Whenever I visit Napa, I know I can count on one of my mainstay girlfriends to recommend great spots to stop, sip & enjoy. Jacqueline is a beautiful women both inside and out… and the girl also knows her wine…making her even more attractive.
“If you have to ask if it’s to early to drink wine, clearly you’re an amateur and we can’t be friends.” – Wine Lover
She is a concierge at Pine Ridge Vineyards in Napa and it is a stop I have heard raves reviews about. And not just from Jacqueline herself. I know several wine club members here in Napa at Pine Ridge Wines that really enjoy brining friends to visit.
As you drive past the “Hobbit Hole” like cave entrance to the right, you notice the Demonstration Gardens and picnic areas. The grounds are meticulously kept and very well manicured. What green grass this time of year as well.
Time to taste. As I approach the entrance I had to get a photo or two, or… three of the resident winery cat who was stalking his prey out front. Most wineries have a cat or two on the property along with some owl boxes of course. I said hello to Jackie and we caught up on life for a moment then on to sipping folks.
The beautiful woman who filled my glass, not only gave me a private tour of the caves, vineyards, demonstration gardens and fermentation room, she also was uber knowledgeable about the estate, property and wines themselves.
She poured me a few sips of some wonderful wines that were normally only available for wine club members and helped to give me the full Pine Ridge experience while also making me feel special individually.
It was nice of her and the Vineyard itself to have her take me on the whirlwind tour on my visit for just one person. I like to experience new tasting rooms on my own and when traveling through wine country, I am usually by myself. This is better to take in the sights and sounds and take in some wine too of course. If I am on my own, I am much more likely to not miss anything or get distracted chatting with others.
At Pine Ridge, guests have the rare chance to taste from five different vineyard appellations that are distinctively unique and expressive to their terroir.
Michael Beaulac, General Manager and Winemaker at Pine Ridge Wines joined the team in 2009.
He has worked with some of the most highly regarded wineries in both Sonoma and Napa Valley, including St. Supery, Markham Vineyards and Murphy Goode.
I started with the Chenin Blanc, which turned out to be one of my two favorites from the afternoon. It was a very cleansing wine and its not normally poured in the tasting room.
Time to join the wine club folks to take advantage of this amazing wine. Also a favorite was the Dijon Clones Chardonnay 2012 Carneros Appellation.
The Dijon Clones Chardonnay bursts with complex aromas of ripe green apple and yellow pear, intermingled with subtle suggestions of white flowers, salted caramel and honeyed graham cracker.
This bright, supple Chardonnay would pair beautifully with a variety of seafood dishes, such as gouda and gruyere macaroni and cheese with Dungeness crab or pan-seared dayboat scallops over fennel purée.
My other favorite, of which I also purchased, was the Charm Stone Cabernet bottled mostly from the Estate Vineyards. What a treat of a Cab.
Fruit was harvested from vineyards in a handful of the Napa Valley’s most renowned appellations including Rutherford, Stags Leap District and Oakville. Known for their distinct terroir, each of these appellations imparts its unique
characteristics in the fruit, contributing to Charmstone’s overall complexity.
I had an appointment at Chef Richard Reddington’s Redd Wood in Yountville next for lunch. We were able to do a whirlwind style tour of the caves, gardens, vineyards and fermentation room.
I photo bombed one of the winemakers as he passed by the barrels and he chuckled and joined the conversation for a moment. The barrels in this room are stored in a system of circular cages that turn individually to mix the wine instead of stirring which adds less stress I would figure.
I need to inquire if this is better for the wine or better for the workers. Again, the vineyards treated me like a special guest and really showed me around, also answering all of my questions…which can be a lot to handle. I am inquisitive.
We wandered through Cave 3, 4, 7 and so on and it was intense to see that amount of wine stored under one roof. There were large areas which they refer to as the “science experiments” aka….
Winemakers working hard to create the best blends, timely processes for barrel aging and of course simply created new hypothesis to test new wine making techniques.
There was a wonderful tasting room where they hold the food and wine pairing as well as special events. This table features a lovely view of the Chuhily sculptures.
The smell of a wine cave is impossible to replicate and hosting a tasting in the cave environment is a must try for visitors. It really heightens the overall impression to taste wines while your nose takes in the smell of the fermenting barrels.