Mark Aselstine
 
October 21, 2013 | Napa Valley | Mark Aselstine

Ahnfeldt Wines

Ahnfeldt WinesAhnfeldt Wines

It appears that when we named our company Uncorked Ventures, we set ourselves up to have plenty of company with that Uncorked term.  The latest folks that we came across with a similar name have a special place in that group because they make some really good wine as well.

During a recent trip we walked into the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa, only to be looking at “Uncorked at Oxbow”.

If you aren’t familiar with the Oxbow Market, it is set up in a similar fashion to other high end food emporiums which bring together a group of separate vendors within a single facility, the concept in many ways is similar to a Farmer’s Market in many ways, but with permanent stalls and typically with more prepared food.  My wife and I have a peculiar affection for the Ferry Building in San Francisco and are anxiously awaiting the opening of something similar in Oakland’s Jack London Square, if that project can ever get off the ground. Given Oakland’s newly found center at the center of the food startup scene in the Bay Area, it makes you wonder why the developer can’t pull that one off-but back to Ahnfeldt and Uncorked at Oxbow.

After a moment, we realized that Uncorked at Oxbow was in effect a tasting room for Ahnfeldt Wines.

That brings us to the important part of the story, Uncorked is more than a standard tasting room where there is wine and frankly not much else.  It features open mic night’s, barrel tastings, blending sessions and generally aims to open the side door to the wineries that we all love and let the general public have a look at how things really get done in Napa.  It’s a really cool idea and a project that deserves our support.

Another reason that the project deserves our support is that Ahnfeldt makes some damn good wine.  Routinely scored at 90 points and above by major wine critics, the winery offers in many ways the essential grapes of Napa Valley: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  When it comes to wine tasting in Napa Valley, people can sometimes be overwhelmed by the number of available choices and winery options.  Ahnfeldt makes itself an interesting and unique place to taste based on both the environment as well as the way they’ve set up their wine program.  It’s always fun to learn a little something when you visit Napa, Ahnfeldt helps there by offering an interesting mix of wines.  As an example, they offer a Napa Valley Merlot, but also a Reserve Merlot from their Hardman Vineyard.  It might be challenge for your palate, but the chance to see the differences inherent to a single vineyard in Napa Valley is a fun thing to taste and try.  Their Cabernet Sauvignon program offers something similar while it additionally offers two single vineyard choices, one from the Mountain District-which is unique because it is one of the highest vineyard sites in Napa, more than 2,000 feet above sea level.

I also appreciate the winery having a couple of other labels available in order to offer a Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and what I think might be the next big thing in Napa, Sangiovese.

In this space we typically talk a bit about the winemaker in question, at Ahnfeldt he really needs little to no introduction for most of our readers-Paul Hobbs who quite simply makes some of the most memorable Cabernet Sauvignon in both North and South America in any given vintage. Hobbs has produced a running number of 95+ point wines, which fits well with Ahnfeldt and what they are trying to accomplish.  Let’s just say I’m sure Hobbs’ services aren’t cheap these days, so it says a lot about the commitment of owners Celeste and Bruce and their commitment to the labels to bring him on board. The couple although married in 2005 have both been part of Napa’s wine scene since the mid 1980’s.  Bruce has grown and sold grapes for years as a side project to his law practice and Celeste opened and operated one of the nicest, smallest and most exclusive bed and breakfast’s in the region.

Uncorked at OxbowThe next time you find yourself in downtown Napa, Uncorked at Oxbow is a great place to check out and enjoy a unique and memorable wine tasting experience.

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