Kieu Hoang Winery formerly known as the Michael Mondavi Family Estate (prior to that, Mahoney Vineyards) is located about 2 miles from busy Highway 12/121 and being caught in traffic is the ideal excuse to take a break and visit the winery. This property is literally surrounded by rolling hills planted with vineyards. It is the quintessential Carneros property.
The tasting room is spacious, elegant and has been completely redesigned since the prior ownership. Howard Backen, a prominent Napa wine country architect was hired to help with the redesign and upgrade of the hospitality center. Too many tasting rooms in the valley are cluttered – this one is refreshingly not setup that way.
A number of new decorations have been added inside and outside the hospitality center. The most prominent of these is the large wine bottle artwork that stands outside near the parking lot. It is in the shape of a wine bottle but is made up of many normal size bottles. A massive stump of a Eucalyptus tree greets visitors as they enter the tasting room.
Owner Kieu Hoang immigrated to the United States in the mid 1970’s from Vietnam. He founded and built a successful pharmaceuticals company (focusing on blood plasmas) doing business both in the United States and in China. He became interested in wine – especially as it relates to wellness. He lives in the Los Angeles area.
The wine brand was founded in 2012 (before the purchase of this property) and their wines were exported to China. Withe the acquisition of this Carneros property they will now be selling their wines to the domestic market in addition to exporting to China. The majority of their wines are made from Napa but they do have California wines and also wines from Italy.
Their packaging and shape of bottles is some of the most unique and innovative we have seen available in different colors, creative shapes and sizes. Each bottle is essentially a piece of artwork. Also of note are the hundreds of tiny circles that appear on their wine labels – these are a representation of what plasma looks like under a microscope. They almost might be construed as being images of tiny grapes.
Chinese actress Li Bing Bing is a spokesperson for the wines and her image appears in a number of their promotional materials at the winery and in an advertising campaign they have been running at several area airports.
During a recent visit we tried the following wines. The 2012 Sauvignon blanc shows tropical notes including honeysuckle on the bouquet along with some floral aromatics. On the palate, white pineapple, melon – with a pleasing richness mid palate through the finish.
A number of their wines are labeled by color. The 2012 Red Label is Cabernet Sauvignon with fruit sourced from Calistoga and Yountville. It initially shows both herbal and smoky notes on the bouquet – then showing notes of red currant and red licorice. As the bouquet breathes some intriguing baking spices come to the forefront.
The 2010 Red Blend is very aromatic in the glass – showing higher toned fruit aromas. Cranberry, red currant and hints of baking spices show. On the palate there is a red cherry tartness – with well integrated tannins and hints of mocha on the finish. Very good acidity. This wine needs to be paired with food.
Kieu Hoang also owns the nearly 10 acre former Guilliams Vineyard in the Spring Mountain District. There are plans to use this for private events and select tasting for wine club members. Owner John Guilliams continues to live on site and farm these vineyards.
All visits to their Carneros based winery are by appointment – when you arrive, choose from two tasting flights. One features mostly California produced wines – the other “reserve” tasting features all Napa Valley wines.
And if the weather is nice – be sure to take a glass with you and enjoy the wine and views from a comfortable chair on their wrap around open air porch which overlooks the calming and quiet rolling hills of the Carneros part of Napa Valley.
In 2016 the Q Sushi & Kieu Hoang Wine Lounge opened in the Shoppes at Westlake Village. Today the focus is on Q Sushi with an extensive wine list from Kieu Hoang. Because we are often in Los Angeles, we will visit and post photos of this particular property here as well.