Website is offline, no references found to show this label still continues. Archiving this review now.
Toad Hall Cellars is owned by John Komes and his family; if the last name rings a bell it is because this family is also synonymous with Flora Springs Winery. They produced their first vintage in 1984 which was merely 10 cases of a Chardonnay…talk about scraping the bottom of a wine barrel! Today, production runs about 1200 cases (still relatively small) and focuses on three wines; two Pinot noirs and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Toad Hall was started by John as a side project to his family’s Flora Springs Cellars. Toad Hall owns several vineyards; their original vineyard is 6 acres just off of Highway 29 in Rutherford planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and they also have a 10-acre vineyard in the Carneros region planted to Pinot noir.
We tried the 2006 Willow Pond Carneros grown Pinot noir. This is from the old Martini clone that was originally more commonly planted in this region. The wine is a typical lighter style Carneros Pinot. It is good every day drinking wine with aromas of strawberry and herbaceous notes including tomato leaf with a palate containing raspberry, cola and even hints of chocolate. The richer more intense Pinot noir is their Lavender Hill. We tried the 2006 vintage. John says the Carneros region will become even more well known for Pinot noir as different clones are planted such as the Dijon clone used in this wine. The Lavender Hill is a darker red color with some nice earthy and floral aromas on the nose. The palate is layered fruit fruit fruit! Raspberry and cranberry flavors are immediately present with a very smooth finish.
As with many of John’s labels if you dig a bit, they often reveal a personal story. We’ve met with several hundred winemakers on this project and hands down, John is definitely one of the best storytellers in the Napa Valley. Before Toad Hall owned their Carneros property John told a real estate agent he wanted to buy property in this region. One weekend, the agent called him up and said “John, you have to look at this piece of property right away”. Apparently the owner was busted in a Marijuana raid and needed to sell as soon as possible. Well short story told, John ended up making an offer and purchasing the land soon thereafter. Lavender Hill Mob, an old movie from 1951 starring Alec Guinness, was one of his father’s favorite movies, and there you have the name for this wine as well as the name of this particular vineyard.
Lastly we tried the 2005 Bodacious – to know the meaning of this wine you have to know the irreverent story behind the label. Lets just say the name of this wine was created after a swimming party featuring a number of well endowed ladies and that this wine is very “full-bodied”. In the past this wine has been a Cabernet/Merlot 50/50 blend but the 05′ vintage is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from their small Rutherford vineyard. French and American Oak were used during the aging. This wine is rich in flavor and aroma and there is an underlying exotic spiciness to the flavor. Black cherry and dark chocolate coat your palate. The finish is long with very well balanced tannins. Note the very unique label. It is a depiction of a maze, a pictorial testament if you will to the endless maze of permits and regulations that are part of owning a winery and making wine! Trust me, you won’t see a label with that intent on any other Napa bottle of wine.
The name of the winery comes from John’s wife who is a former librarian. Astute readers with knowledge of children’s books will recognize right away that “Toad” is one of the main characters in the book called “The Wind in the Willows”. Toad Hall Cellars is private but their wines are available for tasting at the Flora Springs Tasting room on Highway 29. You may also find their wines locally at Backroom & Bounty Hunter in the town of Napa.
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Stopped producing wine commercially
Roberta Dishington says
Just found bottle 3494 of their ’08 Cabernet and it is sublime. Sold under the So Rare name. Irreplaceable bottle and…MEMORABLE. Sure wonder who’s drinking it these days?
Just had a bottle tonight and it was exceptional. Have 2 more in my wine cellar