by Sergio Sismondo

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On the west side of the St. Helena Highway, in Yountville, this winery has one of the busiest tasting rooms in the valley. We have been visiting for years and cannot recall a time when there was not at least a small crowd of visitors busy sampling wines at the counter. It is definitely a popular spot, always friendly. The staff was always welcoming, and helpful in answering our many queries during tastings.

Julie Weinstock is Vice-President for Operations, and Jason Fisher is the winemaker. The quality of wines and of service are credits for both.

And by the way, this may be the winery in the area with the largest number of wine varieties in production. There should be something for every taste here.


We were able to sample a variety of wines of many different types: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, and a variety of blends for which this winery is well known. The wines were all very fine and we rated them in the upper 80's and 90's. Following is a table with the wines sampled and our ratings.

Cabernet-Franc, Napa Valley, 2000 89
Cabernet-Franc, Napa Valley, 2001 89
Cabernet-Franc, Napa Valley, Reserve, 2003 90
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2001 89
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2003 93
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Reserve, 1999 88
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Reserve, 2000 90
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Hoopes Estate, Oakville, 2002 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Reserve, 2003 95
Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2001 89
Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2002 86
Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2003 88
Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2005 89
Chardonnay CE2V 2003 88
Chardonnay "Legends" 2005 91
Dolcetto, 2002 89
Gewurztraminer 2002 86
Gewurztraminer 2003 88
Meritage Mr. Coz 2000 95 (1)
Meritage Mr. Coz 2003 95 (1)
Meritage "The Poet", Napa Valley, 1999 90
Meritage "The Poet", Napa Valley, 2003 90
Meritage White"The Novelist", 2004 88
Merlot Napa Valley, 2001 88
Merlot Napa Valley, Reserve, 2002 87
Petite Syrah, Napa Valley, 2003 90
Pinot Grigio, Solano County 2002 87
Pinot Grigio, Solano County 2004 87
Pinot Noir, Yountville, Napa, 2001 88
Pinot Noir, Russian River, 2001 89
Pinot Noir, Russian River, 2002 88
Pinot Noir, Carneros, 2000 89
Red Table Wine "Med Red" 2004 87
Red Table Wine NV01. n/v 89
Sangiovese "Chiaretto" California, 2002 87
Sauvignon Blanc 2001 87
Sauvignon Blanc 2002 87
Sauvignon Blanc CE2V 2001 87
Syrah 2002 86
Tempranillo, Lodi, 2002 87
Vin Santo "Francesca d'Amore" N.V. 88 (2)
Zinfandel "The Zin" Yountville, Napa Valley 2000 89
Zinfandel "The Zin" Sonoma County 2004 89
Zinfandel "The Zin" Lodi 2005 89
Zinfandel "CigarZin" 2005 89

(1) This exceptional meritage was awarded a Gold Medal at the Orange County Fair. Its components are Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet-Franc.

(2) Francesca d'Amore is a particularly pleasant dessert wine, presented in a bottle of distinct shape -- most attractive
  • For best white wine tasted, our choice goes to the Chardonnay CE2V of 2003, which is priced at $40.00 and received our rating of 88.
  • Our choice for best red wine this year goes to the Cabernet-Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Vintage 2003, which sells for $45, and we rated a whopping 93. Another 2003 candidate for best red wine tasted is "Mr. Coz.", a traditional blend of Cabernet-Sauvignon (66%), Merlot (18%), and Cabernet Franc (16%), which sells for $120.00, and which received our rating of 95.
  • This year's choice for the "best value for money" goes to the Russian River Pinot Noir of 2001, which sells for $24, and we rated 89.
All three Pinot Noir wines in the list above are worth buying to take home. The Carneros Pinot Noir 2000 won a Silver Medal at the Los Angeles County Fair Wine Competition.

The winery offers a discount of 10% for purchase of 6 to 11 bottles, and 15% for purchases of 12 or more bottles.


  • Our selection of the best wine we tasted this year is the 1999 Napa Cabernet-Sauvignon, which won Silver Medals at both the 2001 Los Angeles County Fair and at the 2002 San Francisco International Wine Competition. It is priced at $34 per bottle, and our rating was 90.
  • A second choice is also a red wine, the Merlot Reserve, 2001, which is priced at $38 and we have rated 90.
  • Our "Best value for money" choice goes to the Meritage White, 1999, which is priced at $16 and which received our rating of 88.
  • The award winning 2000 Zinfandel was also excellent and is included in the extensive Zinfandel listing in this web site, in the section "Wine Listings / California - Zinfandel".