With not more than a vision for making cool-climate, single-vineyard Pinot Noirs some friends made their first vintage - 250 cases - in 2004. Less than five years later, they have a critically acclaimed brand and more demand for their 1,500-case annual production than they can meet. They've earned having Anthill Farms in the coveted spots on wine lists at the French Laundry, Cyrus, Gary Danko and other well knowns and sommeliers say they can't keep the bottles in stock.
Antica Napa Valley is a well kept secret off the beaten path. It's by appointment only, so be sure to call in advance as their wine tasting appointments are very limited. It's quite a ways up Soda Canyon road off the Silverado Trail in Napa, but it was well worth the drive. Once you arrive at the wine tasting room, you'll feel as if you're in someone's private home. Our hostess was very nice and gave us a tour of the property and wine cave. She poured 4 different wines, one white and three reds that were all really drinkable now just as the other winery had mentioned was really great about them. I really enjoyed all of their wines, which ranged in price from $35-$95, and wished I could have taken home a bottle of each. Along with the wines, they served a delicious plate of cheese, olives, salami and chocolate for each person. The tasting fee is $30, but was refunded when I bought a bottle of their wine.
The Altagracia and Cab were the standouts in my book though I did like the Grappa too, which most felt were too strong. I happily drank theirs! Bart and Daphne Araujo acquired the Eisele Vineyard in 1990. Committed to producing estate grown wines of the highest caliber and distinction, they constructed a small winery and barrel-aging caves on the property, and employ organic and biodynamic farming protocols in the vineyard. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah wines produced in this remarkable place have a rare combination of forthright character, deep concentration without any sense of heaviness, and the capacity to develop profound complexity with age.
Arbios Cellars/Praxis Cellars is a small Sonoma County, California family wine business. Bill Arbios makes the wine; his wife, Susan handles much of the rest. Bill enjoyed a successful career with many prominent wineries over the last 35 years, but he felt somewhat restricted working for large wineries and yearned for his own roots. With the creation of Arbios Cellars in 1993 and Praxis Cellars in 2000, his dream of expressing his vision and creating something lasting was realized.
Definitely the place to go for more Old World style Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, and Chardonnays, and my favorite wines in the Ghetto. People who prefer more fruit forward, higher-alcohol wines might be better served with other tasting rooms - perhaps Zotovich and Fiddlehead. However, if you like earthy, lighter Pinots and buttery, complex Chardonnays, Arcadian is probably the place for you.
Authentically Californian in spirit, Archipel expresses the greatness of the ancient Mayacamas Mountain soils in a truly contemporary wine style. Bold and assertive with an approachable velvety texture, Archipel delivers vibrant plum and spice flavors enhanced by French and American oak barrel aging. One of the primary winemaking tehniques used is called "cold soak". Instead of fermenting the grapes immediatly after harvest, fruit is placed in stanless steel tanks and held for 5-6 days at a temperature of 44 degrees Fahrenheit. This period of cold soaking allows grape skins to maintain contact with the juice for deep color and flavor extraction.
Ardente Estate Winery was founded in 1996 on a twenty acre estate located in the quiet hills of Atlas Peak in Napa Valley. The area was selected for its rich volcanic soil, 1500 feet elevation and moderate microclimate which provide perfect condition for growing high quality Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 1998, Dr. Kosta M. Arger and Richard L. Martucci, one Greek American, the other of Italian descent, made the decision over a glass of Cabernet to form Arger-Martucci Vineyards. Dr. Arger is a well-respected cardiologist with an intense passion for winemaking. Rich Martucci, the founder of a successful community bank chain, possesses an extensive background in both business and finance. Together their unique talents create an ideal partnership. No matter what you drink they're all good, but some of them are awesome! I really enjoyed the PS and the Cab Franc.
Rare wine specialist and wine auctioneer Fritz Hatton founded Arietta in 1996 in partnership with winemaker John Kongsgaard and his wife Maggy. The partnership was born of a shared passion for fine wine and classical music. The vinous inspiration for Arietta was an extraordinary 2.3 acre block of Cabernet Franc on the Hudson Ranch in Napa/Carneros. The fruit from this block of Cabernet Franc serves as the core of the Arietta Red Wine.