is a “garagiste” winery located within the town of Napa. The city of Napa allows one to actually bond part of your garage and driveway as a winery which is what 3 Doors Down has done. We have visited a number of garagiste wineries within Napa, but this is definitely one of the smaller ones! This is a Napa winery well under the radar with a lot of potential. They are completely family run – the Italian Isola family manages the winery ranging from Grandfather Charles who has made homemade wine for a long time, to his two sons Joseph and Lee and John the grandson. Their first commercial vintage was in 2002 however they have made home wine since 1995 entering at various statewide and county competitions. As John says, eventually the judges became “tired” of seeing them take all the gold medals and started encouraging them to make wine commercially.
Their first vintage of home wine was from one of Napa’s most well-known highly regarded vineyard sources – let’s just say this particular vineyard provided some fruit for a winery which won during the famed Paris tasting of 1976. Not a bad source at all when you are making home wine! Encouragement to start their own winery also came from friends who had enjoyed their wines for a number of years – plus giving away your wine for free only goes so far. Does this story sound like another Napa based Italian family winery? The Buonchristiani’s started in their Napa garage and now their wines are among some of Napa’s finest.
Many winemakers name their winery after their last name, so it is always refreshing to find a winery that is creatively named. No there isn’t a connection to the rock band 3 Doors Down, rather, their bonded winery is actually three doors down from one of the owner’s homes. A side benefit of this name is they will always appear at the top of any Napa winery list! Their primary focus is on Napa grown Cabernet Sauvignon. They have been able to source fruit from vineyards in similar terroir locations from an area in the southern part of the Silverado Trail. As a result, their fruit sources have remained fairly constant since the first vintage. We tried the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon in bottle and the 2006 vintage which as of press time was not yet released. The 2005 is a dark wine that has a nose which initially is somewhat flinty with hints of pine pitch aromas and dried herbs including flower petals. After the wine has had time to open up, the aromas evolve more into a rich fruit driven bouquet. The palate follows with lots of nice fruit, dark cherry and blackberry which ends smoothly with a finish that is slightly smoky and spicy. The mouth feel is very rounded and smooth.
The 2006 brings forth aromas that are a veritable spice box with nice cedar notes and a bit of white pepper. Note that as of our tasting, this wine had not yet received its final blend. This is a fruit forward wine with nice touches of black cherry and licorice with a finish that is slightly smoky and dusty. 3 Doors Down also sources fruit for a second wine and as of press time they have a Sonoma County Merlot that shows pleasant aromas of vanilla and oak on the nose which follow through as flavor to the palate. Because their production is so incredibly small this is a winery that you almost have to know someone to get access to their wines, however with very limited distribution within the Napa area, the best way to secure their wine is via their website. You can find the wine locally at the Soda Canyon Store on South Silverado trail which is just north of the town of Napa. Oh, and their prices are some of the most affordable in the Napa Valley!
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Stopped producing wine commercially.
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