Pine Ridge, aptly named because low and behold! It’s nestled along Palisades surrounded by pine trees in the heart of the Stags Leap District. Here is their premier vineyard site with the acquisition of some key vineyards in surrounding AVA’s – Howell Mtn, Oakville, Rutherford and Carneros. All being estate fruit, I’ve learned that the quality of their wine comes from the highest degree of attention and investment to every detail of the winery and winemaking operation. And if you read my blog, I don’t typically talk so much about the production and technical details but I can go on and on about the integrity being showcased here between Recycling and Composting, Water Conservation, Energy Use, Labeling and SO much more. Mad respect for these guys, clearly. Being Certified Napa Green, their winery and the land they steward really can’t be surpassed. I love talking about and featuring wineries such as Pine Ridge b/c it just reminds me why I do what I do and motivates me that much more to share stories that make the wine in the bottle so much more than just that. When you move into cellar management and creating a wine that represents these assets in their most articulated form, Michael Beaulac and his team are only an extension of the intimacy in play by Gustavo Aviña and his vineyard management team.
The wines themselves really blew me away and when I learned about their mission and what they’re doing here it all made perfect sense once the Cab hit the lipstick-stained glass. Even though I’ve seen the label in the market (most widely distributed is probably the Viognier/Chenin Blanc blend) I was thrilled to taste the more dressed up, smaller production Cabs. What they do best. It’s really a fun lineup b/c you’ll get to taste Napa Cab from different appellations and the nuances of each AVA truly expressed, and shows you just how differently Cab can show up based on its unique site and sense of place. The Chard was also a nice palate cleanser and exactly my style.
Although they are open to the public w/o an appointment, this is a winery in which I’d suggest calling ahead and reserve an “Elevated” or “Cave Tour” tasting, if you’re interested in a more one-on-one, educational experience while in the Valley. These offerings will allow you to slow down and savor the setting, not just of the vines but the barrel room and all it’s aromatic glory, tasting straight from the barrels (my favorite thing EVER) and a really nice pairing done by in-house Chef, Susanne Lassalette. If you happen to follow me on instagram you can also see just how obsessed I am with the Estate Garden, which soon became the #secretgarden from my POV. Note they also host large parties so highly suggested for corporate events or team building over a little sipping session…
Now onto my favorites:
Rutherford Cab: b/c I usually always love Rutherford fruit! Big, smooth tannin and that Rutherford dust/earth quality that makes it truly unique.
Howell Mtn: Also…..b/c I always love mountain fruit! Big and yet approachable, showcasing the signature anise, eucalyptus and wait for it….pine. Cocao and deep, dark fruit.
These are all great Cabs and suitable for aging. If you want something impressive for your next dinner party pick up a magnum of Fortis if you can get your hands on one!
Big THANKS to our lovely host Patrick Henrey, Director to the Trade Chris and Brand Manager Angela Gutiérrez Bortugno
*Reservation/Tour Recommended; $$-$$$