Redmon Wines is a small Napa producer with an annual production of around 1000 cases. This is a husband wife owned and operated winery – Scott and Lisa Mangelson have no employees; they wear all the ‘hats’ that come with owning a small winery. They make the wine, help with vineyard management decisions are the winemakers and handle all the sales.
Their wines are only sold in the state of California – their distribution is miniscule, rather they focus on direct to consumer and sell wines through their mailing list and wine club. They have personally met may of their customers over the years.
The Redmon’s started small in 1999; they produced 25 cases (about a barrel) of home wine in their garage and then released their first commercial vintage two years later. Lisa is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area but has lived in Napa for 35+ years. Her father purchased the only “fast food” restaurant in all of northern Napa – the A&W in St. Helena. In the early 1990′s he also purchased a 3.5 acre vineyard almost behind where Dean & Deluca is currently located in the town of St. Helena.
Scott and Lisa have enjoyed wines for many years but before starting Redmon, they hardly considered themselves knowledgeable about wine. By virtue of living in Napa and being surrounded by vines as well as having the opportunity to develop a small vineyard – they discovered the “Napa allure” that turns neophytes into oenophiles.
This small vineyard is entirely planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and the original vines dating back to the late 1950′s are still in production. Scott and Lisa took over the management of the vineyard from Lisa’s father. At the time the vines were all head trained without trellising, the rows were planted 10 feet apart from each other and the entire vineyard was dry farmed. The Mengelson’s added trellising to the vineyard – retrained the vines completely, added new rows of vines in between the old rows and brought in irrigation as needed.
This vineyard sits on the edge of the valley floor on what is known as St. Helena bench land – some of the valley’s premium vineyard real estate. The soils are composed of gravelly deposits that have washed down from the nearby Mayacamus mountains over the eons as well as volcanic soils. Nearby neighbors include Corison Winery and a Del Dotto owned vineyard.
For most of their vintages to date they have focused on one wine – a 100% estate varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. However in recent years they have expanded their production to include a Carneros grown Chardonnay and a cabernet Sauvignon based blend created from various vineyards in the valley.
When researching the style of Chardonnay they wanted to make they didn’t have far to look. Collecting a number of Napa Chardonnays – they held several blind tastings. Ultimately both Scott and Lisa’s palates coincided and they began producing a lighter styled, food friendly wine that saw only partial malolactic fermentation and no new oak during its aging. The result is a wine that is crisp, clean, yet retains some weight on the palate and pairs well with a variety of foods.
The 2009 shows a pleasing bouquet which is mostly citrus dominated – Meyer lemon and orange blossom – there is an underlying component however of tropical fruit which helps temper the citrus aromas. The mouth feel is clean with some weight, but it is in balance. The mid palate is clean – the finish has some richness to it and is well endowed with various baking spices.
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon based blend has some Merlot (for softness) and Cabernet Franc to add a additional complexities including some spice. The nose shows ripe slightly jammy aromas including blackberry and blueberry. The palate is approachable upon entry with dusty tannins starting about the mid plate. The finish lingers with broad fairly coarse tannins as well as both red and black fruit.
The 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is much darker then their red blend. The bouquet is seductive and elegant while harboring deep dark fruit aromas including blackberry, black cherry as well as cassis. As the wine opens additional aromas of both dusty chocolate and some vanilla are revealed. The mouth feel is immediately soft and velvety – it is rounded with a delicious backbone of fruit anchoring from start to finish. The finish is more delicate than the blend but has plenty of length.
The Redmon’s also own another small property in St. Helena which originally contained a winery – which is quite beneficial in Napa as all winery bond permits are grandfathered in This old winery was known as the Fountain Winery and was founded by two Germans in 1876. They produced wine until Prohibition and after the repeal the winery briefly served as a fruit distillery. While the old winery is no longer there – the old barn is still standing (dates from 1899) and with some retrofitting and remodeling, this would make an ideal winery facility.
The name “Redmon” is Lisa’s maiden name. Their logo is red of course, borrowing from her name – and is designed as a tribute to the history of their vineyard. It is in the shape of an old head pruned vine. Visits are for typically for those already on their wine club or for serious wine enthusiasts. To join their mailing list and or wine club, visit: www.redmonwines.com