Nicholas Allen, the founder and proprietor of Carte Blanche Wines, is no stranger to the world of fine wine. His great grandfather, Clarence Dillon, was a wildly-successful financier of discerning taste whose penchant for the worlds best wines flourished alongside his career.
So he did what we all wish we could do – he bought his favorite winery in 1935, or in this case, his favorite Chateau. But this wasn’t just any Chateau, it is now one of the worlds most illustrious wine estates and one of only five of Bordeaux’s classified First Growths known as Chateau Haut-Brion.
Rombauer Vineyards & Winery | More Than Just Chardonnay!
Sometimes the best surprises happen where you least expect them, right? That was certainly the case on my most recent visit to Napa Valley. After visiting over 10 wineries (it was a long trip), Rombauer Vineyards managed to make a lasting impression. You might be as surprised as I was to discover why.
Before Christianity swept through the Roman Empire, its inhabitants worshiped Mithra, the God of the Sun. When making an offering of wine to Mithra, they would say “Soli Invicto Mithrae”. Meaning “To the Sun, Invincible Mithra.”, it’s an inscription that can be found from Scotland to India on Mithraic Temples, and on those bottles of Mithra wine in the cellars of a lucky few.
The Mithra Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the “it” wines of the moment, seducing luxury Cabernet collectors with an alluring combination of refined richness and exclusivity. I had never heard of the Mithra wine until a recent visit to 750 Wines in St. Helena, a top-notch purveyor of hard to find bottles.
Wise Acre Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa’s Most Exclusive Cabernet?
I believe there’s a lot of significance in a name, and in my opinion Wise Acre Vineyard couldn’t be a more appropriate namesake for what is arguably Napa Valley’s smallest commercial winery. Measuring in at a mere 1/2 acre, there isn’t much room for error, is there?
Castello di Amorosa | Wines as Impressive as the Tour?
A visit to Castello di Amorosa, or “The Castle” as it is often referred, is a must when visiting Napa Valley. Sure, it’s can be crowded and quite touristy, but it’s nothing short of spectacular to tour this sprawling, 121,000 square foot, 13th century era medieval Tuscan-inspired architectural masterpiece crafted from handmade materials, many of which were actually imported from Italy.
But what about the quality of the wines Castello di Amorosa produces? Today I’m on a mission to determine whether Castello di Amorosa’s wines are as medieval as the towering castle in which they’re made! You can check out more from my previous visit to Castello di Amorosa here.
I had the good pleasure of meeting Suzanne Phifer Pavitt of Napa Valley’s Phifer Pavitt Wine this past week in Washington, D.C. Despite juggling a rather busy schedule (having just left a meeting with superstar restaurateur Jose Andres and his Master Sommelier Andy Myers) she took the time to personally introduce me to her Date Night Cabernet and the story that inspired it.
Suzanne has become quite adept at not just tackling a busy schedule, but also overcoming obstacles. She spent 14 years working for Chicago tech firm Comdisco in high tech equipment leasing, as one of only two women on a team of over 70 men. Needless to say, she is no push over and oozes an endearing combination of passionate determination and southern charm.
Amizetta Winery | Come for the View | Stay for the Wine!
The views from Amizetta Winery
The year was 1979 when Amizetta and Spencer Clark discovered the very special parcel of land that was to become Amizetta Vineyards and later house Amizetta’s Estate Winery. With a dream of producing world-class wines in Napa Valley, they searched extensively for the perfect location with hillside exposures like those they had seen during their travels throughout Europe.
Upon arriving on my recent, unexpected and serendipitous visit to the Amizetta Winery it took no time at all to understand why the Clark’s fell in love. With commanding, panoramic views of Lake Hennessy below nestled into the green mountain landscape coupled with promising hillsides soils composed of rocky ‘sobrante loam’, Amizetta Winery came to fruition in 1985.
Moone Tsai Wine Review | 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Moone Tsai wine is a partnership amongst friends: Mike Moone (former President of Beringer) and husband and wife MaryAnn and Larry Tsai. Also on the team is rockstar consulting winemaker Phillippe Melka. Moone is actually responsible for originally bringing MaryAnn Tsai out to Napa Valley to work with him at Beringer. During his time at Beringer, Moone is credited with rejuvenating the winery’s business into the thriving one it is today.
And a rather fruitful partnership it must be considering the awards and glowing accolades Moone Tsai’s wines have received since it’s inception in 2006. Moone Tsai’s wines have been consistently highly rated as well as having been recognized by Wine Spectator as having the “#1 Rated Wine in the World” not once, but an incredible three times! And they aren’t shy about their ambitions to achieve the coveted recognition a fourth time.
On our recent trip to Napa Valley during harvest we made it a point to visit Seavey Vineyard. I’ve long been a fan of their under the radar age-worthy Cabernet and wanted to see their operation and taste their current releases, especially their flagship wine: The Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009.
I left Seavey Vineyard with delicious estate Cabernet and Merlot to take home and enjoy. But that wasn’t all we took home. We had an intimate one on one experience with Dorie Seavey, the daughter of William Seavey who founded Seavey Vineyard.
I must admit I have high expectations for this wine. The Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2005 not only received a 96 point score from The Wine Spectator but they also recognized it as the #1 Wine of their annual ‘Top 100’ in 2008.
This Clos Apalta is produced from one of the best recent vintages in Chile’s Colchagua’s Apalta sub-valley. Wine Spectator has even credited Casa Lapostolle’s Clos Apalta bottling with establishing Chile as a premier red wine growing region. How could you not be curious about this wine with such glowing accolades?