Conn Creek Winery Review
Address: 8711 Silverado Trail St. Helena,California 94574.
Phone Number: 800-793-7960
Tasting Hours: Sun-Fri 11:00-4:00, Sat 11:00-5:00
Region: Napa Valley AVA, Rutherford AVA, California
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 6/5/2013
Reviewer: Becky Parr
When my fearsome foursome was planning our trip to Napa and Sonoma, I expressed an interest in visiting Conn Creek because my sister-in-law has poured us some of their cabernet at family parties, and everyone liked it quite a bit. So I wanted to see what else they had. That was quite good enough for my traveling companions, so off we went.
The Place:  The first great thing Conn Creek has is the view. It took me awhile to venture into the tasting room from the parking lot because I was busy taking photos! The vista includes the rolling hills of Napa and some very large houses (chateaux?) nestled into the surrounding hillsides. It was breathtaking.
The tasting room itself is very airy with high ceilings and very clean architectural lines. One thing my friends remember from the visit is the plush couches where we got to sit to do our tasting. It was like being in a chic, modern living room with a gracious hostess.
The People:  Our hostess that day was Kelly. I think we were the only people in the tasting room at that time, but there were several employees in the building; I cant imagine having much of a wait even on a busy weekend. (I think we went on a Wednesday.) She was very knowledgeable about the wines, offering information as to the varietals and where the grapes came from. She poured promptly and generously and was also great when it came time to decide what we were going to ship home!
The Wines:  The tasting fee was $25, which I thought was a little high (being from Texas, Im not used to California prices) but the tasting sheet includes eight options and the tasting fee is waived if you buy two bottles. Kelly poured us a Sauvignon Blanc which was surprisingly creamy and buttery for a Sauvignon Blanc; although it did have a great deal of citrus, I felt it leaned more toward what youd usually expect from a Chardonnay. At any rate, I liked it.
The reds, however, are obviously Conn Creeks stars. The favorite across the board was the 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc. The winemaker describes this as black forest cake with cherries, chocolate, and a garnish of mint. I like black forest cake, so perhaps this was why I liked this wine so much! I found it easy to drink, but at the same time, I think it would pair well with a meal of perhaps pork or veal.
We tasted several Cabernet Sauvignons, including 2008 Newton Vineyard and the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is widely available and the one Id had before my trip to California. We learned that the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes grown in nine different areas of Napa Valley, and that its typical for Conn Creek to blend grapes from a number of vineyards. The 2009 Anthology, for example, which we also got to taste, is made from five different Bordeaux-style varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. It was very berry-forward and robust.
Insiders Tip:  I want to go back to Conn Creek to experience their AVA Room Blending Experience. This is a two-hour seminar that is offered twice daily (except Wednesdays) . Guests have the opportunity to learn about, taste, and blend wines from throughout Napa Valley and they take home a bottle of Conn Creek wine they blended themselves. Its $95 per person, or $65 for club members. Based on attendees reviews, it sounds like a great time.