Great Tastes

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Trinchero Napa Valley, St. Helena

Author: Christina Julian
October, 2016 Issue

Trinchero Napa Valley
3070 N. St. Helena Highway
St. Helena, 94574
(707) 963-1160
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Tasting fees: $30 to $95
Wines offered: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Petite Sirah
Reservations: Suggested for VIP experience
Picnics: No
Pets: No
Did you know?
In certain European establishments, not only patrons, but also handbags, get a stool for safekeeping. Playing off that trend, Trinchero Napa Valley’s tasting guests are offered a miniature stool so that not only they, but also their purse, can rest in style while they taste.
A step into the Trinchero Napa Valley’s tasting room in St. Helena is a lot like slipping into a posh Manhattan lounge. House music lightly thumps, while daring décor arrests at the entryway courtesy of acclaimed local designer Erin Martin, whose touches are evident at every turn. Pair that with nods to the family—helmed by Mario Trinchero, who immigrated with his wife, Mary, from Italy to New York, and with their children (Bob, Roger and Vera) moved from New York to Napa Valley in 1948. It was here the family made an indelible imprint with the purchase of an abandoned winery at the southern tip of what was then a sparse St. Helena strip. It would later become Sutter Home.
In 1960, second generation family member Bob Trinchero took over as winemaker and, in 2004, the family purchased what was then the Folie à Deux property at the town’s northern end. That property evolved into the Trinchero Napa Valley winery, which was built in 2007 and would become the first to bear the family name. The space sports a look all its own, with distinct modern touches paired with retro splashes that hint at the family’s Prohibition-era past.
Bob Torres, principal, vice chairman, director and third-generation Trinchero, shares, “We have a lot of other brands, but this is the pinnacle, our highest end wines. This is a really important facility for us because it has our name on it. ”
Looking back, facing forward
Inside the 5,000-square-foot tasting room, which opened in June, designer accents abound including custom-made furniture and lighting fixtures. “Everything in here has a meaning,” says Torres. “You walk in, and see the dogs [life-sized statues], which are here to guard and protect us.” Next, Torres points to a gigantic wooden statue from Sierra Leone. “This symbolizes man and woman protecting, educating and nurturing the community and their children, like my grandparents that started out here.”
Beyond the more esoteric touches, guests will be indoctrinated with some of the artistic and technical aspects of winemaking, with a concrete egg fermenter (soon to be) on display in the reception area beneath a zodiac mural that also intimates the family lineage. Visitors will be able to “thief” samples directly from the egg.
In the public tasting area, guests are greeted with a welcome sip of Sauvignon Blanc, which is crisp with stone fruit flavors. From there visitors select from three different tasting flights and other add-ons, including barrel tasting ($15) and an artisanal cheese plate ($12). The 2015 Vera’s Vineyard Chardonnay is light and flavorful with an aromatic bouquet. The 2012 BRV Cabernet Sauvignon blends fruit from Mt. Veeder and Atlas Peak and strikes with firm tannins and dark berry flavors. The 2012 Haystack Vineyard Cab (my favorite) is juicy and aromatic with black fruit and earthy flavors.
Depending on the day and mood in the tasting room, either a glass or iron-clad door separates the public and private tasting areas. If the latter is in force, a sliding peak-a-boo window that smacks of the prohibition days, gives people a glimpse of how the VIP side lives. “The Legacy Lounge is a nod to my grandfather and his speakeasy bartending days,” shares Torres.
The lounge offers a more elevated experience in all aspects, from the sumptuous seating and bedecked bar to the terrace that steals outdoor scenes with an open shot view of the valley. The space is opulent without being ostentatious and strikes a pose with many of designer Martin’s eclectic and edgy touches. The VIP experience ($75) pairs an elite list of high-end wines with barrel samples, a cheese and charcuterie plate and is capped off with a taste of the Vin Santo- style Semillon and a “cantucci,” a baked Italian treat similar to biscotti.
The attention to detail that runs throughout the tasting room doesn’t even bother to check itself at the bathroom door. The exterior wall by the lavatory dons an artsy recipe for vermouth, a nod to the family’s foray into the spirits world. Regardless of where you choose to sink in and sip, the wines and space whiff at the past and take an emboldened swipe at the future, leaving guests to wonder what might come next.




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