Come As Strangers, Leave As Family...
As we celebrate our tenth year open at the Chateau, our immediate thoughts go to all of you who have walked through these doors and celebrated milestones of ours, as well as your own. Throughout the years of growth, challenges, high and lows; you were right there with us. You have given our working life meaning, and we look forward to another decade of making memories with all of you.
With hope and gratitude,
Michelle, Jenna, Alli, Danyel, Dominika, and Ace
A message from Jamey -
'Ten Years Gone'... one of my all time fave Led Zeppelin songs and exactly where we find ourselves in our Napa Chateau and Tasting Salon; Seems insane to me. Every time I take the Oak Tree Expressway to work, I am so grateful Michelle & I did this with all of you. It seriously floors me how many folks have become family by virtue of 1075 Atlas Peak Road. Cheers to all the stoke and energy we feel when sharing a glass!
The 2021 growing season was lovely, with a mild spring and summer. There were a couple of days in the low 100s mid June and early September. Yields were pretty normal.
The Napa Valley Cabernet is delicious now, but will reward those who decide to put it down for a spell. A blend of roughly 78% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coombsville with gravelly loam and alluvial soils and 22% Cabernet Franc from a spot a bit east of the Valley with alluvial soils.
The 'Walala' Pinot Noir continues to be a Burgundian fever dream, for me at least. I get tickled at Mother Nature when she decides to remind me of lessons learned from past farming experience. Pinot Noir is a fickle, fleeting type of lover; Here this morning, gone this afternoon. I had a gut feeling something was amiss up top at Walala 3 days after sampling perfectly ripe fruit. I first learned about temperature (heat) inversion while farming a vineyard for Turley on the tippy top of Howell Mountain. It’s when things stay hot above the fog line at night and you get lulled into enjoying cool foggy mornings down in the valley below. Thank goodness I had a bad dream that woke me up a little after midnight, I made some coffee and drove straight back up to Walala and made the picking call from the vineyard with the sun coming up. 2 Brix jump in 2 days!!!
Winemaker’s Vineyard Notes: Located in Annapolis sitting high up on a knoll where you can see the Pacific on a clear day. Soils are a blend of alluvial and Goldridge loam. Mix of Dijon clones 828 & 113. Dry winter, mild spring and summer with handful of days in the low 100s. Normal yields. Harvested 4 tons.
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes: Stainless steel fermented, aged for 16 months sur lees in 100% French oak; 35% new oak. Dark ruby red in color. Dense nose of bright Bing cherry, cranberry, pencil shavings & mint. Secondary aromas of sarsaparilla and orange pekoe tea. Bold, jammy flavors of Bing cherry pie and ripe plum. Long finish of spicy, wild strawberry, and baker’s chocolate framed nicely with fine tannins.
Cases Produced: 250
Harvest Date: September 8th, 2021
Winemaker's Vineyard Notes: The Cabernet Sauvignon is located in Coombsville, made up mostly of gravelly loam and alluvial soils. The Cabernet Franc is from a spot a bit east of the Valley with alluvial soils. Roughly 78% Cab Sauv and 22% Cab Franc. Uneventful, warm spring and summer with a handful of days in upper 90s low 100s. Normal yields.
Winemaker's Tasting Notes: Stainless steel fermented, aged for 22 months sur lees in 100% French oak; 75% new Darnajou barrels. Bottled unfined, unfiltered. Dark purple in color. Deep, rich nose full of red currants, violet, & cassis with hints of bay leaf. Secondary aromas of rhubarb, rose petal, coffee, and tobacco. Bold, ripe flavors of red currants, cassis, blueberry, and baker's chocolate. Loooong finish, framed by supple tannins, pomegranate, a wee bit of tobacco.
Cases Produced: 88
Harvest Dates: Cabernet Sauvignon - September 20, 2021 / Cabernet Franc - October 10th, 2021
When Michelle and I are in NYC we always have a meal at Balthazar. The Balthazar Cookbook is a French bible to me and something I use throughout the year. The Foreword by Robert Hughes is a gift to all those that love the truth behind our most cherished food institutions. Their recipe for mussels nails with our Rose. I polished off a bottle last night while enjoying them with a baguette just to make sure I didn’t lead you astray.
A large crock of mussels seems glamorous late at night and workmanlike at lunch. Shiny and black, mussels evoke images of the Mediterranean, but they're also inexpensive and quick to cook. The broth itself is half the point and the crusty bread is as important as a spoon.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over a low flame. Add the shallots, garlic, celery and thyme. Gently sauté for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Season with a pinch of kosher salt. Add the wine, pepper, and crème fraîche, raise the heat to high. Once the liquid comes to a boil, add the mussels, stir gently, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the mussels open. Add the parsley and stir gently. Serve in large bowls (remembering to discard any unopened mussels), with crusty bread and chilled 2022 Whetstone 'Silvaspoons' Rosé.