Davies vineyard PatioTasting_1730

Winery of the Week: Davies Vineyards

Many know the story of Schramsberg Vineyards and its forward-thinking owners Jack and Jamie Davies. Thanks in great part to their vision and dedication, Napa is among the pre-eminent sparkling wine regions in the world. Napa is known for something else, too. Red wine. Enter the Davies again and Davies Vineyards, whose tasting room is located in St. Helena about seven miles from Schramsberg’s beloved caves and tasting center.

While the Davies initially planted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes for use in sparkling wine, they eventually found some of their vineyards – notably those that were in more southern regions – were better suited to red wine grapes, especially Cabernet Sauvignon. Through the Davies brand, the couple tried their hand at cultivating Cabernet, and the results were rich, bold and quickly coveted across California and beyond. Given second-generation vintner Hugh Davies and winemaker Sean Thompson also had Pinot Noir vineyards already planted, they eventually expanded into making Pinot Noir versus using all of it for sparkling wine as well. The result? Another hit on their hands.

Davies Vineyard

The red wine labels grew rapidly. So much so, Hugh (Jack passed in 1998 and Jamie in 2008) opened the stand-alone Davies Vineyards tasting room in 2017 in a multi-level space made from local cobblestones and reclaimed barn wood. The interior comes as a surprise to many guests with its rich woods, floor-to-ceiling glass and intricate chandeliers made from the metal that holds together wine barrels. It even boasts a full-scale commercial kitchen, which allows the hospitality team’s imaginations to run wild with pairing possibilities.

When visiting, there is certainly no going wrong saddling up to the cozy fireplace or making a reservation for one of the more intimate tables set off from the main lobby to indulge in select reds, or a combination of Davies reds and Schramsberg sparkling wines for $60 to $70 per person. But why not get the full experience by seeing what that commercial kitchen and the culinary team can do?

The culinary offerings can change based on season or menu updates, but right now there is a doozy.

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m., Davies Vineyards features a Bubbles and Caviar Brunch. Starting at $160 per person and with red wines available for an enhanced charge (yes, add them on!), this pairing focuses on the best sips to complement Regiis Ova caviar, sautéed leeks and Gruyere quiche, locally smoked salmon, and vanilla pots de crème. It is as rich and indulgent as it sounds. Even more so, in fact. But do not leave without sampling through the Cabernet and Pinot Noirs as well.

Davies vineyard MainEntrance

Or why not grab a few bottles to go (or online to enjoy right now)? Right now, we are loving:

2019 Napa Valley Carneros Pinot Noir: While there is mouthwatering cherry and warming baking spice here as in most pinots, it is the hints of strawberry and black currant playing with the more common flavors that really set this one apart. There is an ultra-light sweetness that plays well with the tart flavors as well. $50

2019 Three Amigos Vineyard Pinot Noir: While it would be iconic if this wine were homage to the Steve Martin-Martin Short-Chevy Chase classic, it is actually named to honor the vineyard from which the fruit is sourced. Again, there is some cherry, but this time it is complemented by cocoa nibs and raspberries before moving into more zesty notes at the finish. $75

2019 Criscione Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: Bold by design, this is a Cabernet for serious cab drinkers. It is not messing around, opening with a burst of berry salad (yes, they all seem to be there!) and dried tobacco. It will taste a little different on every palate, with tasters getting vanilla straight away and others chocolate. Plum is certainly there, too. This one can create quite the lively debate at wine tasting with friends. $125

2018 J. Davies Estate Jamie Cabernet Sauvignon: The name alone should give away how special of a vintage this is. It is a celebration of dark fruits enhanced by subtle chocolate and spice notes; its texture is pure silk. $245

For more information, visit www.daviesvineyards.com.

1210 Grayson Ave.
St. Helena, CA 94574

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