Column: A favorite California winery

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Commentary by Elizabeth Morse

On one of my first trips to Napa Valley, I was lucky to be a guest at Trefethen Family Vineyards. I stayed in their charming guesthouse and enjoyed delicious wine, French Laundry coffee, an enormous hawk that hung out on the deck and knowing that Julia Child also had stayed there. I fell in love with the property and always offered their wine at my restaurant.

This year, Trefethen is celebrating 50 years as one of a few remaining family owned wineries. They grow their grapes and bottle their wines on the estate in the Oak Knoll District. Here are my suggestions:

2017 Trefethen Dry Riesling is always a crowd-pleaser. It isn’t sweet, but the bright fruit offers peach, honey and grapefruit flavors, which gives an impression of sweetness – a perfumey, feminine style. The winery suggests dishes like lemon chicken and seared tuna, while I enjoy it most with Indian food. I dig it with chicken paté and ginger snaps, too. Around $26.

Normally, I don’t love Merlot, but Trefethen’s 2015 is stylistically correct (ahhh!) and elegant. You’ll notice flavors like fresh raspberry and black pepper: silky and sexy. If you ever grab a BBQ pizza at Some Guys (Indianapolis or Carmel), this wine will turn it into a fancy occasion. Could be pretty perfect with lasagna or a chocolate desert, too. Around $40

I encourage you to splurge on the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a little spendy but hey, you’re worth it. For special evenings featuring red meat (think steak au poivre or filet), it’s spot-on. The aromas of chocolate, coffee and brambly fruit are a bit of a surprise when you taste cherry pie in your glass, distinct oak, a little tannin and a lot of supple. 

Let me know what you think, and cheers!

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