Wine BouquetThe secret of enjoying wine lies in its bouquet. Also known as "nose" or "aroma," this quality can reveal a lot about wine - the presence of preservatives, overexposure to oxygen, and even its age.
To get the smell of your wine, take about ten seconds swirling the glass to allow the wine to volatilize. You can then move it closer to your nose and inhale, whatever the smell that comes out will tell you much about the wine. Is the scent pleasant, or is it metallic? Does it smell like fruit, or is it funky? The smell may be citrus, floral, fruity, earthy, or any other scent which will depend on the preparation.
Wine AppearanceThe wine's appearance refers to how clear it is. When analyzing wine, its appearance is one of the factors you need to consider. The appearance of wine can help you to judge quality and is an indicator of its health. A healthy wine reflects light easily from its surface.
To determine the appearance of your wine, put your glass at an angle against some white background. Its opaqueness will give you a clue to the aging process, and the grape variety used.
For example, a deeper blue color indicates that the wine is wood cask aged. Other characteristics of wine affected by its appearance include its balance, acidity, and vintage. Note that sweet and white wines are denser, while red wine tends to be intense or deep.
The Taste of Wine
The most important characteristic of a wine is its taste. It goes hand in hand with its smell and appearance. Wine-tasting is a skill that you can learn, but it needs some concentration. So, when in a crowded or noisy place, you may not get the real taste of your wine.
The taste is also affected by the odor from other sources, as well as the temperature of the wine. What you've been drinking or eating may also affect your impression of the wine.
When you sip wine, it will interact with your taste buds and the olfactory nerve receptors. This will help you to determine the varietal character, complexity, expressiveness, and clarity of the wine. Some questions to consider are: Is it acidic, sweet, or balanced? Are you able to pick any unique flavors?
Finish or Aftertaste
Finish or after taste is that flavor that remains in your mouth after you've swallowed the wine. It is also another parameter used to determine the quality of the wine. Great wines have sophisticated, long, and luxurious finishes. They are also smooth and soft in texture.
Every wine bottle has an aromatic tale that tells its story. There isn't a right or wrong way of appreciating wine because each person is different. If you don't like the smell, taste, or appearance of a particular wine, you can try another wine.
Experience the tastes of a Spring Mountain Winery, and schedule a visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards or place your wine order directly.
Each season brings a unique beauty to the Spring Mountain District near St. Helena, CA, but there’s something truly special about experiencing spring in this region. This time of year breathes fresh life into St. Helena and Spring Mountain. The season’s mild weather offers a prime opportunity to explore the outdoors and the area offers ample attractions to fill your days. From experiencing growing season at the Spring Mountain wineries to enjoying local cuisine, check out the following attractions to make the most of your time in St. Helena.
Spend Time Outdoors
A visit to the Spring Mountain area wouldn’t be complete without exploring the outdoors. This region of California boasts a beautiful natural landscape and one of the best ways to explore it is through a horseback riding tour. Several stables are located throughout the area that offer a variety of tour options for all levels of experience. Spend an afternoon horseback tour soaking up the spring sunshine and spot wildlife along the journey.
If horseback riding isn’t your thing, there are many other ways to explore the outdoor beauty surrounding St. Helena. Spend a morning, afternoon or an entire day hiking one of the area’s state parks or rent a kayak and paddle around Lake Hennessey or one of the region’s other lakes. Seeking some adrenaline during your travels? Discover the region from up high in a hot air balloon ride.
Explore Local Museums and Galleries
Learn a bit about St. Helena’s history and culture by visiting some of the town’s museums and art galleries. One of these notable attractions is the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, which commemorates the life of St. Helena resident and famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson through exhibits and artifacts on display. Main Street St. Helena is home to a few great art galleries that are worth exploring as well as many other local shops.
Enjoy Local Cuisine and Music
One of the best parts about traveling is enjoying a region’s local cuisine and culture. St. Helena and the surrounding areas offer ample opportunities to enjoy excellent food and great music. One of the most notable landmarks in St. Helena is The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. The Greystone building was built in the 1800s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Schedule a visit to explore the building and book a cooking class. The music scene comes to life in St. Helena in spring, with many establishments offering live music on various nights.
Don’t Forget the Wine
Of course, no trip to the Spring Mountain district would be complete without a trip to the wineries. Situated at the top of Spring Mountain, Sherwin Family Vineyards offers spectacular views of St. Helena and the surrounding landscape. The vineyard’s tasting experience is unlike any other in Napa Valley. Relax on the patio in warm weather or cozy up next to the tasting room’s fireplace on chilly days with a glass of the winery’s award-winning wine in hand. Whether in spring or another season, a visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards is sure to complete your St. Helena trip.
Spring is an ideal time to visit the Spring Mountain District near St. Helena. From horseback riding tours to museums and art galleries, the St. Helena region offers ample attractions for visitors. Of course, no trip to St. Helena would be complete without a visit to Sherwin Family Vineyards.
Sherwin Family Vineyards would like to invite you to our Spring Mountain winery this Valentine’s Day. Since wine and romance go hand in hand, a Valentine’s Day visit to Spring Mountain in St. Helena is a great way to spend time together with your loved ones.
Visit Sherwin Family Vineyards
Established in 1996, our family-owned vineyard is a piece of paradise on Spring Mountain. Tours are available by reservation only and include a tour of the winery and a very special fireside wine tasting experience in our exclusive tasting room or on the deck overlooking our private lake when weather permits. An excellent Valentine’s Day experience, Sherwin Family Vineyards features a beautiful view, wonderful people to mingle with, and what we believe you will consider some of the finest wine from our Spring Mountain winery.
Opened in 1981, Auberge du Soleil was Napa Valley’s first fine-dining restaurant. In 1986, The Inn of the Sun was opened and lies amidst 33 acres of heritage olive and oaks. The hotel offers 55 rooms and suites and the Valentine’s Day spa experience, known as Très Romantique, is a perfect romantic treat for the senses. It features an invigorating outdoor bath for two followed by a relaxing massage for two. Afterward, enjoy an elegant dessert and wine pairing. There are three temperate outdoor pools where couple can relax under the stars. Sleep in the morning after and end your experience with a scrumptious breakfast for two served in-room.
PRESS is one of St. Helena’s most loved dining venues. Exquisite meals are served with some of the finest wines. The environment is ideal for getting to know that special someone a little more intimately. PRESS is the culmination of Leslie Rudd’s life passion, who loved “great wine, great food, and time to enjoy great friends”. PRESS offers five unique private dining spaces with indoor, outdoor, and two cellar options for cocktail parties and dinners alike.
Where To Go
Elmshaven is a historic museum house built in 1885 and this Victorian estate is something to behold. Home of Ellen White House, one of the founders of the 7th Day Adventists, a renowned writer who penned nine religious volumes in the estate’s writing room before she passed away in 1915. The home is decorated with White’s belongings, many of which are still located where she placed them more than a century ago. Listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1993, walk-in tours are free and the estate is open 7 days a week.
What To Do
St. Helena Cyclery provides bicycles of all types, from regular bikes to hybrids and all-electric models. Because Napa Valley lies between the mountains, cycling is an excellent way for couples to tour the wineries, sample the best wines California has to offer and enjoy a leisurely ride through the beautiful countryside. Maps of selected routes are available to visitors, including our exclusive Taste The Wine tour of local vineyards.
Spring Mountain and St. Helena has a lot to offer at this time of the year. Summer months can be a bit hectic at the vineyards so take advantage of this current season. Visit us for a tasting and be sure to ask us about our favorite things to see and do while you are in the area.
Try something a little different this season and visit a Spring Mountain winery. The bustling activity of Veraison is over, and local wineries are happy to show off the fruits of their labors. Spend a few days in St. Helena and experience the festive side of California’s Napa Valley. Be sure to schedule a tour at Sherwin Family Vineyards as part of your holiday excitement, and let the festivities begin!
Christmas on Skates
St, Helena’s Jingle All The Way celebration takes place every Thursday through Sunday in the month of December. Don your skates and come down to Lyman Park for skating, music, wine and dining. Couples and families are sure to have a wonderful time so set aside at least one afternoon for a bit of fun in the park.
Ride the Santa Train
During the holidays, the Napa Valley Wine Train transforms into a holiday extravaganza on tracks. The Santa Wine Train runs between Napa and St. Helena until the end of the year and features hot cocoa, fresh cookies, Santa Claus, and fun for the whole family. The Wine Train is always an exciting tour of Napa Valley, but the Christmas season makes it even better.
A Feast for the Season
For a locally sourced Italian delight, reserve a table at Cook St. Helena. House-stretched mozzarella and international dishes give the cozy atmosphere more appeal. Ideal for couples celebrating the season, Cook St. Helena is one of several top-ranked restaurants in St. Helena. If domestic fare is more to your liking, Archetype serves fine American brunch and dinner.
New Years Speakeasy
Step back in time at the Goose and Gander where a New Year’s Eve gala is sure to rock your world. Featuring ragtime music and a luxurious 7-course Pixie Fixe dinner, this speakeasy-themed restaurant and lounge will close out the night with an after-party that stretches right up to the end of 2019.
Visit the Winery
Schedule visits to one or more of the local wineries that dot the countryside around St. Helena. At Sherwin Family Vineyards we are always happy to show our guests around, give them some insight into the wine business, and relax over private tastings of some of our popular vintages. This time of year is perfect for sipping our unique wines in front of a fire. This is one of the best seasons to visit Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain AVA. For visitors, this is the time to make new friends, discover the art of winemaking, and see what St. Helena has to offer.
Named for a group of mountains and their numerous springs, Spring Mountain lies between Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The region is dotted with picturesque lines of grapes growing on painstakingly terraced slopes, and Spring Mountain is home to dozens of working vineyards. Sherwin Family Vineyards, a Spring Mountain winery, is proud to be among that number and works hard to ensure that your visit will be a memorable experience.
A Brief History of Spring Mountain
A member of the Mayacamas Mountains, Spring Mountain is nestled above St. Helena. First planted in 1874, Spring Mountain gained recognition as an American Viticulture Area, or AVA, in 1993. Since then, Spring Mountain wineries have built a respectable reputation as a producer of fine vintages. When Miravalle was built a few years later, the stage was set.
La Perla Vineyard was the first of a new wave of wine lovers and their vineyards in 1874. Founded by Charles Lemme, that modest 25-acre enterprise led to the Beringers expanding their operation into Spring Mountain a short time later. Once the area became an AVA in 1993, other wineries such as Sherwin Family Vineyards in 1996, set up operations in this idyllic region.
Spring Mountain News
Spring Mountain has been drawing prominent attention for more than a century. Eyebrows were raised when Tiburcio Parrott, a San Francisco banker built a Victorian-style home in the area and established Miravalle. The idea of growing world-class grapes in such rocky, hilly terrain was preposterous in 1893, but Miravalle’s gold medal win at the World’s Fair caused other future vintners to give Spring Mountain serious consideration.
Spring Mountain Grapes
Spring Mountain AVA is comprised of 8,600 acres, with over 1,000 acres already in cultivation. The terraced rows add a feeling of purpose with their precise organization along the region’s hillsides. The attitudes are more laid back and the unique climate is ideal for wine grapes to go through the ripening process, known as veraison. Unlike the sprawling old-world vineyards, Spring Mountain is home to many smaller vineyards tucked among the hillside’s forests and mystique.
All these years later, and Spring Mountain is still known for its distinctive premium wines, each the result of wine-lovers turned investors who were willing to put the time and work into making what has become some of the finest wines out of Napa Valley. From exquisite wines to extraordinary vintners, Spring Mountain is a unique experience.
St. Helena and Spring Mountain have everything you need for a weekend break, vacation escape, or just a getaway for mom and dad. Visit us and you’ll taste some of the best wines Sherwin Family Vineyards has to offer while experiencing the best of our corner of the Napa Valley.
Why is Decanting Important?Decanting wine before serving is always a good idea. Even white wines benefit from the process, which typically produces a richer flavor. There are a couple of excellent reasons why we decant wines at Sherwin Family Vineyards, a Spring Mountain Winery:
- Oxygenation - Giving air molecules a chance to mix with the wine allows it to develop a bouquet and fuller body. If you have ever opened a bottle of wine and it seemed a little flat or less flavorful than expected, you have experienced one of the primary reasons for decanting.
- Sediment - Red wines are prone to sediment buildup as they age. This is the result of natural tannin bonding to the pigment, and becomes more pronounced in wines older than 5 years but may still be present in younger, heavier red wines. Because of the tinting in wine bottles, inspecting the bottle before opening may not reveal sediments in the bottle.
How to Decant WineOn our St. Helena estate, the decanting process begins when a wine is selected for serving. Bottles are placed upright and allowed to stand for 24 hours so that any sediments in the bottle will settle out of the wine. It is important to change the position of the bottle slowly to avoid mixing the sediments with the wine. After the wine has had an opportunity to settle, you are ready for decanting. Open the bottle in a smooth motion. Using a flashlight or candle as a backlight, slowly pour the wine into your decanter. As you near the bottom of the bottle, you will notice a few dark pieces of sediment in the flow. Stop pouring and discard the remaining fluid in the bottle.
How Long Should Wine Be Decanted?The time between decanting and serving depends on the wine being served. Heavy wines profit more from longer decanting periods, but lighter wines are more fragile. Because extended decanting may cause the flavor of these light wines to fade, the process should begin no more than 30 minutes before serving or serve directly from the bottle. Longer periods are more appropriate for dark wines, especially older vintages. When pouring from the bottle, keep a firm, steady hand. Vibrations or sudden movement will cause the sediments to shift and may affect the flavor of the wine. We decant many of the wines we serve at Sherwin Family Vineyards, and we believe you will discover that decanting works well for you as well. Sherwin Family Vineyards proudly produces award-winning wines including our estate cabernet sauvignon. We are also the only producer of the Patriotic Pour. Come relax on our vineyard terrace and sample our wines on your next visit. To schedule a tasting please contact us today.
One of the most popular wines at Sherwin Family Vineyards, a Spring Mountain winery, is our special blend called Cellar Scraps. With the harvest season in full swing, a new vinting of Cellar Scraps is just around the corner so we thought a little information about the wine and how it came to be would make an interesting topic.
Cellar Scraps at a Glance
Most wines are made from a single vinting, but not Cellar Scraps. It is a multi-vintage blend consisting of multiple varietals. The blend changes each year and is determined by the varietal leftovers after our other red wine production has finished. The blend is primarily the current year’s Cabernet Sauvignon, but other end cuts are mixed in as well, including:
- Cabernet Franc
- Petite Sirah
The exact blend changes yearly and typically includes a blending of two previous vintages of Cellar Scraps to maintain a consistent final product and create a truly multi-vintage wine.
The Origin of Cellar Scraps
Early on, we noticed that our cabernet blend did not always blend equally. This resulted in a few barrels being left over after each blend. After a couple of years, we noticed that these leftover barrels were beginning to accumulate, taking up valuable space in the back of the cellar. The solution was to blend these excess barrels together, creating a brand new blend that could be served in our estate tasting room. Our visitors loved the wine and began requesting bottles of this unique blend to take home. That is how blends of some of the best wines available from Sherwin Family Vineyards became one of our bestselling products.
End Cuts of Premium Wines
Cellar Scraps is far from being the dregs of the barrel. Instead, it is blended from many of Sherwin Family Vineyards’ most sophisticated wines. As each varietal is blended, the end cuts-- the leftover barrels after blending-- are carefully blended together with the Cellar Scraps from previous vintages. So it may be our cellar scraps, but our scraps are still premium quality wine.
“Call It What It Is”
We had a new product, and it was popular with our visitors, but we didn’t have a name for it. One night the Sherwin’s had dinner and wine with some close friends and we began brainstorming a name for this new wine. At some point, Steve Sherwin suggested that “We may as well call it what it is!” And the name Cellar Scraps was born. Not really scraps of wines, but the final barrels of some of our best blended into one. A prime mix of premium wines, if you will.
Today, we are offering our 13th vinting of Cellar Scraps, and we look forward to many more to come. We encourage you to stop by our, Spring Mountain winery, Sherwin Family Vineyards, for a tour of the estate and wine tasting in our private tasting room. You can get a first-hand feel for the quality and taste of Cellar Scraps, and we think you will agree that it is some of the best wine you have had the pleasure of trying. Better yet, take a bottle home and share some Cellar Scraps with your wine-loving friends.
By September, veraison is in full swing at Sherwin Family Vineyards. This is a critical time for the vintners and an exciting time for visitors. This month we would like to give you some insight into veraison, and what makes this a special time of year for winemakers.
Veraison is Special for Visitors
The grapes are literally changing colors on the vines at this time of year, and even the white grapes are becoming more translucent as they ripen. Visitors to Sherwin Family Vineyards during veraison will enjoy an enlightening experience of actually seeing the grapes of their favorite wines ripening to perfection. Since grapes ripen at slightly different speeds, you can observe the changes-- from subtle to obvious-- taking place on a single vine. You can even watch the grapes being sorted for quality and processing.
Hand Harvest Begins
During September and October, the grapes ripen and must be harvested by hand to be certain that only the grapes which meet exacting standards are harvested. They ripen quickly and must be harvested at just the right time, so the vineyards of Spring Mountain are bustling with workers examining the vines and picking only those at the peak of their ripeness. Ripening occurs at a different pace based on the varietal being grown, and the harvest will progress from one type of grape to another throughout the season.
After grapes have been picked and sorted they are quickly moved into processing. Crushing and pressing must take place quickly to avoid spoilage, over-ripening, and even early natural fermentation. Red grapes are pressed and some of the skins and seeds from the process are used to enhance coloration and add other qualities. White grapes are crushed and the skins and seeds removed. Just as each vintner has a preferred time to pick, they also have their own unique pressing and crushing processes in order to achieve their own unique wines.
Fermentation Offers a Break
Fermentation takes place largely without interference. In fact, a vinting can be spoiled by too much interference from the vintners. Instead, the fermentation period is a time of recuperating from the hectic pace of harvest. Winemakers and visitors are given a chance to socialize a little more, celebrating the coming end to another successful season. White wines tend to reach a peak in fermentation in as little as 10 days or so, and that means a bit of early tasting is just around the corner when fermentation begins. Red wines take a little longer, so the celebration of veraison stretches out for most of the autumn months as one wine and then another reaches fruition.
Closing the Season
By the end of October, the leaves have turned and the nights have begun to chill. The hectic days of September are past and vintners are eager to entertain guests and show off their best wines. Veraison may be a busy time in Spring Mountain, but the benefits which follow are worth the effort.
Visit us for a tasting and attend some of the many fall events happening during harvest on Spring Mountain.
As Summer drifts toward the Harvest months, Spring Mountain enters a bustling time of activity. This is the perfect time of year to visit Sherwin Family Vineyards, meeting the vintners and experiencing our fine wines while watching harvest take place. For those who are new to our little corner of Napa Valley, a short guide to our wines of summer can be an enlightening experience.
2015 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
The flagship wine of Sherwin Family Vineyards, our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is produced entirely from fruit grown on the Sherwin Family estate. The 2015 vintage is one of our most notable harvests, and this wine is excellent for today or cellaring for special occasions. Very limited production as 2015 was a low yielding year.
2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Hand-selected from the cream of the crop Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, our 2015 Reserve Cabernet is barrel aged for 30 months on 100% new French oak to integrate the full bodied tannin and bring out the full flavor profiles that our mountain fruit has to offer. Production of this fine wine is limited, so order yours while supplies last. Only 150 cases produced.
Cellar Scraps #13
Created from 2015 and 2016 vintings of several wines, this 70% Cabernet Sauvignon includes a hint of Petite Syrah, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Perfect for formal gatherings and informal events as well, we are sure your family and friends will love the balanced flavor and distinctive aroma.
2018 Carneros Chardonnay
Made with fruit from a Carneros vineyard originally planted in 1965, this fine wine has roots that trace back to Chardonnay clones grown at Wente vineyards. The fruit driven flavor profile is balanced with just a hint of the oak barrels it is stored in.
2018 Rosé of Cabernet
A great summer wine for outdoor gatherings and quiet evenings alike, our 2018 vintning carries a clean flavor that brings out the flavor of foods it is paired with. Popular at local venues, a magnum of this excellent wine is the perfect addition to any connoisseur's wine cellar.
2018 Sauvignon Blanc
One of Sherwin Family Vineyard’s popular white wines, Sauvignon Blanc goes well with fruits and cheeses, making it an excellent wine to serve at wine tastings or romantic dinners. Be sure to ask about our Sauvignon Blanc while visiting the estate.
We are thrilled to make our estate part of your visit to St. Helena, but veraison is a crucial time and the vineyards keep us busy from August through October. Sherwin Family Vineyards is a working estate, and visitors are encouraged to make reservations before visiting so that you will receive the attention you deserve. To allow you to fully enjoy the experience, we suggest arranging for transportation ahead of your visit, such as our area’s unique My Napa Valley Driver.
July sees summer get underway on Spring Mountain. Small family wineries like Sherwin Family Vineyards are bustling with activity as Independence Day approaches. This may be one of the best times of year to schedule your Spring Mountain wine tasting tour, and St. Helena provides plenty of lodging and dining. There is a lot to see and do in the area, so plan for a minimum of 2 or 3 days to get the full experience.
Summer wine tasting excursions to Spring Mountain are perfect weekend getaway ideas but should be booked in advance. You should also make reservations for any events you plan to attend. Estates such as Sherwin Family Vineyards at the top of Spring Mountain offer magnificent views and opportunities for tasting the area’s finest wines, but they are small wineries and need to schedule tours in order to provide the best experience.
Dress for the Part
It is a good idea to wear comfortable clothing and good walking shoes because winery tours will include a fair amount of walking around. A typical tour includes the entire experience from the vines to bottling. Days are warm but visitors should pack warmer attire for the evenings. Keep an eye on weather forecasts and dress accordingly, both for temperature and for rain.
Attend an Event
Some wineries will be holding special events all summer long, like the Festa Italiana, an event taking place July 27 in St. Helena. The Wine Train Independence Day tour offers fun, food, wine, and fireworks as your ride this vintage Napa Valley train.
Visit the CIA
The Culinary Institute of America has a campus in St. Helena where visitors can learn the intricacies of fine food, great wine, and more. The Greystone facility is listed on the list of National Historic Places, and you’ll find a wide variety of eating and food-related shopping options.
Get a Safe Ride
Wine tasting is an exciting way to spend a day or two, but we encourage you to please be responsible. If you are going to be drinking, the best thing to do is schedule a ride with one of the area's local services, Uber, Lyft, etc. The road down the mountain can be treacherous and we want our visitors to carry home happy memories.
St. Helena and Spring Mountain have everything you need for a weekend break, vacation escape, or just a getaway for mom and dad. Visit us and you’ll taste some of the best wines Sherwin Family Vineyards has to offer while experiencing the best of our corner of the Napa Valley.