My husband and I spent the majority of our honeymoon in Napa Valley, almost 11 years ago. That is when my love for wine really started. It’s also when I fell madly in love with that area of California. We’ve been back every year since then. It never gets old. As much as I love Napa, especially any winery on Silverado Trail, I enjoy getting off the beaten path and finding some hidden gems. A. Rafanelli falls into that category.
A. Rafanelli is a family owned winery in the Dry Creek Valley of Healdsburg, CA, which is about 55 miles northwest of Napa. It will take you just over an hour to drive there from Napa. Definitely worth it if you haven’t experienced this part of the valley.
The winery doesn’t do much distributing, you may find it every once in awhile at a nice restaurant, which happened to me a few years back in San Diego. I almost screamed out loud when I saw it on the menu. 🙂 Otherwise, you have to purchase the wine directly from the winery. You do have to call and schedule for a tasting, other than during harvest it’s pretty easy to get in for a tasting. If and when you go for your first tasting, and you end up loving their wine, which you will….make sure to get on the waiting list for their mailing list. Once you are on that list you will be able to be part of their wine club. Twice a year you’ll be able to take advantage of ordering their wines! Their case productions are fairly small so there are maximum limits on how much you can order.
We just received our spring shipment, which I want to talk a little bit about. They released a 2014 Zinfandel and a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. If you enjoy Zinfandels, you’ll like this one. A nice jammy Zin with bold tannins and hints of vanilla and spice. Case production 7,000. As for the Cabernet, our favorite, this is always a big red, very bold. Slightly toasty with oak flavors and smooth tannins. A party in your mouth! You can also let this one sit for awhile, the longer the better. Don’t be afraid to shelf it for a few years.
A few years back we were able to squeeze in a tasting last minute during harvest. I was thrilled as it was my birthday. When we walked into the tasting room the owner was there. We had the pleasure of having him take over our “tasting”. He first took us outside and told us the story of how the winery started in the early 1900’s. One of my favorite things about our wine trips is hearing the stories about the wineries, so much history, always. Anyhow, he then took us into their back room and then on into their wine cave, which they don’t normally take people back there. They use that space for family functions, in general. I seriously was in heaven! To end the tasting on a high note, the owner signed a bunch of the bottles that we purchased. He made us promise NOT to open the 2008 Terrace Select for at least five years. The anticipation of this wine (pictured below) is killing me, but I know it will be amazing once we open it. The picture below is the owner as he’s taking us into their wine cave.
So, if you’re in the Healdsburg area or are in the process of scheduling a wine trip, consider checking out A. Rafanelli winery. You won’t be disappointed, thank me later. Cheers to you, enjoy the rest of your weekend!