By Susan King CS, FWS
We are blessed to live near the world class wine region of Napa Valley. Travelling the twin roads of Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail evokes contentment and tranquility.
Two of my favorite boutique Napa wineries have several characteristics in common – vineyards planted by their families in the 1970’s and now administered by their sons; true farmers and stewards of their properties; off the beaten path on the Vaca Mountains; small and handcrafted production and most importantly, a true passion extending into every bottle of wine.
Tom Farella is the proprietor of his estate in Coombsville, in the hills of the volcanic Vaca Mountains. Tom’s father purchased and planted the vineyards in the 1970’s. Tom studied viticulture at UC Davis, and then set about making wine in France and Oregon, before returning to his home in 1991 to become the winegrower and winemaker for Farella.
Tom demarcated and wrote the specifications that created the AVA for Coombsville, recognizing the unique characteristics imparted by the volcanic soils of the Vaca Mountains. The Coombsville AVA was created in 2011.
The estate is an unadorned, proper farm with a small tasting area. Farella has a tasting room in Napa, however, I encourage you to make an appointment to visit the property itself. It is stepping back in time in Napa. If possible, visit in the late summer/fall when his 100 year old avocado trees are producing fruit. Tom is more than happy to have you take an armload full and they are the best avocados I have ever consumed! Tom is usually available on weekdays, and he will personally walk you through the property and wines.
Farella produce only 1800 cases of wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. Farella has been a winegrower for several premier wineries, including Realm, Far Niente and Opus One to name a few. Tom continues a long term relationship with Realm, whose Farella Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon threw a 98 point score (and $300 per bottle price tag!). The Farella wines are reasonably priced and have a price/performance ratio that is outstanding.
The volcanic soils in the vineyards produce wines of power and structure, while the cooler climate provides for a longer growing season. This combination produces long lived Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah wines – he pulled out wines from the 1990’s that were amazing – still possessing wonderful fruit and acidity. The wines display lovely fruit, while exhibiting many secondary and tertiary qualities – no one note fruit bombs here.
Volker Eisele vineyards and winery are located on the site of Lomita’s Vineyards founded in the 1870’s by Francis Sievers, a German pioneer. The original winery building, some of the tanks, and the original press still remain on the estate.
Volker Eisele is located in Chiles Valley. Frequent fog and elevations of 600-1200 feet, means that Chiles Valley is one of the cooler areas of the Napa Valley, resulting in a long growing season.
Volker Eisele planted the current 60 acres of vineyards in the 1970s, and today his son and daughter in law, Alexander and Catherine Eisele are the owners and vineyard managers with winemaker, Molly Lyman. A leader in organic farming, the estate has been organically farmed since 1974.
The estate is nestled in a beautiful valley at elevations between 900 and 1100 ft of the Vaca Mountains. As with Farella, visiting Volker Eisele is taking a Napa Valley trip down memory lane – a small family farm putting passion in every bottle. Walk the vineyards, and taste the grapes growing on the vine. It really sets into perspective that the wine is made in the vineyard.
Volker Eisele grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The cooler climate, sandy, shale and colluvial soils produce wines of power and elegance. Volker Eisele bottle all estate wines with allocated single blocks as well as a Bordeaux style blend. As with Farella, they have a lovely selection of library wines, where you can truly understand the ageability of these wines.
Susan King, CA, FWS is on staff at Cold Craft, Inc. to assist our wine cellar customers with organizing their wine cellar, pairing foods for special dinners and educational events, etc. Cold Craft customers deserve the best and this is one way we deliver. Susan is a Certified Sommelier and French Wine Scholar and Master of Rhone with the French Wine Society, and WSET Advanced Sommelier.
Should you have a wine cellar concern, wish to schedule your HVAC and Wine cellar maintenance or simply have a question or concern, please do call us at 408.374.7292, [email protected].We are here to assist you with your winery, whether designing a quality wine cabinet or installing a wine cellar. #winecabinets #winecellars