Napa Cellars Chardonnay
Drive along the St Helena Highway (AKA Highway 29) through the heart of the Napa Valley and once in Oakville (one of the most renowned, celebrated and expensive wine regions in the world), one of the first wineries you’ll come across is Napa Cellars and their beautiful little tasting room and garden. But what you’ll find there differs slightly to many of their neighbours in that you won’t find rare, $1000 dollar a bottle Cabernet, but instead, somewhat unusually for Napa, you’ll taste a portfolio of incredible value wines, all from the valley itself and totally representative of their place.
Napa Cellars was founded in 1976 by Charlie Woods, and they’re still based on the same 5 acre site in the heart of Napa today. While the ownership has changed a few times down the years, it has always attracted some of the biggest names in Californian wine, and today is the property of Trinchero Wine Estates, themselves an iconic name in Napa Valley.
Winemaker Joe Shirley grew up in the Napa Valley, but didn’t actually have much interest in the subject until he met an influential wine buyer while in England. Upon his return he realised his calling and after graduating with a Masters in enology from renowned UC Davis, he quickly became a well known name. His philosophy goes hand in hand with the vision at Napa Cellars…
“In its purest form, wine is a reflection of our relationship to the natural world. We craft these wines to illuminate that world—the texture of the soil, the path of the roots, the slope of a specific hill, the aroma of a particular grape. Every sip is intended to evoke what is unmatched by any other place, what is indisputably Napa Valley in its tone and tenor.
I don’t try to put a big winemaker signature on my wines - the terroir of the vineyards here is so distinct, so extraordinary; I simply guide the wine toward the purest interpretation of the land.”
The bottom line with Napa Cellars is that if you want to know what Napa is all about without breaking the bank then these wines are a great place to start. They have a simple philosophy there, based around their love and respect for the region, and it comes across in the bottle with flair.