This year, Clayton wanted to spend his birthday in Napa, so we took the day off and headed up to wine country and spent the day at a few places we hadn’t visited in quite a while. We started at Round Pond’s olive mill, where we arrived just in time to watch fresh olives being pressed into oil (see more here). Then we headed over to Quintessa, where we enjoyed catching up with their recent vintages and walking through the beautiful post-harvest vineyard as the fall colors began to set in.
We’ve always enjoyed Quintessa for what it is–a Bordeaux-style estate that creates one Bordeaux-style wine under the Quintessa label. The tasting consists of a vertical of their past three vintages of Quintessa, paired with cheeses. Make a reservation and expect to learn a lot about the wine during the tasting.
We toured the vineyard and got a behind the scenes look at the production process. Quintessa is an expansive and beautiful estate, covering 280 acres of rolling hills tucked behind the hills on the east side of Rutherford that includes a lake and a private island. The view from the hill above the winery building is stunning. We took in the amazing views while enjoying a glass of Illumination Sauvignon Blanc, which is one of our favorites and is related to Quintessa (it’s produced at the Quintessa estate but sourced from both Napa and Sonoma).
Back in the winery, we followed the journey of the wine from grape to glass. We’ve always admired the unique architecture of the winery. Since the winery is built into the hillside, the entire production process is gravity fed. Grapes are brought in on the roof of the building, and sorted using an optical sorter that eliminates unwanted, poor-quality fruit. The grapes are funnelled through portals in the roof, where they fall directly into steel fermentation tanks.
After fermentation, the grapes are pressed and the wine is aged in French oak barrels in Quintessa’s beautiful caves. After a walk through the caves we headed back upstairs to taste the wine. Quintessa offers a seated, private tasting that is set up beautifully in advance of your arrival.
The wine is served in proper Riedel Bordeaux glasses (see this set deal here). We have the same ones and highly recommend–they are well-proportioned, ergonomic, and dishwasher safe. All the wine is decanted in these elegant Riedel Cornetto decanters. We have the standard size and use it all the time, but they also come in a magnum size, which we think would be quite useful for parties. We loved this water carafe that they used. You could use similar ones like this and this. We headed home with a bottle each of Illumination and the current vintage of Quintessa and had a lovely dinner back in the city.
Thank you to Quintessa for hosting us for such a lovely experience.