Jericho Canyon Winery is located on the narrow Old Lawley Toll Road on the flanks of Mt. St. Helena in the northern reaches of the Napa Valley. The property sits in the shadow of the Palisades which are unique rock outcroppings that line the ridge for several miles. This was the only toll road in the area during the days of the nearby Quick Silver mines for which Robert Louis Stevenson made famous in his book Silverado Squatters. The property was originally part of a land grant given to a Civil War veteran and evidence shows that several sections near Jericho Creek (which runs through the lower part of their property) were planted to vineyards many years ago.
This is in a rugged part of the Northern Napa Valley (not on the valley floor) and as a result flat land on the property is at a premium. In fact their winery sits on about the flattest part of the property as all the vineyards are hillside located. The steep hillsides dictate an incredible amount of manual labor - no tractors on these slopes! They farm as sustainably as possible using permanent cover crops and refraining from using pesticides. For many years Jericho Canyon sold all their fruit to other high end Napa wineries including Chateau Montelena, Sterling Vineyards & Rudd.
The winery is quite new having been initially used during the 2006 harvest. It is a beautiful wooden very functional building. Jericho has a very small production and at press time concentrate on a single high end Bordeaux blend Cabernet Sauvignon with fruit sourced for a Sauvignon Blanc. They however have planted Sauvignon Blanc and as soon as these vines come into production will use this fruit. This is a winery that places a lot of attention to detail both in the vineyards and in their winemaking. When much of one of their hillsides were infected by a leaf virus they pulled out all the vines and replanted. This virus is actually quite common in the wine country - characterized by leaves turning red prematurely. They noticed this was affecting the aromas and flavor of the final product and quickly took action. Once these new vines come into production they will offer a higher end Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the general released Cabernet. They have planted a large number of varietals and in the future may even offer additional wines. Certain blocks in the vineyards are hand picked based on specific parts of the property.
We tried several barrel samples in their caves of these blocks, each of which potentially could have been used in their final 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon blend (the first commercial release). It is interesting to note the differences in the taste and structure of these potential blends. As a common thread, rich ripe fruit with good tannin structure were a part of these blends. Parts of their cave were drilled through solid rock - the end of the main cavern was left unsealed so you can see just how thick this rock is. Also note the olives that grow on the property - these are not just for decoration! They make olive oil each year commercially. Visit: www.jerichocanyon.com
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Open to Public: No
Regular Tours: No
Address: P.O. Box 996, Calistoga