Brookdale Vineyards is one of those small Napa producers you may not have heard about due to their very limited production and historical lack of a tasting room in the Napa area. At one point they were tasting their wines at Silenus Vintners, a collective tasting room located just south of Yountville. Silenus is somewhat unique in that all the wines they taste in their tasting room are from wineries who make their wine on site, rather than being a collective which operates without a physical winery. Private tastings can be arranged.
Brookdale Vineyard Management Company was founded by viticulturist Mike Seitz (1968-2003) in 2000. Tragically he died in a forklift related farming accident at a vineyard in the southern part of the Napa Valley. His wife and owner of Brookdale, Kristi Seitz (who we originally met with) has dedicated all vintages of Brookdale to his memory. Mike would have been 50 years old in 2018. Time just gets away so fast.
Brookdale is named after Mike’s family farm in New Jersey – long since been converted into a park as well as home of Brookdale Community College. But the name also refers to the existing Brookdale Farm, located about 30 minutes from downtown Lexington, Kentucky. Mike’s uncle founded this thoroughbred horse breeding farm in 1983. And one will notice the small horse that appears on their label.
Brookdale produces about 500 cases each year of a Cabernet Sauvignon. This was their only wine for a number of years but more recently have introduced a Sauvignon Blanc usually sourced from neighboring Sonoma County. In addition to sourcing vgrapes from select vineyards, Brookdale also owns the Three Daisies Vineyard – originally planted by Mike in 2001. This vineyard is planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon with the grapes hand picked by friends and family every harvest.
Their Cabernet Sauvignon is generally made so that it is not extremely high in alcohol and is well balanced; as a result not one aspect of the wine dominates. This wine has excellent acidity which makes it ideal for pairing with food. The 2003 Brookdale Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark wine with a full bouquet and flavors that hint of dried violets and juicy ripe black cherries. This vintage received some very good ratings by wine writers and in addition, placed high in select wine competitions.
The 2014 Brookdale Cabernet Sauvignon is dark crimson in the glass – offers a rich aromatic expression dominated by fruit, it reminds us of a warm blackberry cobbler. Also aromas of ripe black cherry and black licorice are tinged with touches of toasted cedar, mocha and the smell of a recently opened bar of milk chocolate. Soft and rounded on the entry with good concentration. Firm but not muscular tannins anchor a long finish filled both darker fruits and to a lesser extent, darker spices. Drinks very well by itself.
Kristi was also a partner in the unique Thirteen Appellations brand and co-owns the wonderful Soda Canyon Store at the corner of Soda Canyon Road and the Silverado Trail. This store (built in 1946, suffered severe fire damage in 2000 and was completely renovated) is popular with locals and tourists alike and is located merely several miles north of the city of Napa.
Choose from wine, deli items, snacks and other Napa souvenirs. Their breakfast burritos are delicious as are their bagels. Tables are located inside the store, in the front of the store and for often a more intimate lunch or breakfast – behind the store in the grassy area. This is the only store north of Napa along the Silverado Trail until you reach the town of Calistoga about 18 miles north of here. And unlike a number of delis in the valley which cater more towards tourists, Soda Canyon Store is often frequented by locals including vineyard workers and vintners.
Brookdale’s wines are available at the Soda Canyon Store and Cellar Collections in the city of Napa. And sometimes when the wines are indicated as sold out on the website, they are still available at the Soda Canyon Store. Private tastings of current releases can be arranged with Kristi. For more information, to join their mailing list or to purchase wine, visit: www.brookdalewine.com
NOTE: This review has been identified as needing a **major** update.