Havens label now a part of Stonehedge Winery (tasting room in city of Napa)
is located just off of Highway 29 on peaceful Hoffman Lane just south of Yountville. Drive past part of the 7.5 acres of Syrah and other varietals planted on the estate to the parking lot. This winery dates from 1984 and their first crush was in the bed of a flatbed truck. The fairly modern looking tile roofed building sits under many oak trees. If there are not too many people in the small tasting room the pourer will pour you the wines straight from the counter. If the weather permits, you can also taste outdoors under the oaks. Since this winery is well away from the actual highway, tasting outdoors is a peaceful quiet experience. This winery focuses on wines from the cooler Carneros region which is located to the south of the winery. If you are somewhat familiar with the Napa Valley area, when you hear of the Carneros region typical varietals that immediately pop into mind are Chardonnay and Pinot noir as these two varietals are grown in great abundance in this cooler growing climate. However Havens was trying to find a growing region similar to parts of Bordeaux and the Northern Rhone in France and the Carneros in their minds was a very close equivalent. As a result of their vision for growing Merlots, Syrahs, and Cabernet Franc in a cooler growing climate, today they are looked upon as pioneers in the Carneros region.
In later years during visits to Spain they noticed a certain wine being served at many of the restaurants. This was Albarino, a varietal you will typically not find in the Napa Valley. Out of 500+ Napa wineries visited to date, this is only one of two or three wineries that we’ve come across this varietal. The owners secured some bud wood from where it is commonly grown in Spain & Portugal and planted it in their Carneros Vineyards. Havens was the first winery in the United States to grow and make wine from this varietal. They have since planted additional acreage of Albarino in the Carneros region. It has natural acidity and some great fruit flavors including Lychee as well as minimal overtones of honey. Their Merlot’s, Cabernets, and Syrah’s all exhibit great fruit characteristics with good structure on the palate and all are food friendly wines. In addition, their prices are quite reasonable for Napa standards. Haven’s Estate Cabernet sauvignon is produced in such low quantities that it can only be purchased from the winery. Some of their wine has been featured in notable restaurants including the nearby French Laundry and Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Havens has also participates in several charity events.
We list a few of our favorite wines from a recent tasting. The 2007 Albarino is the only white Haven’s makes commercially. It is always refreshing to find a white wine in Napa that is not the almost ubiquitous Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc that we see on almost every tasting list. This vintage has great acidity which almost makes it imperative you pair this with food. The nose if very floral and fruit aroma driven with pleasant flavors including pear and apple with pronounced mineral notes from the mid palate to the finish. Their 2004 Napa Valley Syrah has a big nose; it is meaty, with nuances of oak, and is slightly peppery with additional spices. For a big nose such as this one the mouth feel is surprisingly soft and even somewhat creamy…perhaps associated to a higher pH. Juicy, ripe fruit flavors dominate with just a touch of peppercorn towards the well integrated finish. Their Bourriquot is a proprietary blend which differs depending on the vintage. The 2004 is a delight to drink; it is an elegant wine composed of 70% Cabernet Franc and 30% Merlot. The name in French loosely translates to a “horse with its own mind – an animal that is not easily controlled”. However this wine is certainly not out of control – a sign of a good wine is balance and this wine certainly has that. The nose is rich, fruit mingled with slight notes of cedar followed by a very smooth palate with notes of raspberry and blueberry that continue all the way to the pleasant finish all the while staying in balance.
Havens is currently owned by a father son team who have a long history in the wine industry (Billington
Wines). This company originally started by importing wines to the USA from Chile and while continuing to manage the import part of the business, they currently also own a small number of wineries. Visit: www.havenswine.com
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Stopped producing wine commercially, sold the label to Stonehedge Winery and is now another label in their portfolio
Leave a Reply