If you’re a Napa Valley cabernet fan, Vineyard 29 probably needs no introduction. But, just in case, here’s a little background. In 1989, Teresa Norton and Tom Paine decided to retire in Napa Valley, planting three acres under the direction of legendary vineyard manager David Abreu. In 1992, the first vintage was released—250 cases of estate cabernet.
In 2000, they decided to really retire and sold Vineyard 29 to Chuck and Anne McMinn. A new winery was built, caves were dug, and production increased with the purchase of a second vineyard, Aida, planted to cabernet, zinfandel, merlot, and petit verdot. With acclaimed Philippe Melka as the consulting winemaker since 2002 (as well as a “Who’s Who” list of other Napa legends preceding him), Vineyard 29 quickly became one of the major players in the valley.
Although the Vineyard 29 Estate bottlings use only estate fruit, director of winemaking Keith Emerson (well known for his work at Robert Craig and Gundlach Bundschu), has fashioned a beautiful wine from cabernet sourced from vineyards across the Napa Valley. The wine is deep and dark in color, and the nose brims with dark cassis fruit and spices. Full and rich on the palate, the wine has lovely fine-grained tannins and a very long finish and aftertaste. This would pair marvelously with any kind of beef—even turkey or chicken, and will continue to gather complexities if you wish to cellar it a while. Available locally for about $55. At Wine Exchange and Hi-Time Cellars.