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The winery based in Calistoga, Napa County, is a labor of love for Greg Brown, who does much of the work of making and marketing his vintage. The former banking official started the winery in 1992 and has added fans each year. Brown was honored as Winemaker of the Year for 2000 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Greg's passion is evident in the quality of wine he makes, the thoughtful comments featured on the back of every bottle and his unwavering love and support for his wife, Yvonne, who is an energetic companion despite recovering from cancer. Greg describes his wine as high on the "yummy factor" and says the public has an increasing fascination for smaller-scale wines, likening them to limited-edition art.
Could this blend of two vineyards in Napa Valley be the finest Grenache produced in California? Effusing lavender honey, wild strawberries, and white flowers, this is an outstanding portrait of the grape, a worthy rival to the very best the Rhone has to offer. Greg claims that new oak is to Grenache what makeup is to the naturally beautiful, and appropriately, there is only 10% new oak in this wine. By the way, the rumor about T-Vine’s 1995 Grenache, 1995 Chateau Rayas, and the blind tasting is true; according to Greg, who is not a smoking man, he smoked a cigar at the end of that evening.
This beauty is produced by 30 to 40-year old vines rooted in 30 feet of sand. As you can imagine, the yields are preposterously low and the drainage is exceptional. This balanced Syrah is extremely silky, with notes of cake spices, roasted meat, and blackberry jam. Superb!
According to Greg, this Zin is a "Ronnie Lott" kind of wine, the kind of juice that will put a hurt on you with its intense raspberry and blackberry fruit. This is your perfect barbecue wine, made from grapes picked at the upper limit of ripeness from a vineyard that is gaining notoriety for its sensational Zinfandel.
Massive wine. This comes from the Fredani vineyard off of Pickett Lane, near Araujo. It exhibits generous helpings of blueberry cheesecake and crême brulée, with all the plummy, dark drinkability that is bringing Petite Sirah back in vogue again. This is the most limited of all four selections.