Luna and PlumpJack in Napa Valley

Two wineries in Napa Valley — Luna Vineyards and PlumpJack Winery — were recommended by Paul Mabray and Joel Vincent of Vintank, whom I chat with on Twitter. Not surprisingly, both wineries provided noteworthy experiences. Thanks Paul and Joel!

Our first stop was Luna, which has a beautiful tasting room that combines Persian rugs, handcrafted tile floors and mullioned panes of glass. Three wines topped my list for very different reasons.

  • 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is, quite simply, a taste of Heaven — rich, intense, excellent,  and one of the best cabs ever.
  • 2007 Sangiovese Napa Valley is a heavier-than-usual Sangiovese with a smooth mouthfeel; I liked it even better than the 2006 Sangiovese Reserve Napa Valley, to the surprise of our friendly hostess in the tasting room.
  • Freakout – Luna’s fun secondary label – blends varying amounts of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and a little-known Italian varietal, Ribolla Gialla, from Vare Vineyards in Napa Valley, the only United States vineyard producing this grape. It was a refreshing start to our visit on a hot sunny Napa Valley day.

Next, we stopped at PlumpJack Winery, which was established in 1881 and now owned by Gordon Getty. The main building, completed in 1883, is still used today. The tasting room is light and airy, with a deck just made for drinking wine! Again, three wines stood out (with special thanks to Joshua Zanow who stayed late to pour them):

  • 2007 CADE Sauvignon Blanc is fleshed out by 14% semillon and makes me think of lazy summer days on the deck with a bowl of juicy prawns or good cheese. I continue to marvel at how much I enjoyed Sauv Blanc on this trip to Napa, and PlumpJack offers one of the best.
  • 2006 PlumpJack Syrah is a cult favorite that won 92 points from Robert Parker and is a complex full-bodied wine that would be paired well with barbequed ribs. This was one of our favorite Syrahs in Napa Valley (although I’d like a side-by-side tasting with a few of our favorite Washington state Syrahs).
  • 2006 PlumpJack Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is dense and pure Napa Valley.

Judging by the content of this post, it must be time for dinner! Dave, start up the barbeque. I’ll go open a bottle of Cab. Or Syrah? Decisions, decisions!