NAPA VALLEY, CA—This morning Napa Valley was simply brilliant. The harvest is in full swing and autumn's tempered sunlight gives the region the slight perception that you've walked into a painted canvas.
When in Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon is king. No region in California can do a Cab like Napa. Today's destination, Pine Ridge Vineyards, is located on a viticulturally charmed stretch of the Silverado Trail in the southern part the valley.
Our readers may have figured out that my entire editorial staff, myself included, has a particular fondness for this tasting room. Pine Ridge has the distinction of owning twelve estate vineyards, totaling two hundred acres, in five of Napa Valley's celebrated appellations, including forty-seven acres in the coveted Stags Leap District.
The other appellations are Carneros, Howell Mountain, Oakville, and Rutherford. Where many wineries must rely on purchased fruit to build complexity into their Napa Valley-designated Cabernet Sauvignon, Pine Ridge has the luxury of selecting from a broad range of estate vineyards located throughout the valley.
The grounds here are charming. The driveway passes between lawns and picket gardens offering seating with views of the estate's Stags Leap District vineyard.
MY "APPELLATION TASTING" - October 1, 2013
Cost: $40 - (5 elegant wines) - Tasting Room Associate: Jackie
This was one of my favorite tastings in recent memory. Primarily because everything thrilled me… Here's what was being offered on their "appellation" tasting menu today:
2011 Le Petit Clos Chardonnay: This is the only 100% true Stags Leap Chardonnay produced. Absolutely delicious. Rich, full body, round palate… Yellow peach, baked golden apple, florals… an elegant finish. Perfect for special occasion. Retail: $65 (wine club $52).
2009 Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: This is what Napa does best. 96% Cabernet with a touch of Malbec and Merlot. Baked black plum on the nose with a hint of rich blackberry pie. Long and lingering… Oh, man… Now that's what I'm talking about. Loved it… Retail: $80 (wine club $64.00).
2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon: This is
100% Cabernet, baby! An intense ruby-black wine. Ripe black plum, fresh
cassis, cracked white pepper… I liked it even better than the Oakville
Cabernet mentioned above. Wow! An absolutely enchanting wine. Retail:
$90 (wine club $72).
2010 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon: 99% Cabernet with 1% Malbec. I found blackcurrant flavors here. Oh, yeah! Velvety tannins and a graceful finish. Softer to my taste that the above reds — ultra-lush and perfectly pleasing. Retail: $85 (wine club $68).
2009 FORTIS Cabernet Sauvignon: Another 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Intense nose of black mission fig. Aromas of French vanilla. A gorgeous and complex wine. Rich and full-bodied. Loved the smooth and lasting finish. Retail: $150 (wine club $120).
Plus, today they served a BONUS WINE from their "Signature" tasting menu:
2009 Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: 75% Cabernet; 13% Malbec; 4% Merlot; 7% Petit Verdot; 1% Cab Franc. This wine had earned 91 points from Robert Parker "The Wine Advocate". Medium body — simply fantastic!
Of course, tasting menus can change without notice as wines sell out. This current menu was memorable indeed… No visit to this very fine "destination" winery would be complete without checking out their barrel room.
Through a glass wall fitted with transparent doors you can see into this softly lit gallery where wine quietly ages.
To sum it up… I loved everything on today's Appellation Tasting menu. As listed in our Northern California book, they have various other tasting options… Pine Ridge Vineyards is highly recommended!!!
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