Why Visit Charles Krug?
Looking for the tasting room to best all tasting rooms? Book a tasting appointment at the O.G. Napa Valley winery, Charles Krug. Quite literally, Charles Krug was the very first winery established in Napa Valley back in 1861 and the first to offer public tastings starting in 1882. Say, WHAT? That’s a long time to being doing the damn thing and without a doubt doing it well.
Charles Krug Winery
The tasting room at Charles Krug was built to match their world-renowned fine wines and was named amongst the top 10 tasting experiences in California according to Food & Wine. Honestly, it’s easy to see why. The tasting room is absolutely beautiful, built into the winery’s original cellar and renovated with steal beams, modern lighting, and updated accents. Yet the modern tasting room still gives a nod to history by maintaining the original Redwood Cellar structure of Charles Krug Winery. The far wall of the tasting room is floor to ceiling glass, giving guests a glimpse into the winery’s massive cellar filled with hundreds of wine barrels.
As my parents and I arrived for our tasting appointment, we were seated at our own table inside the gorgeous, tasting room. We had a dedicated server who provided a history of the winery and in-depth descriptions of the wines and the winemaking process for each. She was not only informative, but also hilarious and had refined the skill of being attentive without hovering. No one likes waiting for an empty glass to be filled and at Charles Krug our glasses were never empty.
My dad and I had been coveting the aging salumi hanging behind a glass case at the opposite end of the tasting room. Just as we were considering which to buy, the chef brought over a quartet of salumi along with olives and Marcona almonds. Charles Krug recently added Cucina Di Rosa to their hospitality center, offering both a Salumeria and outdoor pizza kitchen. Upon reaching the red wines in the tasting flight, each guest is offered a sampling of four signature salumi. Currently, the salumi are handmade and packaged by Journeyman Meat Company in Sonoma, though Charles Krug aims to bring the process in-house soon.
Each salumi is made from a lovely combination of a Charles Krug wine along with various herbs and spices, such as the Rosso which is Italian salame with Cabernet Sauvignon and juniper. The Finnocchiona, which was my favorite, was an Italian salame with Chardonnay and fennel. We wanted to take some salami home with us for hors d’oeuvres, but our first choice was not yet available for sale as it had not been properly packaged yet. However, the chef was kind enough to slice a small carton full of our favorite salame to take home at no cost. If that’s not hospitality, I don’t know what is.
While all of the above creates a memorable tasting experience as a whole, Charles Krug wines can truly stand and shine alone. Read on for tasting notes and book an appointment to experience the magic for yourself!
Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – Aged sur lie, or on the lees, meaning the wine is aged on the left over yeast particles from fermentation and occasionally stirred (bâtonnage). Read more about aging sur lie here. Wine aged sur lie tends to have more texture and structure, which was definitely evident in this Sauvignon Blanc. Smooth yet tart with hints of green apple and creamy minerals.
Malbec 2014 – This Malbec had exceptionally light tannins, which I enjoyed as it was very smooth drinking. Caramel and tobacco on the nose with a blueberry and vanilla finish.
Generations Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – Smooth and very easy drinking.
Voltz Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – This wine was a gorgeous deep purple. Notes of caramel and leather with a long lingering finish. A wine that would be perfect for Christmas dinner.
Cold Springs Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – From Howell Mountain vineyard, a prime growing region for Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are closer to the sun on the hillside vineyard and receive all of the nutrients from the volcanic soil of the area. This wine had notes of clove on the nose with a bit of licorice, dark cherry, and velvety tannins on the palate.