Hagafen Cellars Hagafen Cellars has been producing excellent award winning wines since 1979 – their first vintage was merely a barrel of wine or about 24 cases! Today they are still considered boutique and produce about 8000 cases. “Hagafen” in Hebrew literally means “the vine”. This is a Kosher winery which in part means that no animal products are used during the making of the wine including egg whites, which are often used during the fining process in winemaking. They are located just south of the Stag’s Leap District along the Silverado Trail and their own estate vineyards which surround the winery are all planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. The entrance is on a gravel road right through the vineyards. Drive slow, grape vines do not like dust! Original owners.
They have one tour each day at 11am but you need to make an appointment ahead of time. This tour starts in the vineyards, tours their production facilities and usually lasts about 20 minutes. It is one of the shorter tours in the valley but is a good basic introduction to a small winery. We can’t say enough about the quality of their wines as well as the variety. When we visited they had 17 wines listed on their tasting sheet of which you pick 5. The tasting room is small, relaxed and intimate. Some wines are only available through their tasting room and starred wines on the tasting sheet are their “highly recommended wines”! Their wines have a long history of being served at Presidential State dinners and other White House functions dating back to President Reagan and White House Presidential dinner menu’s line the walls.
Like a sweet German style Riesling – the 2007 Napa Valley Riesling has 4% Residual Sugar and originates from vineyards in Yountville. It is next to impossible to find a Napa grown Riesling due to the small acreage planted in the valley but if you like sweet wines it is an excellent choice. There are wonderful fruit aromas which carry directly onto the palate including pineapple, apricot and peach. For a complete contrast in Rieslings compare theirs to nearby Van Der Heyden’s very dry Riesling. Hagafen is one of only a handful of wineries in the Napa Valley who has produced a sparkling wine; during one of our visits we tried their delightful Brut Cuvee. As of press time, they produce two Pinot noirs including a deep colored rich Pinot noir from vineyards in Yountville. Also of note is their Zinfandel (great fruity nose with nice spices about mid palate), and their Reserve (Black label) Cabernet Sauvignon with its chocolate aromas and rich fruit flavors. It is very rare to find a late harvest Chardonnay in the Napa Valley and Hagafen’s is one of the best we have tried. Right – we could go on about the wines here indefinitely but we have limited space! Friendly pourers help complete your tasting experience. Don Ernesto is a second label featuring “fun” and lighter wines – some of these wines you can taste on site. Visit www.hagafen.com
Wine with Tony