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Nor Cal Edition - Feb 11, 2011

Nor Cal Edition - Feb 11, 2011

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WINERIES

28

S U I S U N V A L L E Y

Benefits of Joining the Vezer Family Vineyard Wine Club

29

Sign up for our email newsletter at www.WineCountryThisWeek.com

Napa’s Back Road

WINE COUNTRY NEWS | WINE COUNTRY THIS WEEK

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards has long
produced world-class award-winning wines
and we take special pride in our two Cabernet
Sauvignon based wines: our flagship wine
Insignia and the Backus Vineyard Cabernet
Sauvignon. These two wines represent oppo-
site ends of the spectrum in approaches to
winemaking: the art of blending vineyards
and varietals versus a single-vineyard
approach. Insignia represents the art of the
blend: the best blend from what our estate
vineyards located throughout Napa Valley can
produce and the best blend of available estate
Bordeaux varietals in any given vintage.
Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon repre-
sents the best of what a single vineyard can
produce year after year, and from a very
unique terroir.

When Joe Phelps envisioned the term
“Insignia,” it was to represent the finest lots of
Bordeaux grape varietals available from each
vintage. Originally sourced from the best
grower fruit, beginning with the 1990 vintage
Insignia was produced primarily from estate-
grown grapes in the Stags Leap District and
Rutherford Bench – two of the most desirable
sources for Cabernet Sauvignon in California.

Since the 2004 vintage, Insignia has been
crafted entirely from Estate Vineyards.
In its 35 years of existence, Insignia has
consistently ranked among the top wines in
California, if not the world. Our 2007
Insignia, released September 1, 2010,
received 98 points from Robert Parker, Jr.’s
Wine Advocate, 96 points from Wine Spec-
tator, 94 points from Stephen Tanzer’s Inter-
national Wine Cellar, 94 points from Wine
Enthusiast, 95 points from James Suckling
and 96 points from Connoisseur’s Guide to
California Wine.
Since the release of the first Insignia
vintage in 1974, it has received 90 points or
greater in every vintage but two. And since
1990, Insignia has been rated 90 points or
higher every year by both Wine Spectator and
Robert Parker, Jr.’s The Wine Advocate. In
fact, The Wine Spectator has named Insignia
its #1 Wine of the Year (2002 vintage), #3
Wine of the Year (1994 vintage), and #5 Wine
of the Year (1997 vintage) and it has been
designated a Cellar Selection five times in
addition to the “Top 100” awards.
Located on the southeastern corner of
Silverado Trail and Oakville Cross Road, the
Backus Vineyard has long been known for its
iron-rich, steeply-terraced hillside soil and
exceptional fruit. A picturesque, copper-
roofed stone smokehouse sits in the midst of
the vineyard and is visible from the Silverado
Trail.

In December of 1996, after having held a
long-term lease on the property since 1977,
Joseph Phelps Vineyards purchased the entire
45-acre parcel. Subsequent development
increased plantings to 21.5 acres and all of the
work was done by hand. No tractors, trucks
or ATVs were utilized in the preparing and
planting of the vineyard. Workers used
shovels and picks, pounded stakes by hand
and pick-axed through rock to lay and bury
irrigation lines, end posts and trellis wiring.
Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is
distinctive for producing flavors and aromas
of dark chocolate, black fruit, graphite and

minerals, followed by lush, sweet and lengthy
tannins. The 2007 Backus Vineyard Cabernet
Sauvignon was rated 97 points from Robert
Parker, Jr.’s The Wine Advocate, 96 points by
James Suckling, 97 points and “Wine of the
Year” from Connoisseur’s Guide to California
Wine, 95 points from Wine Enthusiast and
96 points from Wine Spectator. This limited
production wine is available exclusively
through our hospitality guest center.

Tastings and Seminars
at Joseph Phelps Vineyards

We offer a total of five different seminars,
which are semi-private tastings, hosted in the
Great Hall by appointment only. These tast-
ings include a sampling of current releases
and our flagship wine, Insignia.
Seminar-style tastingsare held weekdays
at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and weekends at
11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Each of these popular
tastings embraces a wide variety of topics
geared to both the novice and those with
broader knowledge. All are semi-private
(limited to 12 guests) and last 90 minutes.
Cost is $40 per person for all seminars except
the Insignia Blending and Single Vineyard
Cabernet Seminars which are $60 per person.

Insignia and Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Two Award-Winning Wines from Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Insignia Blending Seminar:Play winemaker for the day in our
Insignia Blending Seminar. Experiment with blending Insignia
components, then taste and compare your blend with our current
vintage. Note: this seminar is $60 per person.
Single Vineyard Cabernets:Explore the notion that location, soil
and climate will help determine the taste of the wine. In this seminar,
we will taste Cabernet Sauvignon from different estate vineyards and
compare Insignia which is produced from six estate vineyards with the
single vineyard Backus Cabernet Sauvignon from our Oakville estate
vineyard. Note: this seminar is $60 per person.
Barrel Seminar:Explore winemaking in general and the specific
place that the barrel holds in the development of a wine. In addition
to the current releases, taste four barrel samples of our Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon and experience twelve different aromas found in
wines that are aged in barrels.
Wine Aroma Challenge:Identify six white and six red wine
aromas in the “Aroma Identity” challenge and sharpen your ability to
identify aromas in wine.
Freestone and Phelps:Explore the history of Joseph Phelps Vine-
yards and how its commitment to excellence led to the establishment
of Freestone Vineyards, located in the Sonoma Coast AVA.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Freestone will be followed by Napa
Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and our flagship wine, Insignia.
Terrace Tastings:We offer a casual tasting throughout the day
scheduled on the half hour starting at 10 a.m. “Terrace Tastings” are a
more relaxed tasting of six current release wines, including our flag-
ship wine, Insignia. The last “Terrace Tasting” available is 3:30 p.m.,
Monday through Friday, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. These
tastings are offered daily and the cost is $25 per person.

We welcome the opportunity to host you at the winery. Please call the

Guest Center directly at 800-707-5789 or (707) 967-3720 to make your

reservation or visit our website at www.josephphelps.com.

www.WineCountryThisWeek.com

WINE COUNTRY THIS WEEK | WINE COUNTRY NEWS

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Tasting Room of the Week:

Ehlers Estate

by Michelle J. Baker

Make a plan this month to visit Ehlers
Estate, where luscious handmade chocolates
are sharing the big stage with the winery’s rich
and delicious estate red wines in their annual
“Perfectly Paired Wine and Chocolate” event.
Ehlers Estate’s is honoring this classic
match all month long, and to partake you just
need to give the winery a call to set up an
appointment. You’ll swoon over the pairings,
which include the Ehlers Estate Cabernet
Franc with Woodhouse Thai Ginger; the
Ehlers Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “1886”
with Woodhouse Honey Chocolate, and the
Ehlers Estate Merlot with Woodhouse Wild
Cherry Chocolate.
It’s a natural to celebrate these two heart-
healthy palate pleasers at Ehlers Estate, a
winery whose entire profits go to the Leduqc
Foundation, a highly regarded, not-for-profit
foundation dedicated to funding interna-
tional cardiovascular research.
Jean and Sylviane Leducq first purchased
the historic Ehlers Vineyard in 1985. By
2001, the Leducqs had added some neigh-
boring vineyard parcels to create an estate of
more than 40 acres.

Today the estate vineyards are planted to
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc,
Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc.
The Ehlers Estate wines are all estate-
grown –the winery doesn’t buy or sell grapes.
It’s also farmed organically and biodynami-
cally, with a full-time, year-round staff of
about 12 charged with shepherding the fruit
from vine to bottle. Ehlers Estate’s impressive
wines are made under the meticulous eye of
Kevin Morrisey, whose resume includes stints
at Château Pétrus, the legendary bordeaux
house in Pomerol, as well as Stags’ Leap
Winery and Etude.
The heart of the estate is Bernard Ehlers

original stone winery, circa 1886, which now
serves as tasting-central for Ehlers Estate. A
recent makeover in the tasting room has
made the place positively cushy, with three
separate “living rooms” where visitors can sit
and relax, plus two handcrafted farmhouse
tables that can accommodate groups up to
12.

In addition to private wine tastings at
Ehlers Estate, currently there are also wine
and food pairings available and a tour of the
estate, organic and biodynamic vineyards,
complete with a stop in the barrel room. Here
you can taste the future of Ehlers Estate with
a barrel sample then end with a sit down wine
and Woodhouse Chocolate pairing that
includes the very popular and small produc-
tion 2008 Cabernet Franc!
To make a reservation for “Perfectly Paired
Wine and Chocolate,” which includes a tour
of the beautiful estate, barrel tasting and a
small gift box of chocolates, call Ehlers Estate
at (707) 963-5972.

EHLERS ESTATE

By appointment 9:30am - 4:30pm daily
3222 Ehlers Lane, St. Helena
(707) 963-5972 | www.ehlersestate.com

©laura norcia vitale 2011

WINE COUNTRY NEWS | WINE COUNTRY THIS WEEK

33

www.WineCountryThisWeek.com

OAKVILLE CROSS RD.

PRATT AVE

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WASHINGTON

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HARDMA
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Calistoga

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RAS Galleries

Even owner Ronda Schaer could not have
envisioned that her affection for the little
village of Yountville would someday blossom
into a full-blown love affair. “This is a town
that you can get your arms around.” Twenty
years ago she did just that. With the opening
of her now famous art gallery, RAS Galleries,
Ronda has embraced her community and
graced it with one of its most successful and
admired businesses.
It was her passion for art, and glass in
particular, that moved Ms. Schaer to open a
gallery. “I have always been drawn to glass.”
But it was the work of American glass artists
that really captured her heart. Representing
more than two hundred American artists, the
gallery has become one of the premiere
venues in which to experience the drama,
imagery and vision of this artistic medium.
The gallery also features the work of some
extremely gifted fine artists, with original oil
paintings from artists throughout California
and the Pacific Northwest, as well as the
Eastern Seaboard and point in between. The
whimsical chefs of ceramic artist, Cynthia
Hipkiss are also a favorite of collectors.
Says Ronda, “I created RAsgalleries with a
singular focus on Original American Art,
primarily Art Glass, my personal passion.
And I’m proud that after twenty years in the
same Yountville, Napa Valley location, the
passion remains.”
RASgalleries is located at 6540 Wash-
ington Street, next to Bouchon in Yountville
and is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.,
Tuesday by appointment. Phone (707) 944-
9211.

Old romantic stone winery? Check.

Designer labels? Check. Fine art? Yep. Award-

winning wines? Delicious food? Absolutely!

Head no further than V Marketplace –a desti-

nation gem at the heart of historic Yountville in

Napa Valley.

V Marketplace is a unique collection of

contemporary shops, superb galleries and, of

course, world-class wine boutiques that even

the most traveled-of-tourists and local-of-locals

will enjoy. Set in the old Groezinger Winery,

(circa 1870 and listed on the United States

Registry of Historic Places), it has been restored

so that the time-worn bricks, cobblestones and

exposed wood architecture of one of Napa’s

oldest wineries stylishly houses some of the best

places to find Napa Valley winemakers, artisans,

designers and chefs.

V Marketplace is open seven days a week, 10

a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (except restaurants and

winebars) and is located at 6525 Washington

Street in Yountville, Napa Valley. Exit Veterans

Home Exit from CA Highway 29. Visit

www.vmarketplace.com or call (707) 944-2451

for more details.

Tay & Grace

A shop in which to get happily lost! enjoy an entire store of smartly selected,
chic, casual clothes for today’s more “with-it” woman. laurie B, Michael
Starz, twisted heart, Velvet and language are only a handful of trend-setting
lines carried at tay & grace.

i.elle

Sumptuous women’s clothing for all ages and all lifestyles. chic dresses,

stylish pants, trim skirts, and wide-brim hats? no wonder i.elle has been

voted the best women’s clothing store in wine country!

Domaine Home & Garden

italian serving-ware, sparkling wine glasses, cherry-wood wine storage,

handcrafted furniture, wine country artistry and tranquil garden fountains –

the perfect store to treat yourself and your loved ones!

NapaStyle

flagship destination and winebar of chef and wine country personality

Michael chiarello, napaStyle is at once a home and kitchen store for hand-

crafted, exclusive goods as well as artisan panini-deli and intimate

winebar – all of which reminisce on the very best italian influences in

northern california.

Gallery 1870

classically capturing the beauty of wine country, gallery 1870’s two shops

buttress two sides of the beautiful cobblestone atrium and showcases

museum-quality fine art for the most exclusive collectors. even Queen eliza-

beth boasts oil paintings by Ashot, one of gallery 1870’s premium artists, in

Buckingham Palace.

NapaStyle Paninoteca & Wine Bar

Sample small lot, artisan and even rare wines in casual luxury! Sit back and

enjoy the warm sunlight as sommeliers discuss featured wines and pour tast-

ings of napa Valley wines. or gnosh on delish, handmade paninis made to

order! Wines are available to taste, by the glass and purchase. napaStyle is

open until 8 p.m. thursday through Saturday nights.

Follow us on Twitter @WineCountryTW

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WEBBER ST

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BellWine

VMARKETPLACE

JESSUPCELLARS

V MARKETPLACE:

APPAREL
i.elle
Lemondrops
Sisters
Tay & Grace
Vianett
HOME
A Little Romance
California & Vine
Domain Home & Garden
NapaStyle

GALLERIES
Blue Heron
Gallery 1870
North Bay Gallery
WINE TASTING
NapaStyle
V Wine Cellar
INDULGENCES
Soluna Boutique Salon
DINING
Bottega
NapaStyle
Pacific Blues Cafe

CORNERSTONE
CELLARS

Page Wine Cellars

RASGALLERIES

Girard

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Domaine Chandon

Keever

Hope andGrace

HillFamily
Estate

Elyse

Ma(i)sonry

Somerston Ranch

CALIFORNIA DR

VINEYARD VIEW - PRIVATE

HOFFMAN

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