Tag Archives: cabernet


Enjoy my video tour through six of the rarer grape varieties Kenneth Volk experimented with, from Aglianico to Touring Nacional, and see how they show eighteen or so years since harvest. I have always found his wines challenging, complex, not always lovable, but true to their European roots, funk, acidity, and all. Although Ken Volk’s life of winemaking is coming to an end, you can still order some of these gems at https://www.volkwines.com/order.php Continue reading

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Family Matters: Winery Tour of Trefethen Family Vineyards Oak Knoll Napa Valley California

Go to Napa or read the back of a wine label: most wineries will insist that a family owns them. This selling tactic attempts to ground all the Disney-land glamour onto something parochial and familiar.  But family ownership is not unique, roughly 80% of wineries in Napa are. Nor does family ownership ensure smallness or quality. Gallo is a family. So are mafias. Heck, corporations are people these days.

Thus, I visit Trefethen with trepidation. They too point to the Trefethen family’s ownership as a defining feature. But is it? Continue reading

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Stags’ Leap Winery Review Napa Valley

Back to beginnings this week with one of Napa’s originals: Stags’ Leap Winery (not to be confused with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars).

The Chase family built the stone Manor House in 1890 and planted vineyards in 1893.

Stags Leap PatioOur visit feels part historic home tour, part winery tour. We enter and get a glass of 2014 Viognier (dry, pale, soft pear, white peach, lemon blossom: very good 4 of 5 $32). Stags’ interior oozes Victorian oak and moodiness. I feel like I forgot my top hat, pipe, and misogyny.

Stags Leap Victorian StaircaseIn 1913, widowed Mrs. Frances Grange bought and turned Stags’ into a resort for Hollywood elite. Prohibition halted wine-making but didn’t halt Frances. She sold fruit to other producers and turned Stag’s basement into an underground speakeasy with a trap door.

Stags Leap Prohibition CellarTo absolve patrons’ sins, both lawbreaking and religious, widow Grange built a non-denominational church. Today, church Grange serves as winery: Continue reading

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P2 Day Tour Howell Mountain Napa Valley Spire Wine Collection

Let us continue our completely undeserved tour of Napa Valley’s Spire Collection: Kendall Jackson’s cream of the buttercream of the creme fraiche of the crop. A Monday or so ago, Wayward Wine posted our morning visit and ridiculous picnic at Mt Veeder in Napa’s Southwest (read here).

Plump on mountain Malbec, local cheeses and charcuterie, we pop back into the company Mercedes and roll North across the valley. Continue reading

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Tasting at Lewis Cellars Winery Napa Valley

We leave the vast caves and hobbit-infested knolls of Pine Ridge (read here). Already late and marginally sober we bolt south. Stags Leap AVA flattens into the vine-plain of Oak Knoll. We blast past the winery, turn around and pull up a long drive to the innocuous, tall, grey, free standing building with a big L on it: Lewis Cellars.

Inside, white wash and windows feel like a Southern tea room. We sit with two other couples on a long table.

Lewis owns no vineyards. They started sourcing grapes in ’89 as Oakville Ranch Winery. A car crash in 1991 ended Randy Lewis’ 23 year Formula 1 and 3 career. So he turned to completely to wine. Being Napa, it did not hurt being rich. Today they make 6,000 cases, 1/3rd of which are Chardonnay… Continue reading

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