At the top of Spring Mountain AVA, at 2600 foot elevation is Barnett Vineyards. The trek up the switchback road to the peak is worth the adventure. Upon reaching Barnett Vineyards, you are greeted with a breathtaking view looking back towards Howell Mtn. The Valley floor is the area between Calistoga and St Helena. Unfortunately the day this picture was taken it was a bit overcast, but on their website you will find a few beautiful sunny photos. As you can see the terrain is very sloped (30 degrees and more)!
A quick background on the owners, Fiona and Hall Barnett. They bought the 40 acre property in 1983 and established Cabernet as their initial varietal. In 2007 they hired David Tate as Winemaker and General Manager. I had the opportunity to meet him at dinner and discussed his vision for Barnett wines in 2015. For those who do not know David, he is a very “solid contributor” to the wine industry at large and has had a phenomenal impact on Barnett Vineyards. David has produced wine in Australia, France, New Zealand and now Napa Valley. His influence from vineyards to wine making has shown well with their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Rattlesnake Hill receiving a 98+ points from Robert Parker. It is truly a 98-100 point wine with its dark concentrated mountain fruit and layering of tannins. He believes it “will last 18-20 years”. The 2013 Cabernet Franc rivals some of the best in the Valley with its dark purple color with hints of floral and dark chocolate. It will mature for 7-9 years and only 400 cases were produced. These are two of the best wines at Barnett.
And not to be left out is their 2013 Spring Mountain Merlot. I can count the number of Merlot’s that I have lined up to purchase on one hand. This is one I did purchase at the end of the visit.
Our tasting was held in a small room at the end of their cave. It is a beautiful and quiet room in which to leisurely enjoy the presentation and tasting. The cave is about 3,000 square feet and the space is used almost to capacity. Looking from the front of the cave you can see the room at the end.
Only French oak barrels are used and they range from 65% to 95% pending varietal and needs. The balance are used barrels, aged roughly 1-3 years.
Tastings are available by appointment from 10am to 3pm daily. Their wines besides the three already mentioned include: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from other limited vineyards in Anderson Valley and elsewhere. Barnett has a club called the Wine Society and some high demand wines are allocated first for their consumption.
I can truly endorse a visit and know you will enjoy their hospitality, views, and most importantly their exquisite wines.