There is a new wave of wine tasting experiences at a tasting rooms sans vineyards. There has always been a tasting room minus wineries in California. But what is new is that there are many more to come.
There is simple calculus as to why. First, there is a wine tasting customer who wants to taste more and travel less. Yountville, Napa, Sonoma and Healdsburg have had tasting rooms and are getting more. Hartford Family opened near the plaza in Healdsburg while maintaining their tasting room at their winery. Secondly, if you are in either Napa or Sonoma and there for a short time–it is north of impossible to get to more than three wineries–four is pushing it per day. I have lost track as to how many winery visits I have had to call and say I was running behind schedule (I am hardly the only one who has done that)… most times I have called have been tepid at best–only once I was told “no worries–drive safely and arrive when you can.”
Off vineyard tasting rooms add to tasting possibilities and don’t detract from on vineyard tasting rooms. I think the number for increased tasting rooms (especially Napa and Healdsburg) is going to happen even with those that have a tasting room at their winery. Another reason is that permitting at vineyard/winery has extreme limits in terms of permitting and often higher cost to initiate on-site at winery/vineyard.
Now, this brings me to Acumen Wine Gallery in downtown Napa at 1315 First Street and centrally located and near the Andaz and Archer Hotels and down the street from Oxbow Market. Acumen houses a modern and comfortable tasting room with a substantial gallery space of rotating exhibitions.
Acumen was founded in 2012 by Eric Yuan where he established vines in Atlas Peak. This year ground has been broken for a 33,000 square foot winery cave on estate in this pristine and rugged part of Napa.
Acumen’s wine focus is Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc and a small production of Malbec and Tempranillo. There are two lines: Acumen and Acumen PEAK (prestige label).
Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – $30
Nose: Kiwi, citrus zest, gooseberry, fresh slice Heirloom apples
Palate: quince, green citrus, white tea and flowers.
Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Red Wine 2014 – $45
This wine is 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Malbec, 19% Merlot
14% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot.
Nose of Tayberry, cassis, sweet cedar and moist red earth.
Palate of blackberry confit, Tayberry, white pepper, Tarragon and bay leaf.
Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – $60
This wine is 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 4% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot.
Nose of Blackberry, dried herbs, suede and underbrush.
Palate of Loch Ness Blackberry, black cherry, sweet pepper, rose petal, and freshly ground cardamom.
Acumen PEAK Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – $75
Scent of Lemon verbena, yellow peach, and fresh Thyme.
Palate of Buddha hand citrus, Calamansi lime, and moist stones.
Acumen Attelas Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – $150
This is a composition of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Malbec;
Nose: red/black cherry, black bramble, moisten red earth, and wood pile.
Palate of blackberry confit, rose petal, Thyme and hint of lavender.
Acumen Edcora Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – $150
This wine is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1%Cabernet Franc
Nose of Cassis and black bramble, aged hard wood, suede and autumnal forest.
Palate of Heirloom blackberry, pepper, and dried crushed herbs and hint of Ethiopian coffee bean.
Acumen Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – $150
This wine is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc,1% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot.
This wine exhibits black/blue fruit notes, dense forest, moist autumnal earth, and spice rack on nose and on the palate is a mixture of heirloom blackberries, rose petal, pepper and Thyme.
Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Tempranillo 2013 – $60
Bright red cherry note on nose along with baking spices and light red floral notes; palate is expressive of tart red cherry, white pepper, red tea and ground spices.
Acumen Mountainside Napa Valley Malbec 2013 – $60
Boysenberry, red tea, and violets; palate of Tayberry, Boysenberry, espresso, Cardamom and lavender.
A great experience if you are in Napa and want a high end and delightful wine tasting, superb and knowledgeable host. And an appreciable and sophisticated art gallery: when I was there Kadir Lopez contemporary works were exhibiting. Make a reservation and get ready to enjoy exceptional wines. from Atlas Peak.
James the Wine Guy
Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.
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