Tudal Winery is a very small winery located on the same site as the owner’s home. Arnold Tudal found this winery in 1974 after a long farming career in Alameda and planted their vineyard to Cabernet Sauvignon with advice from the great Louis Martini. Arnold has since passed on and now his son John is running the winery. Kirk Venge was named consulting winemaker as of late 2009. Arnold’s wife still lives on site. Tudal is located towards the end of Big Tree Road just before you get to Benessere. With small quantity hand crafted delicious affordable wines, some with names like Flat Bed Red & Tractor Shed Red, its no wonder their wines are highly sought after!
The winery has quite the assortment of odds and ends lying around – the old tractor which provides the name of their one wines, metal statues, and the old Tractor Shed which is now their tasting room. A nice cozy tasting table is setup inside and if weather permits you can also taste outside. Tastings are poured from the small 350 mL bottles, however all wines are sold in the normal 750mL bottles.
The estate bottled Cabernet Sauvignon is excellent; it is very dark in color full of spices in the nose and on the palate as well as containing flavors of blackberry. Also be sure to try their Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon. Old Vine isn’t a term normally used to describe Cabernet Sauvignon (usually reserved for Zinfandel), but age has not hurt this wine! The 2002 was current release when we tasted which is a bit older than most wineries’ current vintage which is not a bad thing. It has had additional time in the bottle but will easily cellar for another 10-15 years.
Their wines have been served at several White House functions and sports celebrities often enjoy their wine (sometimes poured at San Francisco 49er’s events). The great baseball player Joe DiMaggio also loved their wines and he spent short vacations on the property. Be sure to walk around the property a little bit; nice planter beds now serve as home to their vegetable garden. The same gardener that manages the wonderful gardens at Kuleto Estate is also in charge of the gardens here. Besides at the winery you can find their wine locally at several wine shops including the Wine Garage in Calistoga. Visit: www.tudalwinery.com