The Napa Soda Springs, Part #1

Hossfeld Vineyards:

A fantastic piece about the special property across the way from our vineyard

Originally posted on Camshaft:

Napa Soda Springs stereoscopic card - late 1800s Napa Soda Springs stereoscopic card – late 1800s

Throughout the counties of Sonoma, Lake and Napa, which had made up General Vallejo’s immense frontier, were sprinkled hot springs and sulphur springs and iron springs, bubbling their assumedly health-giving waters from deep beneath the surface of the earth. Among these many sites of spiritual and physical relaxation and rejuvenation was the Napa Soda Springs, frequented for centuries previously by Native Americans. The site has a long history of squabble and success and was the original destination for well-to-do San Franciscans before the lure of upscale wineries and hundred dollar bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Located shortly up the Soda Canyon in the Napa Valley, the location was easily accessible by carriage compared to the more difficult spring locations such as Mark West, the Geysers at Calistoga or Bartlett Springs in Lake County. Also, for fifteen dollars a week, the Napa Soda Springs…

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Our New Biodynamic CSA Box Program

Hi everyone, we are excited to announce that we are two quarters into our new CSA box program. There is still time left to sign up for our current term that will end 4/3. Or feel free to join our next term which will be from 4/10-6/26 , each delivery is ready for pick up on Thursdays and it is $30/box making the new term $360 per share. Each box is comprised of 6-10 items and includes a newsletter with recipes and notes from the farm.

We feature all sorts of heirloom crops throughout their respective seasons. Currently we are enjoying delicious giant Spinach leaves, purple Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Asian green Stir Fry mix, purple and green Pak Choi, variety of Kales, an array of Radishes, Rapini, a variety of herbs, garlic and our all time favorite home made sprouts (lentil, alfalfa, clover, mung beans, and more)

All of our produce is started by seed in soil blocks, no plastic needed. We use all organic components , Biodynamic compost and all of the Demeter certified Biodynamic preparations.

Feel free  to email us with any questions this is currently Napa’s only Biodynamic CSA box program.

To join our CSA program we ask for payment ahead of time.

Wine of the week: Sean Thackrey 2008 Andromeda Pinot Noir

Upon our sensational tour of Sean Thackrey’s winery we were won over by the 2008 Adromeda Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Marin County Pinot Noir and that is why we chose it as our wine of the week.

2008 AndromedaWe loved our visit and of course the wines but we were thrilled to see the ‘barn’ and getting to know the ‘mascots’ aka the two taxidermied African Grey parrots adorning one of the walls of the winery,  perhaps an acquisition from his earlier art collecting days or a gift from a girlfriend .

Excellent artwork by Wendy Macnaughton

Excellent artwork by Wendy Macnaughton

To capture a glimpse of Sean Thackrey and his artistry in the mortal world of winemaking check out Wendy Macnaughton’s artwork 

This was a wine that the winemaker pulled back and then re-released when it was drinking beautifully. Thankfully and graciously we acquired a bottle of this fabulous gem of a Pinot Noir.  

From start to finish this wine had such a smooth texture, great color, and lush body. WIth earthy notes, pert acid,  a little tobacco and bergamot tea, it even paired well with sushi almost as unconventional as the winemaking practices of this coveted winemaker.

Hossfeld Vineyards ladies and Sean Thackrey

Hossfeld Vineyards ladies and Sean Thackrey

We are looking forward to our next bottle of wine crafted by Sean Thackrey .


Wine of the week: 1982 Acacia ‘Iund Vineyard’ Pinot Noir

This is a definite throw back wine that we chose as wine of the week. We were graciously poured this fabulous relic of Carneros history at the Acacia Vineyard. Accompanied by the grower himself , Mr. Iund,  it was fabulous to receive celeb-status treatment at the winery.

One of the oldest Acacia Pinot's that we have ever tasted. A 1982 Iund Vineyard designate. Suprisingly delightful

One of the oldest Acacia Pinot’s that we have ever tasted. A 1982 Iund vineyard designate. Suprisingly delightful

Well over 30 years old this wine didn’t taste like a mud-caked old leather vineyard boot sans steel toe. Upon opening the aromatics were on a more cooked cabbage note but after about 20 minutes its fruit did come through. It had great Earl Grey tea components and had held up well despite its age. We were thankful it wasn’t vinegar. The tasting room staff , the other tasters and Mr. Iund himself were tickled pink or rosé should I say at this opportunity to try such an old vintage and a vineyard designate with the actual grapegrower present.  Everyone enjoyed the good old grape growing stories of this early relationship between Acacia and the Iund vineyard.

tasting menu at Acacia Winery

We loved comparing the old label to the newer style labels that Acacia has adopted throughout the years. We hope to see more Napa Carneros Pinot Noirs and wines on their tasting menu in the future.


Winery of the week: Robert Mondavi Winery

Truthfully, we hardly visit any of the big name wineries in Napa especially with their affiliation with the corporate world. However, we were extremely and pleasantly surprised during our visit at the Robert Mondavi Winery. We thoroughly enjoyed  our behind the scenes tour with the new red wines winemaker, Nova Cadamatre

Archiving our moment here at Mondavi.
Archiving our moment here at Mondavi.

Robert Mondavi Winery is an integral part to the history of the Napa Valley that is why we picked it as our winery of the week for this week.

Red barrel storage at Mondavi
Never ending red barrel storage rooms at Robert Mondavi. Sensational!

One thing among the many that caught our attention and changed our tune of this Napa iconic winery was that the wines were phenomenal. A lot of care and attention is given to each wine no matter which category it falls under. Also, they do a lot to maintain their distinct presence and of course their lock down on some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the Napa valley, namely the iconic To Kalon vineyards. This winery does seem timeless perhaps that is attributed to the finesse that encompasses the whole operation.  Although they try out new events, I am glad the corporation hasn’t ran this beauty into the ground and has maintained its integrity on the To Kalon series wines.

Veraison at the Mondavi Winery
Veraison at the Mondavi Winery

Offering multiple wine tasting options in a variety of locations, each tastefully decorated. Along the tour through the winery, artwork from the Mondavi’s personal collection adorns the walls . There are lovely tributes to Robert and Margrit Mondavi throughout the property. When we were visiting we happened to catch a few glimpses of veraison. Which always puts us in a great mood knowing that harvest is on the horizon.

The infamous To Kalon room, with lots of Oak Punch Ins.
The infamous To Kalon room, with lots of Oak Punch Ins.

Leaving their pleasantly surprised , we feel comfortable recommending that everyone visits Mondavi and checks this winery off their proverbial wine country tasting list.

Join us today for a fabulous bike tour exploring the Carneros region where Mondavi sources some of their best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Stay off of the busy Highway and enjoy the country roads of Carneros.

2013 Pre-Harvest Update

The 2013 vintage is shaping up to be a delectable and opulent vintage. Differing slightly from last year’s abundance, we have a more balanced crop load and an official early veraison date. We are all purple and on the way to ripening by August 9th, way earlier than last year and we won’t even go to the historical veraison date for the dreaded 2011 vintage, definitely gave us a couple of wrinkles and maybe a few grey hairs.

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Absolutely gorgeous is how we can describe the beautifully placed and highly sought after two clusters per shoot on the Cabernet Sauvignon canes and the lovely cascading clusters of Merlot peeking out among the leaves to absorb the sunshine. We started irrigating earlier than previous years due to the dry winter to ensure we would have sufficient canopy to last until the last pick , which this year looks like it will be the Petit Verdot in the Coliseum block.

Though this week we have been seeing cooler than usual temperatures, it isn’t affecting us negatively at all because we are hillside select and the heat radiates off of the rocks heating up the canopy and the grapes beautifully without causing sunburn, yay!

All growers place bets on the first pick, we have $10 in the pot for a mid September for Merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon seems to be maturing for an October pick like usual.

Here is to a great vintage, cheers!

Winery of the week: Palmaz Vineyards

Interested in exploring one of the newest appellations in Napa? This would be the Coombsville appellation consisting of some of the best hidden gems and delicious red wines all sourced from this cool climate in the Eastern hills of the southern Napa Valley.

Palmaz VineyardsIf looking for a heritage site home to one of the founding tradesmen and winemakers of the Napa Valley during the early 1800s , the old Hagen estate now currently known as Palmaz Vineyards  is a place to visit on your next tasting adventure in Coombsville.The winery and vineyards are subliminal and the food pairing that goes along with the tasting is stellar.

Founded by Dr. Palmaz, he purchased the land in the late 1990’s and developed it into a beautiful estate where efficiency is key for all of these small batch lots. From the vineyards to the bottling, great care is taken to not damage not even a single berry and to not over manipulate the wine  so that it retains its true expression from the vineyard. Meticulous farming and gravity flow are two key components that take these wines to the next level.

Upon our visit, our tour guide Doug, whom is also a resident of the cellar crew , gave us an in depth tour covering the many subterranean stories of Palmaz. He demonstrated their sustainable operations, showing us the carousel of tanks that move around by an almost glammed up crow’s nest where the controller sits during the crush.

Palmaz Vineyards

Hand selected and hand sorted, sorting roughly 8 tons per day is the name of the game for this wine making team and for this lucrative brand. Sharing an Argentine heritage, these bold wines pair well with the big BBQ that adorns the Tuscan patio on one of the few stories that aren’t subterranean in this winery.

Our favorite wine out of the tasting was the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, great tannins and will get better and better with age.

Delightful food pairing with the tasting.

Delightful food pairing with the tasting.

We love this hidden gem, nestled up against Mt. George and allowing us to glimpse one of the oldest original estates in Eastern Napa Valley.

Cheers to our next adventure!