Monday, November 12, 2007
Whitehall Lane Makes the Most of Napa Whites and Reds
On the Napa Valley leg of our trip to California, Sandy and I made a stop at Whitehall Lane Winery, located just to the south of St. Helena.
We were given a tour of the wine making operation by Doug Fitzgibbon, tagging along with a VIP group. After seeing some grapes being crushed and workers topping off barrels, we made our way into the tasting room. There we had several very nice wines. Whitehall was founded in 1978 and produces 45,000 to 50,000 cases of wine annually. They have big plans on the horizon, with a new hospitality salon and a chef's kitchen that will allow 30-35 people to enjoy intimate dining. Part of the project will expand Whitehall's high-end wine portfolio.
Whitehall has 160 acres of vines on the Napa Valley floor and also buys from a select list of growers. Some of the wines being made at Whitehall use the Vino-Seal glass cork, which is the latest attempt at solving the industry problem of an average 6-8 percent failure rate of bottles using natural cork closures.
We found Whitehall produces some very nice whites and reds.
Whitehall Lane 2006 Proprietary White: A blend of 62 percent sauvignon blanc and 38 percent semillon, this wine has a grapefruit nose and a honey, citrus and grapefruit flavor profile. Refreshing for a hot day.
Whitehall Lane 2005 Carneros Chardonnay: An oak and honey nose with crisp, green apple flavor notes.
Whitehall Lane 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon: This Bordeaux-style wine is chuck full of fresh fruit notes. There are tart plum skin and dark cherry flavors. A solid Napa Valley value compared to prices from other nearby vineyards.
Whitehall Lane 2006 Belmuscato: This dessert wine is made from 100 percent orange muscat grapes. There is a forward apricot essence with an interesting caramelized creme brulee aftertaste.
Whitehall Lane may not have the name and reputation of some of its neighbors along Route 29, but it is worth a stop on your tasting itinerary.