A Little History
4 Winds Winery was the first of five wineries I visited on my recent Napa Valley trip. I was excited about visiting 4 Winds for several reasons. First, I had the pleasure of meeting Jane Chapin and her son Roy D. Chapin IV, owners of the winery, on my last Napa trip at the annual Dean & Deluca Cabernet Sauvignon tasting. Secondly, I was going to taste the new, yet-to-be-released (at the time) 2013 4 Winds Cabernet Sauvignon.
Before I tell you about the 2013 Cabernet, I want to share with you some interesting information about the Chapin family. This short story falls into the “how small a world it really is” category. Roy’s great grandfather Roy D. Chapin Sr. (February 23, 1880 – February 16, 1936) was a co-founder of the Hudson Motor Company in 1908 in Detroit. In 1914 he married Inez Tiedeman (no direct relation to me). In September 1915 Roy D. Chapin Jr. was born. Roy D. Chapin Jr. went to work for Hudson Motors in 1938. Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator in 1954 to form American Motors (AMC). My friend’s father, Roy D. Chapin III, is in the real estate business in the West Palm Beach, Florida, area. Roy D. Chapin IV has also had an interesting career path. After selling his own company in 2012 (MovieSeer Limited) in Bangkok, Thailand, he returned to Napa to form 4 Winds Winery with his mother Jane.
Here is the “small world” part of my story. My grandfather, Adolph Carl Tiedemann Jr. was a 35-year veteran of the automotive industry. He started his career in New York City (where he was born) as a salesman for Willys-Overland Motors and later moved to Detroit where he was a branch manager for the company. He later spent 10 years with General Motors, then time at Packard Motors, Nash Motors and then on to Hudson Motors as Northcentral Divisional Merchandising Manager. My grandfather left Hudson Motors to become President and General Manager of his own welding equipment manufacturing company in Detroit.
In summary, Roy’s great grandfather and grandfather were in the automotive industry as was my grandfather, who even worked for a Chapin-lead company. Roy’s great grandmother was a Tiedeman. Roy’s father is in the real estate business as is Roy’s mother’s family. As you all know, I have been in the real estate and construction business for over 35 years.
Roy D. Chapin IV is involved in the wine business as am I. It’s interesting to me that our family paths have crossed several times over the last 75 years.
4 Winds Winery is located about 10 miles north of Napa on Silverado Trail. Like a lot of Napa Valley wineries, 4 Winds is up a winding road to the top of a mountain. This mountain is located in the Stag’s Leap District. 4 Winds sits up on the side of the mountain about a mile or so off Silverado Trail. It is a beautiful setting with a great view of the valley.
The Chapin family purchased the 109-acre site in the early 1990s and several years later had a large wine cave constructed in anticipation of starting a winery in the future. Currently there are no vineyards on the property. However all the necessary permits have been received and a 3.5-acre vineyard will be started in 2017.
Currently all of the grapes for 4 Winds Cabernet Sauvignon are sourced from neighboring vineyards in Stag’s Leap. Wine is also made, for now, at a neighbor’s winery. A winery is planned for the property but probably not in the very near future.
The wine is made by of the country’s top winemakers: Thomas Rivers Brown. He was named Food & Wine magazine’s Winemaker of the Year in 2010. Brown is one of the most sought-after winemakers in the Valley. He currently is making high-end Cabernets for more than a dozen different labels.
Roy told me he had made a list of 10 different winemakers he thought he would like to work with in making 4 Wind’s wines. He said that when he met and interviewed Thomas he knew he was the winemaker he wanted. He says they hit it off from the beginning.
The first wine from 4 Winds was a 243-case effort of 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. I had the opportunity to taste the wine in March of 2015 at the Dean & Deluca event. Several of us thought it was one of the best wines of the 50 presented at the tasting. I think I joined the mailing list that evening. I knew it was a wine I wanted in my cellar.
When Roy and I got together in March we tasted his 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon effort. There were 315 cases produced of the 2013, slightly more than the 2012 vintage.
Here is some information on the 2013 and what the winemaker had to say about the wine:
Winemakers Notes: Fruit was fully de-stemmed on site but not crushed. Fed through progressive cavity must pump, whole berries were loaded into chilled tanks for five days. At the end of the fifth day the cooling jackets were turned off and the must allowed to warm up naturally while spontaneous fermentation began. Once fermentation slowed down, pump over times were lowered and eventually stopped while the tank awaited pressing.
Wines were blended in July of 2014 and bottled in June of 2015. Released April 5, 2016.
My thoughts on the 2013 4 Winds Cabernet are as follows:
The color of the wine was a deep, dark red-purple color. The nose was a little stubborn and tight but had hints of black fruit and perhaps a little cedar. On the palate the wine reveals its youth with the taste of oak and acidity not yet integrated…yet there are some juicy fruit flavors that are pure and vibrant. As this wine ages it will be much more powerful. The finish was of a good length and balanced with a hint of spice and fruit. The mouth feel was rich and a delight.
As usual I strongly suggest that you taste this wine given the opportunity. Also, on your next trip to Napa Valley call Roy in advance for a tasting of his wines. The winery isn’t far from downtown Napa…only about a 25-minute drive. I believe that he still has plenty of room on his mailing list if you want to sign up for that. You can do so by going to the 4 Winds website here.
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Until next week,
Please join us for these upcoming Tiedemann On Wines Wine Club dinners:
May 19, Dark Star Cellars Wine Dinner at McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk in Elkhart, 6:30 p.m. Click here for the food & wine pairings.
October 13, Old World Versus New World Wines, Dinner at McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk in Elkhart, 6:30 p.m.
November 10, Spanish Wine Dinner at McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk in Elkhart, 6:30 p.m.