Last year I had high hopes of visiting half of the wineries on the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley. Unfortunately, that lofty goal was not realized….not even close. But, 2017 is a new year and an early start. The rest of the our group had prior plans and could not start the wine adventure just yet. I am sure they will join me on the next excursion. So, I grabbed a couple of friends that never say no, we all need friends like that. And we headed up to Napa Valley. Our first stop was Judd’s Hill.
Judd’s Hill is by appointment only so, call ahead. We didn’t know that when we arrived. We were met by a staff member who politely told us they were by appointment and they did not have an opening until 3 pm. A current release tasting is $25 and a Reserve tasting is $45. It was 1 pm when we arrived. He then offered to pour for us on the patio. Fortunately for us, there was a break in the weather and it was a beautiful day. A little chilly but beautiful non the less. We accepted his kind offer and sat down by an outdoor heater. His polite kindness and the quality of their wine would earn them a new wine club member. The first wine he poured was their 2013 Reserve Chardonnay. I have to admit that I am not a big Chardonnay fan but this one was exceptional. It was fruit forward and not buttery. It had aromas of citrus and pear, and was lightly oaken. At $50 it is an expensive Chardonnay. The price point reflexes how unique this Chardonnay is. The next one was their 2009 Meritage. The Meritage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, Petite Verdot. Black cherry jam notes on the front, light oak, and a hint of vanilla on the finish. Also $50. 2012 Syrah. Well balanced acids and tannin’s with notes of Blackberry, jam and tobacco. $42.
We were treated to an additional tasting of their 2013 ZSM. If you like a well balanced, complex and layered wine, with dark berry fruit, and balanced tannins, You will love this one. It had to come home with me. $40. 2011 Founder’s Art Reserve Cabernet. I found it to be a complex and full bodied wines. Well balanced with notes of dark berry fruit. $85. I have to admit, I enjoyed every wine we tasted. Which is very unusual and a credit to the quality of wine being made at Judd’s Hill. The price points are in the range of wines in Napa Valley. These wines are exceptional and I look forward to another tasting flight.
Next up, Regusci Winery. Well, you would have thought we would have learned from our experience at Judd’s Hill, to call ahead. Regusci Winery is also by appointment. Lucky for us, they were also gracious enough to accommodate us. The tasting room has a great vib and it was an enjoyable experience tasting there. The first wine on the list was the 2013 Merlot. Black berrry and black cherry on the tongue with notes of tobacco and chocolate. Full bodied and well balanced. $55. 2013 Syrah. Full bodied, well-balanced with black berry fruit and smooth finish. $60. The Elder’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. Full body, Black berry fruit with notes of vanilla, typical tannin structure and spice on the finish. $65. 2013 Patriarch. The Patriarch is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I experienced aromas of red fruit, charred oak, smoke and coffee. On the palate you may experience red fruit, leather and vanilla. $90. Angelo’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a big full-bodied Cab with bold dark fruit and tannin’s. $140. The wines were enjoyable but, the price points were a little more than what I would feel comfortable paying.
All in all, not a bad start for 2017. Stay tuned for the next stop on the trail.