Judd's Hill is a small, very friendly, informal, down home, family winery that has a very good wine educator who exudes enthusiasm. They also have some good, affordable wines and an interesting microcrush program. It was fun to visit, and I'm glad we did.
Judd's Hill is on Silverado Trail, just outside Napa. For those of you who would like to make your own wine under your own label, they have a microcrush program. There were numerous microcrush winery bottles along the wall in the tasting room. Judd's Hill only makes 3,000 cases a year of their own wine. An appointment is needed to taste, but you can probably obtain an appointment fairly quickly if you just call them from your cell phone as we did. Of course, during weekends or the summer months, this will be more difficult so an advance reservation will probably be advisable.
Mike M. was our tasting room host and was very helpful, enthusiastic and informative. He really made us feel welcome. Judd's Hill is fortunate to have a wine educator of his caliber. Tastings are only $10 and are waived with a $45 per person purchase. We tasted the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc ($24), the 2008 Estate Pinot Noir ($34), the 2010 Burke's BBQ Zinfandel ($30) and the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($45). The SB had a light nose, with more melon than the usual grapefruit on the palate. It seemed rounder and less dry than some SB. The PN is made from the Dijon clone that gives more forward fruit and the Pommard clone that gives some earthiness more in the classic French Burgundy style. It is available only at the winery. The Zin was developed to compliment BBQs. It had some cherry on the nose and was, indeed, the perfect wine for a bbq. It saw ten months on French oak and has 8% Merlot and 2% Cab Franc blended in with it.
I didn't ask how to be invited to one of Burke's bbqs, but we heard they are fantastic. We drank a bottle of the Zin later and it was good. I only wish we had pared it with some BBQ. My favorite of the flight was the Cab. If you are a club member you can get a bottle for only $33.75 which is a bargain. You can also be invited to various special events such as the upcoming Hanukkah Hootenanny which sound like a lot of fun. ("Come sip current vintages and library wines, enjoy our extravagant and enhanced latke bar, satisfy your sweet tooth with traditional jelly donuts and thrill to the sounds of Meshugga Beach Party, the greatest Jewish instrumental surf-rock band in the land!") If you want to try a fun, unpretentious winery, visit Judd's.
Judd's Hill Winery
2332 Silverado Trail
2332 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
Date of visit: 11/30/2011