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Mountain High 

Waxing poetic at CADE Winery

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The buzzards are circling at CADE. That's no figure of speech, they're nearly in our reach, on this perch on Howell Mountain so high—we're sharing the sky as we sit on the terrace while a nice young lady pours us wine.

But my colleague is starting to fade. She had too much to sip on the last stop on our trip, and now her glass has crashed in the gravel. At first I thought the view had stirred her. Over a fountain—seems to flow off the edge of the mountain—we can see Napa Valley all the way past that sign—who said, "And the wine is bottled doggerel"?

Have I mentioned the view from CADE? It really is fantastic, and it's yours, by reservation—with plastic—for a nonrefundable fee. That's all I can tell you about CADE. Of CADE nothing more is required. The answers I got, when I inquired, were about what you can get for free.

So I still have so many questions about CADE, as they say. Is it an acronym or something; are they just "shouting?" No—like its sister, Plumpjack, founded by the same pack, it's all to do with Shakespeare and wine. Guess what I learned on the internet today.

For years I'd looked forward to CADE. I'd expected a tour, that was the lure, but it's nobody's fault, sometimes winetasting gives you lemons. Here is my lemonade.

Speaking of which, let's move on to refreshments. Fruity as a Kiwi SB, spicy as a Talisker, the CADE 2014 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($30) is a bit raw but surely no plonk; I prefer the lime blossom aroma and lively acidity of the 2014 Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($48)—though that's double the coin I'd shell out for a Blanc.

The CADE 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($360, two-pack) has got plush, plum fruit going for it—and at first, the "melted" sort of tannins too—but it might take some time for the bitter finish to release its grip. Fortunately, the reserve Cab comes in a box of two: one to brave now, and the other to sample when it's softened—long before, we hope, you're old and alone and afraid.

A few weeks later I was chatting with a stranger who told me what a mistake I'd made. "So-so," I said, to which she counseled, "No, no—you must ask for the tour at CADE!"

360 Howell Mountain Road S., Angwin. Tasting by appointment only, on the hour, 10am–3pm. Tasting fee, $40; tour, $70. 707.965.2746.

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