Much of the discussion about Napa Valley tends to focus on bigger producers—or, at the very least, the ones with the greatest name recognition. But in a region as important and unexpectedly diverse as Napa, there are of course countless smaller producers whose wines deserve to be tasted more broadly, and whose stories reveal a very different side to the reputation and stereotypes of one of the world’s most famous, and important, wine-growing regions.
Taylor Family Vineyards embodies not just the current state of winemaking in Napa Valley, but the region’s history, too. In that way, as well as the various challenges and triumphs they are currently experiencing, the Taylor story sheds an eye-opening light on a region that, for all its renown and glamour, is often not all that well understood beyond its glossy surface.
I first became aware of Taylor Family Vineyards nearly six years ago, when I received a mixed case of samples from Stags Leap District in preparation for a story I was writing on the AVA (American Viticultural Area). Stags Leap is among the most well-known of the AVAs within Napa Valley, and producers like Shafer Vineyards, Cliff Lede, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Stags’ Leap Winery, Pine Ridge, Chimney Rock, and more have garnered high praise for decades. And while I was impressed with the range and high quality of all the wines in that sample case, Taylor Family Vineyards was one of the standouts–deeply expressive, soulful, and with lots of potential for aging in the cellar. Since then, I have followed their evolution with interest, and have been drinking their wines with more regularity than I would have expected. (My father, a wine collector, joined Taylor’s mailing list after tasting the remnant of my sample bottle back in 2010, and their Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays are often our wine of choice to toast family birthdays, anniversaries, and other notable occasions.)...MORE*Just kidding, despite making installment payments that could have bought France, I don't own a vineyard.
I just wanted a chance to reprise one of the all-time greatest retweet comments, this one from former chess World Champion Garry Kasparov in response to The Onion:
Chess Grandmaster Tired Of People Comparing Every Life Situation To Chess Match https://t.co/OdgkifViMs pic.twitter.com/OWAnuSqQEV— The Onion (@TheOnion) September 4, 2016
Tell me about it. https://t.co/hgHNQgb4F5— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) September 5, 2016