Goosecross Cellars (founded 1985) is small rustic winery well worth visiting. This was privately owned by the husband wife team of David & Colleen Topper for many years until they sold the winery and surrounding vineyard in Spring of 2013 to Golden Equity Investments, a Colorado-based investment firm (members of the Coors brewing family own this firm and are personally involved in the winery).
The Topper’s business partner Geoff Gorsuch was the winemaker and was David’s college roommate down in San Diego many years ago! His family originally planted the estate with vineyards in 1978 and were growers for a number of years selling their fruit to high end wineries including Far Niente and Burgess. Wondering how they arrived at the name of the winery?…Geoff’s last name literally translates to “where the goose crossed the stream” in middle English. As a result, you will see “geese crossing” branded onto their wine labels and other marketing literature. Gooscross defines the words fun and approachable with the very friendly & hospitable tasting staff and easy going intimate winery atmosphere.
A visit here is for someone who wants to get off the typical Napa “wine strip” of Highway 29 between St. Helena and Oakville. Walk to the back of the building then through the tall fermentation tanks to get inside the tasting room, which by the way is surrounded by wine barrels; this is their wine cellar. Note the tall stack of CD’s, they always have a plethora of music to drink or taste by and during our most recent visit we were rocking to Burning Love, by Elvis! Harvest is always a good time to visit any small winery and its no different at Goosecross; if they are harvesting grapes you might even be put to work with a pitch fork or given a hose to wash down extra barrels. In our experience over the years and with several visits – the staff (which has changed over the years) as a whole is well trained and very personable.
A large selection of distinctive wines are available. As of press time 9+ of the 12 acres are planted to vine on site and they also source some of their grapes from other vineyards. Their focus originally and for a number of years was entirely on Chardonnay and as a result their signature wine is this varietal. We tried the 2006 vintage; it has a nice nose with some vanilla and apple notes and if you smell carefully you will even pick up some interesting spices. The palate is rich and somewhat creamy, in part from the sur lie aging in barrel.
They have an excellent Viognier, a not often Napa produced Tempranillo (Spanish varietal) and their V AmerItal which is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2005 Syrah is well balanced with a smooth rounded mouth feel and its about this time during your taste that the chocolate may appear from behind the counter. Might as well enjoy this wine with chocolate as it already has nuances of dark chocolate on the palate. It is a juicy wine, with just a touch of spice (this is not your typical peppery spicy grand-dad’s syrah), and currant fruit.
Both their Cabernet Sauvignons are great with food. The 2005 Estate Cab has good fruit touched by just a bit of toasted oak with delicate tannins on the finish. The 2004 Howell Mountain Cabernet is a bigger wine full of dark cherry with balanced but structured tannins anchoring the long finish. A sparkling Rose was made in 2004 to celebrate their 20th anniversary and is available for sale in the winery. Also note that some years the fruit is fantastic and they are able to select only the highest quality lots for a very limited production red wine called ÆROS.
When you visit might be given a short questionnaire sheet by one of the staff – one of the questions is “how did you find us”. During our several visits we’ve noticed the most common answer given was “online”. Goosecross is one of Napa’s pioneer wineries in the world of online marketing. They were the first Napa Valley winery to start their own Podcast feeds. You can also ask wine related questions, listen to descriptions of each of their wines & visit Colleen’s Kitchen (list of unique recipes from the owner) on their main website. Discounts are available on wine purchases by being a Podcast listener.
From May through October they offer something quite unique among Napa wineries – the “wine basics” class which is very reasonably priced…it is free! These classes are great for the wine novice as they cover tasting techniques, how to tell a wine’s structure, wine storage and more. Additional very hands on tours and wine seminars are also offered – all by appointment only. Lastly, check out their chocolate coated wine bottles! We have only seen these in one other Napa winery. They make great conversational presents as well as delicious semi-edible gifts.
The house built on site in 1978 that was located next to the winery for several decades was torn down in late summer 2014 – as was the existing winery and tasting room. A new winery opened in time for the 2015 harvest and was built on the footprint of what used to be the gravel parking lot. In addition a small hospitality center was built and opened in September 2015. This modern tasting room is inviting with nice views to the west overlooking their vineyards – a small patio is located outside which offers seated tastings.
NOTE: this review has been identified as needing a major update.
Goosecross Introduction Video: