During Prohibition, the winery produced "sacramental and medicinal" wines, after which it was abandoned until 1976 when Jerry and Sigrid Sepps purchased the ghost winery and ninety acres (now 120) which they replanted primarily with Zinfandel. By 1983 Storybook Mountain Vineyards produced its first Zinfandels and began winning awards. In 1989 their 1984 Zinfandel became the highest rated Zinfandel in history and in 1990 Jerry Seps, along with some friends, founded Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (
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Our final tasting was the Storybook Mountain Vineyards 2011 Napa Valley Viognier at $35. This had a great nose, although it was more of fresh fruit (pears) and minerals than the usual Viognier floral aroma. On the palate it was dry and crisp for a Viognier, with more minerality than floral notes, mostly Japanese pear and white peach with a touch of vanilla and cream. It was also more intense than most Viogniers. Nothing insipid or pale here, but very well balanced. It had a good, fairly long finish. I really liked it. It was great alone but has the structure to stand up to pairing with poultry or other food. Along with the Antaeus, it was my favorite wine of the day. (Storybook is especially noted for its reserve Zinfandels, but we did not taste any.)
If you love premium Zinfandels that maintain great varietal characteristics and are not excessive or over the top, or if you want to try a different but delicious Viognier, and you would like to visit some wine caves in a beautiful area while being hosted by friendly, informative staff, then you will want to visit Storybook Mountain Vineyards. It is a very quiet and off the tourist trail. An appointment is required but may easily be made. We really enjoyed our visit and think you will too.
|Close up of German cask|
|Black mold on wine cave ceiling|