We’re Toasting: Napa Valley on The Broadcast


One of my favorite places in the world is Napa Valley, mainly for the incredible relationships we have been able to make with the hospitable people of the region, from vintners to farmers, winemakers to chefs, tasting room hosts to winery owners, Napa is made up of a group of happy people (the wine helps) who love what they do, and love sharing it with guests to the region. Yesterday morning on The Broadcast I had a chance to visit with Courtney about a few of my favorites, while sipping a crisp and clean Sauvignon Blanc from Round Pond. To see the segment click below – I’ve included tasting notes for some of the wines are below.  Check out my post on D Magazine/SideDish for notes on the rest of the wines we talked about today and several more.

Rutherford is best known for their earthy, dusty Cabernet Sauvignon, but wineries in the area also excel at growing mineral rich Sauvignon Blanc in their volcanic soils. Round Pond Sauvignon Blanc, from the sustainably farmed Rutherford estate fruit, was hand picked on three different occasions to ensure proper ripeness of the fruit, bringing different levels of expression to the crisp, lively and mineral rich wine filled with stone fruit, zesty citrus and sweet melon notes. $24 available at Pogo’s.

Just a few years ago Brenda and Clay Cockerell of Coquerel Family Wines began to source fruit from select growers to add new varietals to their estate fruit production Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho and Petit Sirah, including very small production (200 cases) Chardonnay. Their 2012 Terroir Chardonnay, made predominantly in French oak barrels, 10% of which are new, as well as a touch of stainless steel, and aged 7 additional months sur lie, or on the yeasts to add additional richness and texture, is filled with golden apple, stone fruits like white peach and dried apricot, with notes of sweet cream and lemon curd. $35, Sigel’s

Joel and Amy Aiken at their Palisades Wine Company winery
Joel and Amy Aiken at their Palisades Wine Company winery

I have spoken on the show, and again did today, about the wines made by well respected Napa Valley winemaker, Joel Aiken. Not to be outshone by her talented husband, winemaker Amy Aiken is making her own stellar Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and though they may share production space, everything about this wine is Amy. Conceived from her process, a slow “Meander” to get from point A to point B, and an homage to her sons (Meander is a combination of her son’s names Andrew and Mitchell,) Meander Cabernet Sauvignon represents everything that Amy is about – great fruit with incredible aromatics and flavors from superior Napa Valley vineyards. Her 2009 is a blend of fruit from Rutherford, the Mirosoli Vineyard, and Lewelling Vineyard in St. Helena. The bold Rutherford fruit melds with the luscious, delicate St. Helena fruit to create a silky, supple palate with juicy red and black fruit flavors that leap from the glass, finishing with a velvety texture and smooth tannins. Of all the wines we tasted on a recent to trip to Napa my Bordeaux loving husband said this was the favorite of the bunch, $75 available via Amy’s website.

You would hope that great wines could be created with an agreement made by a simple handshake…though it is rare to find these days.  Happily, one incredible wine was created just this way – 2010 Cliff Lede Songbook Cabernet Sauvignon, from meticulously farmed vines from famed Napa Valley viticulturist, David Abreu’s, vineyards in St. Helena and Howell Mountain, resulting in some of the highest quality, low yielding fruit in the region.  Lede described the fruit as a “winemaker’s dream” creating layers of delicate, subtle, balanced fruit with refined elegance, filling the palate with wild blackberry, black licorice and a touch of herbaceous, melding with sweet spice and mocha from 24 months of new French oak aging. An incredible wine, $190 available via their website.

And, if thinking about Napa Valley puts you in the mood to visit this beautiful, vineyard filled place in the world, tickets are available now for Auction Napa Valley the first weekend of June.  If you can’t make it out in June, check out their e-Auction lots (available for viewing now) as there are many great packages to visit the valley, including guest house stays, dinners in the vineyards with winemakers and, of course, lots of wine.


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