Page Wine Cellars was founded in 1997 with a tiny production of just 36 cases. The winery and winemaking are operated by Bryan Page and his brother Chris. We first met Bryan at a tasting in San Francisco sometime around 2007. For many years, the winery was in a warehouse location in the city of Napa just off of Highway 29, but in early 2022 Bryan moved his operations to a different site, closer to downtown Napa and in an easier to access location. This new location opened in late 2022 and serviced its first crush for Page Wine Cellars in 2023. Unlike the previous space which housed a limited number of custom crush clients, this space is entirely dedicated to the Page Cellars wines. We will visit this space again and update our notes and photography by late 2023 just before our annual winter break from wine.
Bryan is a former professional chef who has been cooking since the age of 16; he worked at some well-known local area restaurants (including a stint at Domaine Carneros) before deciding on a career change. Bryan also has spent time in Europe, including touring much of Bordeaux and other French wine regions. As a result of his “food” background and perhaps his influence from French wines, his wines are among some of the more food friendly wines in Napa Valley. One is not going to find intense cocktail-like fruit-forward wines produced from Page Wine Cellars. He crafts his wines to discover varietal characteristics rather than oak. We should also mention that his red wines are excellent candidates for long term proper aging.
Page’s first vintage was released in 1997; he focuses on two labels, Page and Revolver. Revolver focuses more on single varietal wines and Page Cellars is more left-bank Bordeaux style blends. Most of their grapes are sourced from well-established vineyards in Carneros and Yountville. The Revolver theme as one might guess, is western in nature with ghost towns, weather aged wooden buildings, guns and historical guitars from well-known older musicians built into the marketing and packaging. Total annual production on all Bryan’s wines is about 2,000 cases with most of his wines produced in quantities of merely several hundred cases. Often smaller wineries with this production employ several people to help in the cellar; not Page Cellars – it is a testament to Bryan’s dedication and passion to wine in regard to managing this production himself.
All of Page’s wines are unfined and unfiltered for maximum color and flavor. While many producers have automated to some extent the in-the-cellar processes, not so with Page Wine Cellars. Everything is very much done by hand at the winery including most of the bottling. Small lot T-bins are used to micro-manage different varieties during crush; all lots are sorted by hand. A hand crank basket press is even used on some of their wines; this allows Bryan to determine exactly when to stop crushing based on flavor, texture and color. Needless to say, every part of his wine making is focused on that final quality in the bottle; these wines are literally hand crafted.
And as a result, these are NOT cookie cutter wines. The several times we have met up with Bryan and tasted through these current releases, we noticed each wine has its own distinctive character; the aromas are decidedly different between each wine as are the palates.
The 2020 Revolver Wine Company Cabernet Franc North Coast is deep ruby in color; the bouquet is generous with both its fruit and its barrel aging influences. It offers aromas of plum, blackberry, cassis and black cherry along with mocha, vanilla a light sweet tobacco spice, dust, and violets. Initially the aromatics are a bit dark, savory and brooding but open up to more fruit given time in the glass. The palate offers flavors of blackberry, plum, and dark cherry. This wine offers plenty of fruit supported by rounded tannins which linger with a gentle grip and a note of dried tobacco leaf. This is a balanced bottling.
The 2019 Revolver Wine Company Petit Verdot Napa Valley (100% varietal) is deep ruby and opaque in the glass; the bouquet is both dark ripe fruited with a strong influence of secondary aromas. It reveals scents of milk chocolate, warm chocolate brownie served straight from the oven, mocha, espresso, vanilla, butterscotch, coconut, cedar and Graham cracker soaked in chocolate milk. It also offers aromas of blackberry, ripe Pakistani mulberry and boysenberry. The palate is ripe, rich, opulent and reveals loads of darker fruits which somewhat mirror the bouquet including of blackberry, boysenberry and mulberry along with toast, chocolate and cedar. If delicious is a word you seek in the wines that you drink, this wine defines that particular adjective. Its rounded and fine-grained tannins are broadly but gently dispersed across the palate showing an overall creamy character. The finish lingers with a light toasted oak spice. This wine was aged for 30 months in French oak barrels.
The 2005 Revolver Wine Company The Fury is bottled under the Revolver label. Yes, there is a story behind the name of this wine, but you will have to talk to the winemaker for that one. The Fury is predominately a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon with a small amount of Petit Verdot. This wine is aged for 3 years in 100% new French oak; one won’t find many Napa Valley Cabernet Francs with this type of oak regiment. This is a delicious wine that is big yet also restrained at the same time; the intensity of fruit is certainly noticeable on the bouquet continuing onto the palate with an intensity of flavors. Dark fruit shows including blackberry and black cherry. The finish is long, slightly dusty and features broadly distributed tannins.
Heart & Steel
The 2020 Heart & Steel Grenache Blanc, North Coast is deep gold in color; this wine is highly aromatic and delivers immediate pleasure with scents of pineapple, melon, straw, honeysuckle, papaya and an accompanying bright note of citrus including a union of both ruby grapefruit, pomelo and mandarin orange. The mouth feel sports a rounded, supple and creamy texture balanced nicely by the lively but not bracing acidity. This wine offers flavors of green apple, melon, not fully ripe pineapple, passion fruit and lime zest. It is herbal but not green or grassy. The lively finish lingers with a lasting brightness. This wine was not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation. In our humble opinion, it would pair well with Thai chicken curry.
The 2008 Page Cellars Sauvignon Blanc is blended with a touch of Sémillon. Of note is the Sauvignon Vineyard Page sources from; it is the southernmost vineyard in Napa County and is located close to the San Pablo Bay. It is always a treat to try a Sauvignon Blanc containing some Sémillon. Sémillon offers tropical aromas and flavors to this wine including an additional richness found on the palate. Notes of kiwi, melon and passion fruit are layered on the palate. The finish is clean and refreshing.
The 2005 Page Cellars “the Stash” is predominately Cabernet Sauvignon blend with additional amounts of Petit Verdot and Merlot. This is a big, bold and layered red wine that should be extremely age worthy. It will coat your mouth red! The bouquet offers aromas of dark fruit, cocoa powder and vanilla leading to concentrated fruit flavors including plum and black cherry. The finish is robust and memorable with meaty tannins. It is recommended to decant this wine while it is still young and yes, it is still very young at only 4 years at the time of our tasting.
One wine made in 2007 bottled under Le Nu is a Chardonnay called “naked Chardonnay” which as Bryan says, “shows the pure varietal characteristics of Chardonnay.” This wine is certainly that; it is unoaked, sees no malolactic fermentation and is higher in acidity than most Napa Valley grown Chardonnays. As a result, this this is an excellent Chardonnay “food wine”. Even the packaging follows the “naked” theme as glass stoppers are used rather than cork. The 2007 Page Cellars ‘naked Chardonnay’ shows some mineral notes both in the bouquet and on the palate with clean and lean fruit from start to finish. No manipulation here.
Page also produces other wines including a proprietary red table wine, a Merlot and sometimes a Petite Sirah Port styled wine. Chenin Blanc used to be widely planted in Napa; today there is very little left in the valley so Page sources from one of the Chenin Blanc hotspots in California, Clarksburg. A 100% varietal Sémillon is produced.
An unusual, but delicious barrel fermented Rosé is made of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon; this is not a typical lightweight or sweet Rosé. For a small producer – there is certainly a wide variety of wines available. Joining their mailing list provides access to first releases as well as small lot wines not offered to the public.
Current Production/Hospitality space
In 2022 Page Cellars moved to Action Ave (right next to St. Clair Brown Winery) just north of downtown Napa. We will visit and update our notes here by late 2023 before our annual winter break to Southeast Asia.
Several types of tastings are offered including the general tasting featuring current releases and a glimpse at future vintages with a barrel tasting. The winemaker tasting is appointment only and offers an in-depth look into the operations, a tasting of current releases and barrel samples with Bryan or his brother.
Former Tasting Room
We keep our notes and photographs for historical reference. In mid 2009 along with another local winery, Cornerstone Cellars, Page Wine Cellars opened a public tasting room called “Yountville Tasting Station”. However, in 2014 Page moved out of this location and until 2021 conducted all visits and tastings at a winery in the city of Napa.
This was a working winery, yet a part of the winery was converted into a small tasting area with both bar and sit down tasting available. A tasting here almost always incorporated both wine and music based on Bryan’s passions. Old vinyl, guitars and other music memorabilia decorated this section of the winery.
Drivers take note; there are very few driver lounges in Napa Valley, but Page Cellars maintained a small lounge for drivers to relax in while clients enjoyed their tasting. The lounge even included a computer, internet access and music.
Previous Napa tasting room
The Napa earthquake of August 2014 hit Page Cellars hard; they lost an estimated 20% of their wine that was on site and barrels came crashing down and cracked, cases fell, and even tables and chairs were completely turned over. The floor of their driver’s lounge was completely flooded with red wine. However, a new wine was born as a result of this earthquake, appropriately called “Furioso” – a much sought after wine that was created with what remained of the 2012 Page Cellars Cabernet Franc.
Currently they sell fine chocolates, artisan olive oil, and a number of spices. Based on Bryan’s culinary background they offer sit down tastings paired with various foods – it is with food that Page’s wines really come alive. Larger groups are welcomed by appointment. The winery is conveniently located near downtown Napa, a few minutes’ drive east from Highway 29.
For more information or to schedule a tasting, visit: www.pagewinecellars.com