Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Salvestrin Estate Winery

This small, family owned and operated winery offers some excellent wine in a lovely private setting where your host will likely be one of the family members.  We highly recommend a visit, especially if you like premium Cabernet Sauvignon or Super Tuscans.

Historic Crane Ranch Victorian home

Salvestrin Estate Winery was originally planted in 1860 by Dr. Crane and has been owned and operated by the Salvestrin family since 1932.  It is located on Highway 29 next to St. Helena High School just south of downtown St. Helena.  The winery tasting room, built in 1994, is in back of the historic Crane Ranch Victorian home and sits on 26 acres.  Up until 1994, Salvestrin sold their grapes to other wineries for production.  But in 1994 they produced their first Cabernet Sauvignon with a release of 150 cases.  Current production is about 3500 cases per year.  During the past five years they have utilized organic guidelines and sustainable agricultural practices. 

Tasting bar and window

Tastings are available by appointment only but may easily be made by phone or email.  The $25 tasting fee is waived with a three bottle purchase.  They also run a Victorian bed and breakfast on the grounds named Inn at the Salvestrin Estate.

Winery tasting buliding

The tasting room is located in the upper floor of the building where lovely views may be enjoyed.  Our host, Lynn Salvestrin-Hosburgh, maintains a very busy schedule attending to both the winery and the inn.  It is amazing that she can manage to do so much while still being so friendly and pleasant.  

Tasting bar

Our tasting began with the Salvestrin 2011 Estate Sauvignon Blanc that sells for $24 and is 100% SB.  970 cases were produced. After a good lemon nose, I got  some crisp grapefruit on the palate with some pleasant herbaceousness and a hint of butter rounding it out.  Finish was medium length.  A nice, easy to drink SB.  We were told that the winery use to produce only red wines but they decided to add a white wine to help balance out their wine line up and Sauvignon Blanc was Mr. Salvestrin's favorite white.

Tasting lounge
Next was the Salvestrin 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon at $60.  This is about 95% Cab and 5% Merlot, with the percentage varying slightly from year to year.  Production is 900 to 950 cases.  It is barrel aged for 24 months in 60% new oak, mostly French.  It starts out with a good nose of cherry with a touch of oak.  On the palate it is mostly red cherry with some baking spices.  Very smooth, with well integrated tannins, a medium body and moderate length finish.  Quite nice for the price.

Patio area for tasting

Even better was the Salvestrin 2008 Estate "3D" Cabernet Sauvignon at $125.  This sees 36 months in 100% French oak.  200 cases were produced. It begins with a pronounced black cherry nose that leads to dark, ripe, black cherry on the palate with some ripe blackberry. It is very smooth with a full, lush mouthfeel but also has great tannins and spice, along with very good structure, balance and complexity.  This one will go on our list of all time favorite Napa Valley wines.  A wonderful Cab! We both really loved it!!  It will be added to our list of all time favorite Napa Valley wines.


The tasting that surprised us the most was the Salvestrin 2008 Retaggio at $45.  (The current release is the 2010.)  This is a Super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and is an amazing wine for the price.  This one had a great nose of cherry and oak.  How pleasant to just sit and enjoy the aroma.  The Retaggio is  sumptuous and very full flavored.  I got ripe blackberry and currents on the palate, with very good spice, excellent balance and a medium length finish.  We both really enjoyed this wine!  Another one to add to our all time favorite list.

View from tasting room

397 Main St.
St. Helena, CA 94574
Date of Visit: January 30, 2013

Barrel room

Welcome sign

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