The Fantesca Estates Experience
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Located one and a half miles from Hwy 29 in St. Helena and a thousand miles away from the hustle and bustle of Napa Valley. Fantesca Estates is in the Spring Mountain District AVA. This AVA (America Viticulture Area) straddles both Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley. The Mayacama Mountains separate the two. Climate fluctuates with influence from the sea and fog providing an optimal climate. The mountain starts at 200 feet and goes up to 2,600 feet in elevation at its highest point.
Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for most of the vineyard designation here. The elevation and diurnal shifts lend beautiful acidity & structure to the wines.
Perched on 53 acres rolling hills, Fantesca has dedicated 10 acres to vineyards. The vista framed by sweeping views of the valley below. The winery is a nest of peace and solitude.
Duane Hoff is the co-founder who along with his wife Susanne started the winery as a project 10 years ago. The dream was to evolve into a family business that each member could be a part of. While Susanne joined a start-up of sorts while still in college, Duane came on board later. The start-up would later become Best Buy. Their experience there would fund their dream.
Today the team includes Master Sommelier D’lynn Proctor who came on board as a Director at Fantesca. He’s best known for his roles in the Somm Series movies.
For most guests, the greeting will be with a beautiful glass of Lallier Champagne. A perfect way to kick off this rich laid back experience. As I arrive, a jewel of a Fantesca’s Chardonnay graces my hands. The Chardonnay contains fruit hand-selected by coveted winemaker Heidi Barrett. She’s been working with Fantesca from the beginning. A world-class winemaker, she described to the Hoff’s how she envisioned making wine. Her palettes are the parcels in the vineyards and the fruit within. The palette she uses to create the wine, much like an artist paints a painting. Her’s is the guiding hand of elegance and quality that exists in the wines of Fantesca.
Mass production is pervasive in the wine space. Not so at Fantesca. Duane explains how they make the Chardonnay. Using grapes from the Russian River Valley in this case. And how they get that beautiful texture in the wine. On the lees, using the battonage technique (stirring of the lees). This method gives a creamy mouthfeel to the wine while maintaining its vibrancy. A Burgundian style of making Chardonnay.
Sitting on the terrace is the perfect place to taste when the weather is favorable. I’m taking in these sweeping views of the valley floor below and the rolling hills of their vineyards. A stack of cut vines piled high pops out amongst the bright green of the lush ground cover. The vines pruned, stand at ready for bud break after their deep sleep. These vines are old Cabernet Sauvignon. Bearing less with far more complex and intense fruit than its younger counterparts.
My next taste is the 2015 King Richard’s Reserve Pinot Noir in the caves. The caves offer a cool respite from the sun. The barrels carry their treasures of wine while it matures inside. The 100-yard long tunnel serves as transport for the family to go from home to the winery each day. Some tastings take place in the cool stillness of the caves. Others in their tasting room above the winery itself.
Spring Mountain is known for its bright and vibrant wine. At Fantesca it’s got it all. This is an experience with wine you won’t soon forget. A destination with memorable wine, incredible scenery, and serenity. After one visit you’ll feel like part of the Fantesca Family.
For information on visiting Fantesca, contact Wine Paths Travel the luxury destination company.
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