My ideal way of spending my days off in Napa Valley is to start it with a great hike either through the Calistoga Palisades or take a vineyard walk at a friend’s property with my dog Ramsey and then follow it with a delicious lunch, maybe with a little bubbly, Rose or super-crisp White to refresh and wake up the palate. With the right combination of friends, there are few ways that can top a relaxing day like this.
Last Saturday entailed exactly that, thanks to my friends and hosts for the day, Liz & Jamie Leahy of Marston Family Vineyard. With friends Kelli White and Scott Brenner, co-wine directors of our sister restaurant Press in St. Helena, and all of our dogs in tow, we enjoyed our day walking the vineyards, tasting a little 2003 Schramsberg Reserve and then sitting down for a lunch including my three favorites – a crisp, great White (2011 Albion White), older vintage wine (1984 and 1999 MFV Cab) and a casual, family-style lunch of salads and platters of delicious, local artisan meats and cheeses. To finish the meal, Liz brought out a plate of fresh raspberries and blackberries with MFV-stamped Woodhouse dark chocolate. - Kerrin Laz, Wine Director
In my mind, Marston (MFV) has been one of the premier Spring Mountain wineries since the late 1990’s. Ranging about 700-1100 feet in elevation on Spring Mountain, this Napa Valley estate vineyard and winery encompasses more than 500 acres of total land, of which 40 acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and a row or two of Tokay (originally accidental but now intentional). Most of their fruit is sold to Beringer Winery but they do keep a few tons back for themselves to make their own Cabernet. Their signature profile is a Cab of intense flavor, nuance and most importantly balance. It represents a complete wine that's unique to the terroir at MFV.
They also produce Albion White, a small production Sauvignon Blanc that delivers crisp flavor and focus. Unfortunately, this Sauvignon Blanc sourced from Gamble Ranch in Yountville sees a production of a 100-200 cases annually. A perfect afternoon with good friends, great conversation and dogs running all over the place would be a great day for me. But to top it off with a tasting of library and current wines paired with delicious meats and cheeses made it a really memorable day.
From L-R: Liz Marston Leahy, Jamie Leahy with my dog Ramsey, Kelli White & Scott Brenner with Lucky, their hound dog and me with Ramsey.
Terraced vineyard block of Cabernet Sauvignon with Tucker, Lefty and Ramsey roaming on it.