1183 Dunaweal Lane
Calistoga, Calif. 94515
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday-Saturday)
Tasting Fees: $15 for parties with up to eight guests; $20 for larger groups.
Wines Offered: 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2016 Russian River Pinot Noir, 2014 Merlot
Reservations: Required for parties of eight or more.
Pets: Friendly dogs, outside
Did You Know? Twomey Cellars was founded around the winery’s Napa Valley Merlot. But in 2007, the first wine from the Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria kick-started the Pinot program. Driven by unique vineyard acquisition opportunities and key grower relationships, they evolved into a Pinot Noir house, producing eight distinct Pinots from Central California to Oregon.
Driving to Twomey Cellars in Calistoga, passing some of the grandioso tasting rooms along Highway 128, the winery is small and just off the main road. If you blink, you could miss it. Surrounded by their estate vineyards, the winery is set in the heart of Napa County Cab country. However, it’s not world-class Cabernets they’re producing—it’s more than eight Pinot Noirs, a flagship Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.
After the success of his Silver Oak Cellars, known for their high-end, award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon’s, Ray Duncan, a former wildcatter in Colorado who bought land in Napa County and started Silver Oak in the early 1970s, teamed up with Daniel Baron. The director of winemaking for Silver Oak Cellars at the time, Baron along with Duncan produced the first vintage for Twomey Cellars in 1999 to make a Boudreaux-style Merlot. Baron’s apprenticeship with Jean-Claude Berrouet at Château Pétrus in France led the two to working together making their flagship Merlot. Today, Nate Weis and Erin Miller lead the production of Twomey’s Pinot Noirs, Merlot and Sauvignon Banc, with tasting rooms in both Calistoga and Healdsburg. Their shared philosophy of allowing the wines to be themselves, and show off their color and personality, results in wines that are expressive of their terroir and the delicate touch from their makers.
The wines are stylistically influenced by French winemaking through Soutirage, a French term for racking, or moving wine from one container to another for aeration or clarification, leaving sediment behind. The winemakers allow the wines to highlight their sense of place, as they share grapes from sister counties, Napa and Sonoma County.
The tasting room on a warm and sunny day has a boutique feel—small and charming, with sunlight shining through the large windows facing vineyard views. Outside, the grounds are impeccably kept, with white umbrellas opened and shading the casual tasting area on a lush, green turf. Twomey saves more than 100,000 gallons of water each year using turf instead of real grass and additional sustainable measures such as providing electric vehicle chargers in the parking lot. Their sister winery, Silver Oak Alexander Valley, is the only Platinum LEED certified winery in the world, the highest level of sustainability recognition.
Inside, tasting room associate Ross Brooks pours a taste of the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc—52 percent Napa County, 48 percent Sonoma County. On the palate, tropical notes and tart Gravenstein apple elements, along with a bright acidic finish make this wine ideal for a warm day, known as a drink-while-it’s-hot wine.
Next, I taste the 2016 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir from Monument Tree Estate Vineyard and Ferrington Vineyard. Winemaker Erin Miller avoids oak tannin in this Pinot Noir, but leans toward whole-cluster fermentation. The result is a dark plum hue with deep floral pine and tart stone fruit characteristics on the palate, and the ease of a silky finish. Drinkable on its own, or perhaps paired with a venison tenderloin and roasted broccolini.
Brooks pours the 2016 Russian River Pinot Noir, which has a more voluptuous and velvety texture than the Anderson Valley Pinot. With a slightly elevated pH, the result is a coated palate and more mouth feel. Six percent more new oak than the Anderson Valley Pinot, there’s great structure and mature tannins.
For a final taste, Brooks pours the 2014 Soda Canyon Ranch Merlot, Napa Valley, Twomey’s flagship wine. With a combined 80 years experience between winemakers Baron and Berrouet, an exquisite wine is the outcome. It’s balanced, with light tannins, aromas of raspberry jam, and a long finish on the palate. Conditions at Soda Canyon Ranch allowed the fruit to mature and ripen slowly, leading to concentration and flavor depth.
For wine that’s timeless and made from the hands of a talented team of winemakers, Twomey has your new favorite taste of wine waiting. Pop in and pick your favorite Pinot from their selection for this holiday season.
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