Jarvis Cave Tour
The coolest caves we have gone to in Napa Valley – hands down. There’s a lot to love about this winery and their caves but what we think makes this one so unique is that they do all of the production in the cave from crushing the grapes to bottling. No other winery in Napa Valley does all of that in their caves but what else is mind blowing about their cave is how large it is (it was dug out by the same machines that dug out the English Canal) I mean it not only fits all of the production, bottling and storage but there are multiple tasting rooms within it, a ball room, offices and even rooms that we weren’t toured on. We have been holding out on one more feature that makes their wine cave super unique and incredible to see in person – they have a waterfall and stream that goes through the cave. When we say we’ve never seen anything like it – we mean we have never seen this before in ALL of the caves we’ve toured.
Our host was Johnny and he gave us so many facts about this winery that it was almost impossible to write them all down. There are over 1300 acres owned by the Jarvis family but they only planted 37 acres of it, the best of the best on their property. They will produce about 4.5-5K cases of wine a year and never source their grapes. Their wine is put into 100% new french oak barrels everytime, after one use they sell their barrels and never use them again. Another cool thing about their barrels? They have ones that are digitally programmed (with sensors inside) that when scanned show you how the barrel is aging – technology these days 🤯.
Let’s get on to the wine because we know that’s what is super important here. They had the same winemaker from founding until his death in 2017, Dimitri Tchelistcheff. If you don’t know who he is – he is the guy responsible for making Napa wines expensive, one of the original Napa winemakers. Scott Morrison is now the head winemaker and hails from no other than UC Davis (where some of the best winemakers in the world graduate from) and studied under Dimitri prior to taking on this position.
Something to note about their wines is that all of them are 100% malolactic – something that to us, makes wines stand out. Another item to note is that their Chardonnay is two different wines depending on the temperature it is served – which blew a lot of our minds. It is slightly buttery and nutty when chilled but as it warms up the wine turned sweeter. Both temperatures were crowd pleasers with our group but when that wine got to room temperature it became a favorite amongst the group. The next two wines are the ones that everyone ended up ordering – the cab franc and the merlot. Two varietals that have been hit or miss with us and both at this winery are outstanding. The Cab Franc obviously had an incredible nose to it and had great spiced chocolate and tobacco leave notes, while the Merlot was a fruit driven version with notes of cranberry and cherries and aromas of raspberry.
We loved all of the wines that they poured for us during our tasting – but what is slightly sad and disappointing is that you cannot buy their wine unless you are physically at their property… All the more reason to schedule this one the next time you’re in Napa.
Davis Estate Food Pairing
Let us just start by saying this was our favorite overall winery of the trip. Davis Estate is an incredibly beautiful winery located in Calistoga, CA and they were unfortunately impacted by the Glass Fire in 2020. Now when you get to the winery you don’t notice as much fire damage as other wineries but they did lose some vines and the fire went up to their property line. Speaking of their property – inside you will find an original Picasso painting as well as two original Rembrandts, absolutely amazing to see in person. As beautiful as the property is, their wine and food pairing experience was out of this world.
Their executive chef is a rock star, the dishes that he cooked up for us not only paired well with the wine but enhanced the nuances of the wine in an amazing way. Best part? The chef is willing to share the recipes with you and will give you a copy to take home! We definitely plan to remake some of the dishes to pair with the wine we ordered! The first pairing was an asparagus soup – and honestly I was so weary of it at first but it was hands down the most delicious part of the pairing and I stole my hubbies too 🙈. The soup was paired with their Sauvignon Blanc which was more of a Napa style grassy nose but it had great acidity and wonderful melon notes – when paired with the asparagus soup this wine has a beautiful creamy mouthfeel (seriously drooling thinking about it 🤤).
Next up was the Pinot Noir paired with spaghetti with brown butter, green garlic and crispy maitake mushroom. Where do we start first here? The mushrooms. Crispy delicious perfection. Honestly going to roast my mushrooms like this going forward, I’ve never had them this way before but it was 💯, even non-mushroom eaters will like these! Now for the real kicker of this pairing – the Pinot Noir. My notes literally say “Holy 🔥. SO. DAMN. GOOD.” This pinot was silky and filled with dark cherry and heavy vanilla notes. You guys this is a bottle that we can honestly recommended you go online and buy without trying because we guarantee you will love it.
After the Pinot tasting we did two cabernets one 2016 and one 2017 paired with pork tenderloin and roasted lamb respectively. I mean these were classic Napa cabs that you can’t go wrong with. They both had pepper notes in them, were silky long finishes and when paired with the sauces the chef made, wicked delicious.
The finishing notes I had on this winery were “Best Napa Wine Tasting Experience EVER. Food and wine pairing A++”. Now we’ve done a lot of wine tasting and wine experiences in Napa so that’s a high praise in our book.