is run by a husband wife team Cliff and Clare Luce Abbey and they specialize entirely in premium estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon. They have been passionate about wine for a number of years and in 1986, a 4.5 month vacation to Europe certainly didn’t hurt! They have turned the property into a beautiful Italian villa style estate with tall cypress lining the driveway, and an Italian style tiled roof tower complete with an ancient looking Venetian flag. There are also excellent views of the northern Napa Valley. A visit here is for serious wine enthusiasts only as they are not open to the public. There is no winery here – why build a winery when you have one of the most technologically advanced wineries almost in your backyard! That would be Vineyard 29, located next door to their property and all the vinification and production takes place there.
From Highway 29 Clare Luce’s sloped driveway looks very intriguing; cracked and steep, it runs through the vineyards and looks like it could be set in Italy somewhere. Their first commercial release was 2002. All aspects of the farming are micro managed by Clare and her husband Cliff. Much of their time is spent among the vineyards and as with many wineries their philosophy is that excellent wine starts in the vineyards. The famous winemaker and terroir specialist, Andre Tchelistcheff walked the property and made his recommendations for what to plant. The owners had no idea of his fame and experience in the industry when they were walking the property with him! They use the Jules Guyot pruning method on their vines which is extremely labor intensive but keeps the fruit production much smaller and more concentrated resulting in higher quality grapes.
Their hillside vineyards sit right between St. Clement Winery and the very modern looking Vineyard 29 Winery. Your tasting will be with Clare or her husband, weather permitting on their front patio with great views overlooking all of the north part of the Napa Valley. If you want to have a closer look at the actual vineyards perhaps Clare will take you out in the red 4whd tractor up the steep slopes of the vineyards. We tried several vintages of their Cabernet Sauvignons including the rich 2004 vintage which is 100% varietal. This is a very elegant wine with a floral nose that hints of vanilla. The palate is oh so smooth and velvety with a long finish. Great fruit flavors include blackberry, black cherry and plum. The finish is slightly spicy. This is everything that a high quality Napa Cabernet should be. For more info visit: www.clareluceabbey.com
Note This winery and estate property has been sold to nearby neighbor Vineyard 29 and overtime the fruit will go into additional Cabernet Sauvignon for Vineyard 29. Any tastings are now at Vineyard 29. We will update this review over time.
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Stopped producing wine commercially, sold property to Vineyard 29