A Bold and Complex Masterpiece From One of Napa’s Most Historic Producers

Today’s Story: Louis M. Martini

Louis M. Martini is a historic Napa Valley winery, established in 1933 and one of the first after the repeal of Prohibition. Louis was born in Italy and, at the age of 12, left Genoa to join his father in San Francisco in 1899. The duo made their first wine together in 1906, upon which Louis was sent back to Italy to study winemaking as a profession. Once back in America, he established the L.M. Martini Grape Products Company in 1922 where he focused on the production of sacramental wine during Prohibition. By the middle of 1933, however, Louis expected the repeal of Prohibition and constructed his winery in St. Helena of the Napa Valley. Though the winery received its bond in September of that year, they could not produce wine until the end of the year when Prohibition was officially repealed.

After a few years, Louis expanded into Sonoma with the purchase of the Goldstein Ranch in 1938 and renamed the property to his Monte Rosso Vineyard. This site sits 1,000 feet up in the Mayacamas Mountains and still to this day produces some of the highest quality bottlings in the Martini lineup. Louis’ son Louis P. joined the family business as well, ultimately taking full responsibility as head winemaker in 1954. The winery then remained a family business for decades, with Mike Martini taking over as winemaker in 1977. In 2002, however, the Gallo family purchased the Martini winery and vineyards though not much changed as the two families were friends throughout several generations. In 2013, Michael Eddy took over the winemaking role and is the first non-family member of the Martini’s to make wine at this historic estate.

The Louis M. Martini portfolio of wines is quite robust, so I’d encourage you to explore the website here to learn more about their offerings. In addition to Monte Rosso, they source fruit from Stagecoach Vineyard, Cypress Ranch Vineyard, Sun Lake Vineyard, and Thomann Station Vineyard. While Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, Martini also produces wines with Merlot, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Sauvignon Blanc.


Today’s Wine: 2014 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petite Sirah; 14.9% ABV

The 2014 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is deep ruby in color. I decanted this for an hour and drank it over the following two hours. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with a nose of crème de cassis, blueberry, plum, black cherry, redcurrant, licorice, violet, tobacco, graphite, scorched earth, underbrush, vanilla, clove, and cedar. Meanwhile the flavors are also of pronounced intensity, and the palate showcases notes of blackberry compote, blueberry pie, spiced black plum, black cherry, licorice, sweet tobacco, violet, thyme, charcoal, mushroom, gravel, mocha, and baking spice. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but silky tannin, high alcohol, and a long finish. Overall a very rich, intense, and concentrated wine of very good quality.

Price: $100 (I paid $28 five years ago). What really impresses me here is the intensity and depth of this wine. While I can’t necessarily call it great value for my palate at its current market price, the price I paid was an absolute steal. This is richer and more of a brute than what I typically go for, though I think this is a fantastic wine for knowing what it wants to be.

Premium Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Drenched in History

Today’s Story: Staglin Family Vineyard

Staglin Family Vineyard is a family-owned and operated wine producer located in the Rutherford AVA of California’s Napa Valley. The current estate was established by Shari and Garen Staglin in 1985, though this historic property on the Rutherford Bench traces its roots back much further. Back in 1864, John and Mary Steckter purchased 367 acres and planted the first grape vines on 60 acres surrounding their home. Ownership changed hands several times following John’s death in 1904, but came to a Texan gold and oil tycoon by the name of Frank Manley in 1922. Manley lived on the property with his family for several decades, ultimately selling the property to the Sullivan family in 1963 who, by marriage, had ties to the Latour family who owned Beaulieu Vineyard. The Sullivans sold the land containing the home, however they maintained ownership over the prune orchard where famed winemaker André Tchelistcheff converted the land to vineyards once again. Once up and running, fruit from this vineyard went toward BV’s premium Georges de Latour bottling until the Staglin family purchased the property in 1985.

Today the Staglin family owns just over 60 acres at their Rutherford estate, with roughly 51 acres planted to vineyards. While the focus here is on Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends, they also have Chardonnay and Sangiovese planted on the property. In 2002, the family completed construction of 24,000 square feet of state-of-the-art underground production facilities and caves to lighten their environmental impact and provide a proper resting place for their wines. The Staglin family’s premier wine is an Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (often blended with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot), though they produce an Estate Chardonnay as well which is rare for the AVA. Staglin also produces a range of wines under the name Salus, with these bottlings meant to be more approachable in their youth. Rooted in philanthropy, all proceeds from the Salus line are donated to fight schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.

Today’s Wine: 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot; 14.9% ABV

The 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is deep ruby in color. I decanted this for an hour and drank it over the following hour or two. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of cassis, blackberry, black plum, redcurrant, cigar box, scorched earth, truffle, graphite, baking spice, light vanilla, and milk chocolate. Flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, while the palate offers up notes of black cherry, blackberry, crème de cassis, sweet tobacco, loamy earth, charcoal, charred herbs, vanilla, baking spice, and mocha. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium but silky tannin, high alcohol, and a long finish. Of very good quality, this powerful but not over the top Cabernet is both silky and elegant.

Price: $250. While it’s tough for me to call this a good “value,” the quality level here certainly puts this bottling into the correct pricing tier relative to premium Napa Valley Cabernet. The balance is nearly perfect here, while the wine offers up a very inviting drinking experience of great depth and length.

Exceptional Cabernet From the Difficult 2011 Napa Vintage

Today’s Story: Harlan Estate

Harlan Estate is a highly regarded “cult” Napa Valley winery, established in 1984 by developer H. William Harlan in the western hills of Oakville. The Harlan property consists of 240 acres, about 40 of which are cleared for viticulture activity and planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. Harlan’s first commercial vintage is the 1990, which was released in 1996, and over time the estate has commanded incredible critical praise and accompanying price action in becoming what many people refer to as the ultimate cult Napa wine. A staple in the winemaking process at Harlan is rigorous selection of fruit both in the vineyards and the winery, as only the highest quality fruit is accepted, triple sorted, and destemmed. Fermentations occur in open top vats with indigenous yeasts, then the wines feed into the barrel room for aging in French oak barrels for 24-36 months depending on vintage. Production is fairly limited, with 1,200 to about 2,000 cases produced of the flagship Harlan Estate bottling and about 900 cases produced of the estate’s second wine called The Maiden.

I previously wrote about the 2015 Harlan Estate.

Today’s Wine: 2011 Harlan Estate

Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend; 14.5% ABV

The 2011 Harlan Estate is deep ruby in color. I decanted this for 2 hours and drank it for the following hour or two. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the incredibly complex nose evolving over time to showcase layered notes of blackcurrant, blueberry, violet, cigar box, graphite, forest floor, truffle, gravel, pine, eucalyptus, bell pepper, milk chocolate, mild baking spice, and cedar spill. Flavors are also of pronounced intensity and the palate equally complex, offering up notes of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, redcurrant, tobacco, scorched earth, black truffle, cracked pepper, charred green herbs, mint, coffee grounds, and mild baking spice. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but silky tannin, high alcohol, and a long finish that lingers for at least a minute. Outstanding quality in a “tough” vintage, with this wine incredibly elegant and well-balanced.

Price: $1,140. The value perspective here is difficult to discuss, as you can buy a case of good wine for the price of this one bottle. That being said though, the balance, intensity, complexity, and length of the finish here is truly incredible. I struggle to find a better representation of what Napa Cabernet can be, and this is another bottling that showcases my love of the 2011 vintage.

Textbook Syrah That Blends Northern Rhône Character With California

Today’s Story: Lillian Winery

Lillian came to fruition in 2004 with their inaugural release of Syrah. The winemaker, Maggie Harrison, worked as assistant winemaker for Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non (think $200-$1,000 bottles of cult Rhone variety wines) when he encouraged her to begin producing her own Syrah. With grapes coming from the White Hawk Vineyard, Maggie bottled 150 cases of her 2004 Syrah and, though I have not had that vintage, the several vintages I’ve had since clearly reflect on her experiences at Sine Qua Non.

Over time Lillian grew from 150 cases and, although still small, sources grapes from White Hawk Vineyard, Stolpman Vineyards, Bien Nacido Vineyards, and Cabernet Sauvignon from True Vineyard on Howell Mountain. Additionally, Maggie makes Lillian Roussanne and Grenache which are bottlings added later to the portfolio. With the focus on Syrah, though, each vineyard offers different character. White Hawk is sandy soil producing dark fruit personality, Stolpman is calcareous soil producing brighter fruit but more tannin structure, and Bien Nacido is cooler producing smokier and floral notes with higher acidity and tannin. When they come together, a very elegant wine is born.

I previously reviewed the 2013 Syrah and 2013 Gold Series No. 3 Syrah from Lillian.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Syrah

100% Syrah; 14.3% ABV

The 2015 Syrah is deep purple in color. I decanted this for about an hour, though it was gorgeous from the start. The aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing classic Syrah notes of blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, lavender, candied bacon, hickory smoke, toasted vanilla bean, crushed gravel, mocha, and sweet toasted oak. The flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, while the palate offers up notes of black plum, blueberry, blackberry, cassis, bacon fat, sweet tobacco, graphite, brown sugar, smoke, mint, and cocoa. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium but velvety tannin, high alcohol, and a long finish. Very good quality and a textbook Syrah.

Price: $75. I think this is very reasonably-priced given its high quality level, balance, length, intensity, and complexity. It is also exactly what I want out of a Syrah and a textbook example of the variety. I think this also strikes a good balance between Northern Rhône and California characteristics.

Outstanding Napa Valley Chardonnay That Drinks Like Aged Burgundy

Today’s Story: Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena traces its roots back to 1882 when Alfred L. Tubbs purchased 254 acres of rugged land with the dream of turning it into vineyards. Tubbs first planted his vineyards before constructing the chateau in 1886 and bringing in a winemaker from France, and by 1896 the A.L. Tubbs Winery was the seventh-largest in the Napa Valley. This prowess was short-lived, however, when winemaking shut down during Prohibition. With its repeal in 1933, Alfred’s grandson Chapin Tubbs continued harvesting the vineyards to make some wine and started selling fruit to others. He re-christened the winery to Chateau Montelena Winery in 1940 with the name derived from a contraction of Mount St. Helena.

In 1947, Chapin unfortunately passed away and winemaking at Chateau Montelena ceased again two years later. The Tubbs family sold this magnificent estate in 1958 to Yort and Jeanie Frank, a couple who emigrated from Hong Kong after WWII and were then seeking a peaceful place to retire. The Franks did not resume winemaking but rather worked to transform some of the overgrown grounds into a lake and landscaping reminiscent of their native gardens back home. Jade Lake on the property still provides evidence of this today and remains a beautiful and peaceful sanctuary.

The renaissance of this great winemaking estate, however, came about in the early 1970s under the leadership of Jim Barrett. Barrett quickly cleared and replanted the vineyards and brought in modern winemaking equipment alongside a team to oversee the vineyards and production. In 1972, winemaking resumed at Chateau Montelena and within years it would become one of the most important wineries in all of California and at that time even throughout the world. Chateau Montelena today thrives under the watchful eyes of Jim’s son, Bo Barrett.

Arguably the most important event in Chateau Montelena’s history occurred in 1976, though halfway around the world in France. Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, sought to put the best Californian wines head to head with the best French wines and assembled the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 (known as the Judgment of Paris). There were an assortment of red wines and an assortment of white wines, with the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay being one of six Californian whites going against four greats from France’s Burgundy region. The 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay beat all of the other white wines in a blind tasting and shocked not only the panel and those in attendance but the entire world, cementing California as a winemaking region demanding respect. Funny enough, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars also in Napa Valley won for the red wines with their 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon.

I previously wrote about Chateau Montelena on a few occasions, reviewing the 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Chardonnay, Twenty Year Ruby, and 1995 Chardonnay from magnum which I am revisiting again today.

Today’s Wine: 1995 Chardonnay

100% Chardonnay; 13.5% ABV

The 1995 Chardonnay is deep gold in color, beautifully radiant in the glass. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, leaping from the glass in an incredibly complex nose of golden apple, ripe pear, pineapple, orange marmalade, dried apricot, flint, honeysuckle, white truffle, wet stone, a hint of butter, raw almond, and dried vanilla. Flavors are also of pronounced intensity, as the palate offers up similar and equally complex notes of crisp yellow apple, pear, charred pineapple, apricot, tropical citrus, dill, white truffle, white pepper, crushed rock, almond, and a touch of brioche. This dry white is medium- to full-bodied with still-lively medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, and a long finish that goes on for almost a minute. Absolutely outstanding.

Price: $90 for 750ml or $180 for this magnum direct from the winery. This is my second time reviewing this wine (first was also from magnum January 2021), though I thought this bottle showed so incredibly well I’m writing about it again. I’m left speechless here, as this is remarkably intense, deep, complex, balanced, and long. Truly on par with some of the greatest white Burgundy I’ve enjoyed, and while my last bottle was incredible this takes it even higher. Insane value here, if you can find an immaculate bottle.

Iconic Oakville Cabernet

Today’s Story: Far Niente

Far Niente was founded in 1885 by a forty-niner of the California gold rush named John Benson. John constructed his winery just below the hillsides in western Oakville, and he had it designed by Hamden McIntyre who was behind the Christian Brothers winery (now the CIA at Greystone). Like several prominent wineries today, John built Far Niente to function as a gravity flow winery.

Though Far Niente was quite successful for its first few decades, during the onset of Prohibition in 1919 it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. It wasn’t until sixty years later in 1979 that a man by the name of Gil Nickel purchased the dilapidated winery and began a three year restoration project. Winemaking resumed once again in 1982 with the harvest of the estate’s first Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Chardonnay. To this day, Far Niente continues to only produce Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Switching gears a little bit, in addition to their Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay bottlings you can find at many wine stores (and sometimes grocery stores), Far Niente releases a Cave Collection. Their Cave Collection wines make up an annual limited release of wines from the Far Niente library and are simply the Cabs and Chards put aside by the winery for further aging before release. You can tell the difference between a normal bottle and a Cave Collection by the black band added around the capsule. Their goal with the Cave Collection, which started in the late 1980s, is to provide collectors an opportunity to taste more mature wines without waiting years to age them themselves. This is a great way for wine enthusiasts and collectors to guarantee provenance of aged wine.

I previously reviewed the 2011 Cave Collection Cabernet Sauvignon from Far Niente.

Today’s Wine: 2013 Cave Collection Cabernet Sauvignon

97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot; 14.5% ABV

The 2013 Cave Collection Cabernet Sauvignon is deep ruby in color and rather opaque. I decanted this for two hours, helping to open the wine with aromas of medium (+) intensity and a nose of blackberry, blueberry, redcurrant, violet, cigar box, graphite, chocolate, vanilla, and charred oak. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, with the palate showcasing notes of cassis, black plum, blueberry, black cherry, tobacco, black truffle, gravel, a hint of vanilla, and woodsmoke. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but fine-grained tannin, high alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $185. This is a very solid wine from an iconic Napa winery, though there are certainly better “values” out there. I think some of the other vintages from Far Niente show better than the 2013, though there’s no denying the quality level is high and this offers decent depth and great balance.

Premium Cabernet From Perhaps the World’s Greatest Wine Consultant

Today’s Story: Michel Rolland Napa Valley

Michel Rolland Napa Valley is the individual wine project of world-renowned wine consultant Michel Rolland, with its first vintage being 2010. Rolland grew up in Pomerol, France on his family’s estate Château Le Bon Pasteur, so one can say the path of winemaking started the day he was born. He excelled in his studies of viticulture and enology, ultimately purchasing an enology lab on the Right Bank of Bordeaux to begin his consulting career. Over time Rolland has consulted for hundreds of clients the world over, namely centered in his native Bordeaux in addition to Argentina, the United States, and other countries. With names on his resume like Château Ausone, Château L’Évangile, and Château Pontet-Canet it is also no surprise he consults for some of the greatest estates in the Napa Valley: Harlan Estate and Bryant Family to name a couple. As the Napa Valley became almost like a second home, Rolland decided to start his own venture sourcing from some of the greatest vineyards (many of them Beckstoffer) and MR Cabernet Sauvignon was born.

Today’s Wine: 2013 MR Cabernet Sauvignon

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14.7% ABV

The 2013 MR Cabernet Sauvignon is deep ruby in color and completely opaque. I decanted this for about 2 hours and drank it over the following hour or so. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose offering up notes of blackberry, blueberry, plum, orange rind, violet, cigar box, graphite, slate, mint, savory green herbs, a touch of smoke, and cedar. The flavors are also of pronounced intensity, with the concentrated palate showcasing notes of blackcurrant, blackberry, plum, black cherry, licorice, sweet tobacco, graphite, charred herbs, coffee grounds, clove, and cinnamon. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) but silky and refined tannin, high alcohol, and a long finish. Very good and still quite youthful.

Price: $150. This is another high-quality Napa Cab in the ever-competitive price-point, and while for this saturated zone I cannot call this great “value” it certainly drinks at its price-point. Fruit sources here include the incredible sites of To Kalon, Missouri Hopper, Dr. Crane, and Stagecoach which, coupled with a limited production of 300 cases, contributes to the pricing. Nonetheless this is an incredibly concentrated, intense, and complex Napa Cab that was very enjoyable.

Bold and Powerful Stags Leap District Cabernet

Today’s Story: Odette Estate

Odette Estate is the newest property in the PlumpJack Group of wineries, established in 2012 by partners Gordon Getty, Gavin Newson, and John Conover. The trio found success with their earlier properties of PlumpJack in Oakville and CADE up on Howell Mountain, so they set their eyes on this third property in the historic Stags Leap District. The 45 acre property was owned by the Steltzner family who purchased it in 1964, and they first converted the land to vineyards in 1970. Though the family originally sold all of their fruit in those early years, they started making their own wine and released the first of it in the year 1980. This working winery was in full swing by the time the PlumpJack Group purchased the property in 2012, though the team immediately undertook a massive renovation project of both the facilities and caves. They also transitioned the entire property to organic farming like the other two properties.

Today’s Wine: 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and remaining 10% between Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot; 15.2% ABV

The 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is deep ruby in color and completely opaque. I decanted this for two hours to allow it to open up. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of blackberry compote, plum, crème de cassis, blueberry, black licorice, violet, sweet tobacco, a hint of truffle, graphite, vanilla, and clove. Flavors are also pronounced, and the palate offers up notes of blackberry, blackcurrant, black cherry, blueberry, black plum, anise, charred green herbs, mushroom, gravel, coffee grounds, and baking spice. This dry red is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, high tannin, high alcohol, and a long finish. Very good for the style, as these are meant to be big, bold, concentrated, and intense.

Price: $150. Though this is in an incredibly competitive price range, I do think it drinks at the level. While this isn’t my particular style of Cabernet (I prefer more restrained and terroir-driven bottlings made in a more traditional style), there is no denying it is of great quality. The complexity and balance here are quite good, and this wine would certainly appeal to a broad range of consumers.

Textbook Viognier From Amador County

Today’s Story: Favia Erickson Winegrowers

Favia was founded in 2003 by viticulturist Annie Favia and winemaker Andy Erickson, a husband and wife duo. Annie has experience working with John Kongsgaard and Cathy Corison, though her viticulturist expertise came working under David Abreu. Andy also has an extensive resume, which includes winemaking stints at Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Ovid, Harlan Estate, and Staglin amongst others. Andy also consults for Arietta, Mayacamas, and Dancing Hares Vineyard.

I had an opportunity to visit Favia for a tour and tasting in the past, and it truly is a special experience. Annie and Andy live on the property in a home built in 1886 for the Carbone family, who are believed to be the first Italian immigrants to Napa Valley. Though modernized, Annie and Andy restored the home using historical documents alongside other structures on the property. A very cool feature, the cellar sits under the family home and Favia stores their wine right where they live. Strong believers in biodynamic practices and caring for the earth, Annie and Andy planted fruit trees, an olive orchard, and a garden (which we got to try a tomato from) in addition to the existing walnut orchard.

I highly suggest a visit to Favia if you take a trip to Napa Valley, as it’s a very small, unique tasting experience and is not too far from downtown Napa. In the meantime, check out their website here to browse their wines and see incredible pictures of the property. I also previously reviewed their 2013 Linea Sauvignon Blanc and 2014 Quarzo Syrah.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Suize Viognier

100% Viognier; 14.1% ABV

The 2016 Suize Viognier is deep straw in color with medium gold hues. Aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of white peach, mango, tangerine, honeysuckle, white rose, popcorn kernel, butter, and brioche. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, while the palate offers up notes of white peach, mango, tangerine, juniper berry, honeysuckle, beeswax, dried herbs, vanilla, and butter. This has the classic oily mouthfeel of Viognier as well. This dry white is full-bodied with medium acidity, high alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Quality here is good, with this being a textbook representation of the variety.

Price: $75. Price-wise and therefore value-wise this is pretty steep for a classic representation of Viognier. The quality, depth, and length here are all quite good though and it’s an enjoyable wine if you come across it and feel spendy.

Complex and Fun Experimental White Blend

Today’s Story: Ovid Napa Valley

Ovid Napa Valley is a “cult” winery established in 2000 by husband and wife Mark Nelson and Dana Johnson, and 2005 was their inaugural vintage. Situated at 1,400 feet elevation on secluded Pritchard Hill, Ovid consists of a 15 acre vineyard planted largely to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, though it includes plots of Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Syrah as well. Ovid practices organic viticulture and the vineyard is broken into one-acre blocks with various rootstocks and clones to allow for an experimental philosophy of winemaking. They recently cleared more acreage to expand their vineyard holdings as well. Winemaker Austin Peterson has been with Ovid since 2006, and he enjoys utilizing both traditional and cutting edge winemaking techniques to produce wines with a sense of place. The Ovid winery utilizes gravity flow to minimize handling of the wines, and fermentation is accomplished using native and non-native yeasts before the wines age and transfer to bottle unfined and unfiltered.

Ovid remains steadfast in their support of sustainable practices in the vineyards and the winery, keeping bees, using cover crops, and utilizing their own compost to avoid inhibiting natural biodiversity. They also placed owl boxes, bluebird boxes, and an insectary garden on the property to facilitate a more natural form of pest control. Ovid even maintains a fruit and nut orchard where they grow cherries, plums, pluots, peaches, pomegranates, and persimmons which are then allocated to Napa restaurants including The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood (which unfortunately burned down in 2020). The winery itself is powered by solar energy and built of wood, stone, and concrete which blends effortlessly into the mountainous surroundings.

In terms of production, Ovid crafts four main wines which include their signature Ovid Napa Valley (Cabernet Sauvignon dominant), Hexameter (Cabernet Franc dominant), Loc. Cit. (100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the best plots only in the best vintages), and Syrah. As special as the main Ovid wines are, they also release highly limited quantities of Experiment bottlings which change vintage to vintage to showcase the unique blends, varieties, winemaking styles, and terroir Peterson has to play with. Total production is said to be between 1,000 and 1,200 cases per vintage, with roughly 85% of that going direct to customers on the membership list.

To learn more about Ovid and their wines, view pictures of the beautiful winery, or find the source for much of today’s information above, visit the Ovid website here. I also previously wrote about Ovid when I reviewed the 2015 Hexameter.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Experiment No. W3.6

36.27% Sauvignon Blanc, 20.82% Grenache Blanc, 19.28% Albariño, 9.26% Viognier, 7.86% Roussanne, 6.51% Vermentino; 14.3% ABV

The 2016 Experiment No. W3.6 is pale yellow in color. Its aromas are of medium (+) intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of lemon zest, honeydew melon, Asian pear, mango, lemongrass, white lily, wet stone, and a touch of wax. The flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, and the palate offers up notes of yellow apple, pear, lemon and lime zest, mango, grapefruit, honeysuckle, grass, beeswax, and stony mineral. This dry white blend is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, high alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. This is a very good and fun wine.

Price: $110. Pricing here is a bit high in terms of value perspective, as this is very expensive for a Napa Valley white wine. Nonetheless, I love these Ovid Experiment bottlings as they show a fun side of winemaking while this one is complex, well-balanced, and downright quaffable. I think rarity of these wines plays an effect on the price but if you have the chance to try one I wouldn’t turn it down.