The Napa Valley contains just over 400 wineries in a narrow corridor 30 miles long by only a couple of miles wide. Their grapes benefit from a magical combination of microclimates and diverse soils. Having taken the advice of the Hideaway Report wine concierge, we selected four premium boutique wineries to visit. There, guided by friendly staff, we were able to discover the subtleties of each vintage and unlock the mysteries of their terroirs.
This mountain winery is located on the forested west side of the Napa Valley, way up Spring Mountain Road, roughly equidistant from St. Helena and Calistoga. We were greeted by Marcelo and a flute of Ruinart Champagne. Legendary architect Howard Backen built the massive winery in a medieval style with a California sensibility, with a crenelated gray stone tower. We entered through a gothic arch and inside found a vast reception hall with library-like alcoves and seating areas illuminated by light filtering from huge quatrefoil windows. A floor-to-ceiling retractable glass wall afforded views of the valley below. We tasted a flight of four Cabernet Sauvignons, three of them from adjacent slopes and the fourth from the Howell Mountain appellation on the eastern side of the valley. Despite being very high in alcohol, (14%), these super dark reds were so well-structured that they displayed subtle variations in their deep fruits, spices and hints of cocoa, toffee and cedar.
3787 Spring Mountain Road, St. Helena. Tel. (707) 948-1968