Today’s Story: Davies Vineyards
Davies Vineyards is one of the most storied wineries in Napa, however to be perfectly honest I don’t think many people new to exploring wine know about them.
Their history began in 1862 when Jacob Schram purchased 200 acres and began the development of hillside vineyards in Napa. In 1870, Chinese laborers dug what became the first hillside caves in Napa Valley for aging and storing wine, with the winery quickly ramping up production. By 1880, Schramsberg was producing 8,403 cases of wine annually from 50 acres of vines, which ramped up to about 28,361 cases from 100 acres of vines by the year 1890. Fortunes would change in the early 1900s, however, when Jacob Schram died in 1905 and the winery sold in 1912.
It wasn’t until 1965, however, that Jack and Jamie Davies purchased the 200 acre Schramsberg property and crushed the first grapes under their proprietorship. Jumping forward in time to 1994, the Davies family started replanting their Diamond Mountain vineyard property with Cabernet Sauvignon and other red Bordeaux varietals, paving the way toward their exceptional red wines in circulation today.
Several years later in 1998, Jack Davies unfortunately passed away and his wife Jamie became Chairman of the winery. Then, in 2000, Davies truly became a family affair when their son Hugh became head winemaker. His 2001 J. Davies Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, the first vintage from the replanted vines, released in 2004 and is named in honor of Jack.
Davies makes an assortment of wines, including Pinot Noir which I am reviewing today, as well as sparkling wines under the Schramsberg name. A timeline of the history above can be found at http://www.daviesvineyards.com/about/history/ for parts I missed.
Today’s Wine: 2012 Ferrington Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir; 14% ABV
The 2012 vintage in California was a fantastic bounce-back from the cool, rainy 2011. 2012 proved to be a long, sunny growing season that produced outstanding grapes up and down the coast, which in turn created fantastic wines that are now coming into stride. But onto the task at hand… The 2012 Ferrington is pale ruby through and through, a classic Pinot appearance. On the nose I get aromas of cherry, strawberry rhubarb, blueberry, vanilla, baking spices, and a touch of alcohol. This wine smells like a freshly baked pie! The palate offers similar notes to the nose, expanding on blueberry, pomegranate, plum, and iron. The mouthfeel is very silky and elegant, which makes for easy drinking. Medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a long, lingering finish with flavors of overripe red fruits.
Price: $60. I can see a vast majority of Pinot Noir drinkers enjoying this wine for its silky texture and creamy fruit notes, however I think the price-point is high. I would avoid this wine for the plethora of delicious options in the $20-30 range.