Wine tasting, in and of itself, is a wonderful experience. Exploring the aromas, sorting through the flavors, the weight of the wine, and, oh yes, the finish. How long does it linger? Does the wine call you back for more? That alone is a pleasure.
What about having a thoughtful, established, well-educated, experienced winemaker to taste through the wines with, as well? What about that opportunity? That is a very cool scenario. That is just what it is to taste wine at Spelletich Family Winery.
This is a small, family-owned winery that has been in business since 1994 in the Napa Valley. Just recently, they opened a tasting room in an industrial setting just north of the Meritage Hotel in the southern part of the Valley. It is situated in what has become known as the “Crusher Wine District.” Many fine wine, boutique wineries are located in the area. While in an industrial setting, the tasting room is welcoming and comfortable.
Barb Spelletich is the winemaker and co-owner. She also hosts the tasting experience with guests. And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Two big reasons – the information/education and, of course, the wine. Barb lets you enjoy the wine and provides great background about the evolution and the blending of the wine. For her, winemaking is akin to the artistry of a chef. It is about balancing flavors and aromas to produce a great product that then translates into a pleasurable experience for the individual. While there is great art in both, she also fully appreciates the science of her craft. The opportunity is here to have a great educational experience with a winemaker and sip well-crafted wine.
On our visit, I was really impressed with the first wine, which was a 2011 Chardonnay that had not been through malolactic fermentation. Really – this was a five-year-old Chardonnay that tasted fruity and fresh. We then sipped a 2013 Pinot Noir that was a wonderful expression of the varietal. My favorite from the morning, though, was the 2010 Estate Cabernet. It was well-balanced, dark black fruit that lingered on the palate. It paired beautifully with my steak at dinner that night. The combination of the cabernet and a steak was a must have after tasting the cabernet earlier that day,
This was a really educational, informative visit at Spelletich. You do not often get the chance to taste through wines with the individual who crafted them. I really encourage you to take the opportunity to schedule a tasting when you are in the Valley. A great opportunity to be educated and enjoy the wine experience.