Whitehall Lane Winery in St. Helena – The Sauvignon Blanc is outstanding

Amid the rain and wind this past Wednesday, we managed to squeeze in a tour and tasting at the Whitehall Lane Winery in St. Helena. Tom Leonardini and Family have owned the Whitehall Lane winery since 1993. Whitehall Lane is one of the Napa Valley’s earliest wineries with a start date of 1979. The winery is one our favorites, and we’d selected the winery for our Boutique Wine Trail back in 2003.

This was our first visit since the winery did a remodel and an addition a couple of years ago. Although the building structure has changed, the personnel remains very much the same, anchored by winemaker Dean Sylvester now in his eighteenth year at Whitehall. Our tour leader was Mike McLoughlin, the General Manger who joined the winery shortly after the Leonardini Family purchased the winery. Consistency is good in this case; the Whitehall Lane wines have been highly regarded throughout its history, highlighted many times by the Wine Spectator for its reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dean Sylvester the winemaker at Whitehall Lane

Dean Sylvester is his lab checks the Sauvignon Blanc blend

Read More »

Comments

    Napa Valley bashing at the Wine Bloggers Conference

    The Napa Valley is recognized as one of the top wine regions in the world. When you are top dog, expect to take some shots from your rivals. Napa Valley wineries had their share of good-natured bashing from Oregon wineries at the 5th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference held in Portland, Oregon, this past weekend.

    Oregon wineries needle Napa Valley

    Willamette Valley winemaker


    What we heard along the way

    “In Willamette Valley the weather cools rapidly from afternoon winds from the Van Duzer Corridor. Night time temperatures drop dramatically. In the Napa Valley it is hot all the time.”

    “The Napa Valley Pinot Noirs from Carneros are too big.”

    “Here in the Willamette Valley the winemakers and owners share their knowledge and help one another. In the Napa Valley, it is all corporate.”

    “One thing that differentiates the Willamette Valley from the Napa Valley is that each year the growing season in the Willamette is very different. The climate varies significantly year to year. Napa does not have that fluctuation so their wines are always the same.”

    “Here in the Willamette Valley you are likely to find a winemaker or family member working the tasting room. That is something you won’t find in the Napa Valley.”

    What Oregon wineries should be saying to Napa Valley

    Read More »

    Comments

      Fontanella Winery is Thinking Outside The Box

      Fontanella is a new winery on Mt. Veeder and the owners Karen and Jeff Fontanella have some fresh ideas to perk up visitor interest. Visitors receive a private 30 to 45 minute session that includes a tasting of three wines, a novel comparison barrel tasting, and the opportunity to buy a small blending kit to create their own bottles of wine.

      Winemaker, Owner Jeff Fontanella

      Winemaker, Owner Jeff Fontanella

      Read More »

      Comments