When my wife and I first started our foray into serious wine tasting/collecting of course our first big trip was into the Napa Valley.
We didn’t know much more than some of the big names, so we made a point of finding and stopping at places we had not heard of before. One of the first stops back in 2005 was at Provenance Vineyards in Rutherford.
We had a great time, enjoyed the wine, as well as the vibe. Since then we had picked up the occasional bottle at the store, but had not been back to the winery, instead exploring other wineries in the Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and Paso Robles.
A few months back we were invited to Provenance to do a story and we jumped at the chance to revisit one of our first wineries.
Am I glad we did!
The wine was every bit as good, and the winery itself had changed quite a bit and has evolved to a wonderful place to drink some great wine and relax while doing so.
Debbie was our tasting guide and she was awesome. The Napa Valley has grown to the point where you can get lost in the crowd, often times feeling like a number rather than a customer.
That’s not the case at Provenance, a winery where you get world-class wine with a feeling of being at your neighbors’ house.
The Provenance wines are joined by Hewitt Vineyards, a single vineyard production wine named for Provenance founder Bill Hewitt, the former CEO of John Deere.
There are five basic tasting options, all offering sensational tastings.
The Patio tasting is $30 per person, which allows tasting of a range of wines, with a 60-minute time limit on the tasting. The Classic tasting – also $30 per person – is the tasting of five distinct wines from the Provenance portfolio.
The Reserve tasting ($40 per person) features a lineup of some of their best Cabs, allowing the guests to taste wines from different vineyards to experience the difference between the wines
The To Kalon Cabernet Library tasting ($75 per person) is an opportunity to enjoy a flight of four, limited library selections of the Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard sourced Cabernet. The flight also includes a French cheese spread with gourmet crackers.
Finally, the Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet tasting ($75 per person) allows the visitors to indulge in the incredible Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Conducted alongside a personal wine educator, it also features library and current vintage wines, a tour of the winery and sampling of a future vintage.
We took part in the Reserve tasting and walked away impressed with the quality and depth of the wine. The four Cabs we tasted were all excellent and got better as we climbed the ladder.
The 2014 Sleeping Lady Cabernet ($145 a bottle) received 95 points from Robert Parker and was every bit as good as the rating. As good as the bottle was, it was topped by the 2014 Fortitude ($225 a bottle). Given a 96+ by Parker, the Fortitude, which is very cellar worthy, was a stunning wine and a great way to end the tasting.
The most acclaimed bottle of wine on the property is the 2014 Hewitt Vineyard Cab from Rutherford. The wine earned a 98 rating and is a relative bargain at $150 a bottle.
Napa Valley seems to have moved towards providing places for people to sit and relax, enjoying a bottle – or two – of wine and have a bite of food they have brought along. Instead of just tasting, many of the wineries have done their best to become destination locations.
Provenance is no exception and the patio area is extremely well done. The seating is spacious and comfortable and there are outdoor tasting bars as well. Taking it a step further, there are lawn games available, and there is music piped into the area.
It was our first stop of the day, but we took full advantage to relax in the patio area and share a bottle of wine.
The great vibe is alive and well.
Provenance was one of our first wineries we visited years ago, and it was refreshing to see that it maintained the initial charm we saw and has gotten even better.
There are countless wonderful wineries to visit in the Napa Valley, but if you are looking for a relaxing time with excellent wines, do yourself a favor and plan a visit to Provenance Vineyards.
For more information on Provenance please visit www.provenancevineyards.com.
By Dennis Miller