Friends often ask me for recommendations for Wine Country. While I am more than happy to share (Michael’s interactive Google map is a sight to behold) there really is no wrong way to ‘do’ Wine Country.
For many, taking a drive up Highway 29 through Napa is all they will ever need. Big name wineries abound in this gorgeous stretch from Napa into St. Helena (think Robert Mondavi, Beringer, Beaulieu Vineyards) sometimes referred to as adult Disneyland. Seeing the beautiful estates from your favorite wine label transform from illustrations in your grocery store aisle to sprawling chateaux in person never gets old.
For others, it is all about finding that next cult wine or limited production site where you might meet the winemaker in person. Walking through the vines with the person who transforms that fruit into the wine you’re saving for a special occasion is not to be missed.
I think there is a place for both options, but if you are looking for the perfect combination between the two the answer is Round Pond Estate Winery. Situated in the Rutherford region of Napa Valley, this family-owned winery is known for its rich, expressive wines (especially Cabernet), olive oil and farm-to-table philosophy.
Having visited the winery once before on our engagement trip, Michael and I anxiously awaited our return visit. We love all of their wines. Their rosé of Nebbiolo and estate Sauvignon Blanc are summer staples and the transition to fall and now winter means we can open some of their reds–the Proprietary Blend and both of their Cabernets are just about perfect.
A short drive off of Highway 29, Round Pond greets guests with a long palm-tree lined entrance that frames the estate in front of you. Upon arrival, we were escorted to the spacious outdoor terrace and seated at a small table near the expansive fireplace. After being greeted by our lovely host, Jeanie, we were treated to their Estate Tasting.
The family believes that the right food pairing helps bring out the full flavors in wine and they put that philosophy on full display for us. We tasted through four of the vineyard’s wines paired with their own garden-inspired appetizers all while enjoying the stunning views of the property.
The Estate Tasting Wine Pairings:
- 2014 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc served with Housemade Chips with Onion Dip, Salmon Caviar featuring Round Pond Estate Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and Chives from the garden
- 2013 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon served with Olive Arrancini with Fried Olive Risotto and Roasted Garlic Aioli featuring Round Pond Estate Italian Varietal EVOO and Infused Garlic Oil and Yellow Onion, Egg and Garlic from the garden
- 2012 and 2013 Proprietary Red Wine – Chili Braised Short Rib Sope with Dora’s Tomato Salsa, Radish, Micro Cilantro, Laura Chenel Goat Cheese and Infused Olive Oil featuring Round Pond infused Chili Olive Oil and Cabernet-Merlot Red Wine Vinegar & Radish and Cilantro from the garden
My favorite? They were all wonderful, but the definite highlight of the day was tasting the inaugural release of their Cabernet-based ‘The Vow’ which is one of their exclusive Gravel Series wines and a special addition to our tasting.
The Gravel Series represents the very best fruit from three iconic vineyard sites and came together to honor their mother, father, and their “vow” to always keep the winery in the family. We picked up a bottle to celebrate our vow to each other and are planning on opening it for a future anniversary.
In addition to the Estate Tasting, the winery offers olive oil tastings, a Garden-to-Table brunch on Sundays, tours of the property and “A Day in the Life of Round Pond” experience during harvest. This “live like a local” experience definitely tops my list for a future date!
Thank you to Round Pond for the complimentary estate tasting. Although the tasting was free, the opinions in this article are my own and Round Pond has been one my favorites even before I started my blog!