It was definitely one of the most fun wine tastings we did on our last trip to Northern California. We had passed Jessup Cellars on our many past trips through Yountville, and while we had peeked inside, we never went in for a tasting. Likely, it was because I usually over schedule our Napa and Sonoma trips, something I have learned not to do after this last visit.
A few weeks prior to our travels, I received a press release about Jessup Cellars’ Tastemaker Speaker Series, and after a few emails back and forth had a tasting appointment for our Napa Valley Day.
We arrived at Jessup Cellars on the most beautiful day ever, and Yountville was buzzing with great energy. We checked in at the front and made our way past the tasting bar to a private little room where we met Tracy and Ashley, the two most delightful women who made our tasting fantastic.
Before we started in on the wine, we took a little stroll around the adjoining art gallery.
The gallery, which is also used for wine club tastings, features rotating art displays. Below you can literally see how wine looks through a microscope. Beautiful, isn’t it?
The space is bright and airy, and there’s always something to see.
After our brief tour, we returned to the room set up for our tasting.
Our tasting lineup included 2011 Carneros Chardonnay, 2010 Napa Valley Zinfandel (which I am drinking as I type this), 2009 Napa Valley Merlot, 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2009 Napa Valley “Table for Four”. There was definitely a lemony, tart, and delectable Sauvignon Blanc thrown in there, perfectly refreshing for the hot and sunny day.
In addition to wine, glasses, and a tasting selection list, there were different food items on the table. One dish contained slices of apple, a lemon slice, and salt while another offered cheese, dark chocolate, and nuts.
We tasted different wines with little bites and noted how the flavor of the food item affected the wine, for better or for worse. It was a great little lesson in food and wine pairing; some flavors were dulled, whereas others were heightened. Tasting a sweet apple with the Chardonnay made the wine a little more tart and oaky, while tasting a lemon with it boosted its sweetness.
The weight of each food versus that of each wine was evident when tasting side-by-side. It was a fun and tasty little lesson. The Zinfandel and chocolate were a favorite pairing.
As for the wines? They were all exquisite, and we left with a few favorite bottles. Always on a quest for beautifully balanced Chardonnay, I fell in love with the Chardonnay at Jessup Cellars, Creamy, yet fresh, fruity, and tart, this will make a great boat wine, perfect for sipping on a Sunday with great friends and seafood.
We were also really big fans of the Merlot, which offers flavors of wild blueberries, cocoa, and a little bit of smoke. The Zinfandel, well, since it’s the freshest in my memory until we open the others, let’s just say it’s everything a Zinfandel should be; bold, fruity without being over-the-top, spicy, and perfect for the pulled pork we had for dinner tonight. So many people think of Zinfandel as more of a winter wine because it can be so big, but give me some smoky BBQ pulled meat and a glass of this Jessup Cellars Zinfandel on a hot summer day and you will have a happy girl.
Many thanks to Jessup Cellars for hosting our tasting and for being so incredibly warm and welcoming. We will be back soon!