Madrigal Family Winery Review
Address: 3718 St. Helena Hwy. N. Calistoga,California 94515.
Phone Number: 707-942-8619
Tasting Hours: By appt. 10:00-4:00
Region: Napa Valley AVA, Calistoga AVA, California
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
Review Date: 2/13/2016
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
In 1938, the grandparents of third-generation vintner Chris Madrigal emigrated from Mexico to the United States to seek a new farming life in the Napa Valley. The Madrigal family was one of the Napa Valleys first Mexican farming families, growing apples, grapes, pears, and walnuts. In the late 1970s, the Madrigals began focusing on grape growing, selling their grapes to wineries such as Clos Pegase and Duckhorn. In 1995, the Madrigal family began producing and selling their own wines, starting with 500 cases of their flagship petite sirah. Today, the Madrigal name is known in the Napa Valley for both Madrigal Vineyard Management and Madrigal Family Winery, which includes 40 acres of vineyards on the winerys home property. The winery is also a modern custom crush facility, housing space and equipment for six producers. Madrigal Family Winery handcrafts 6000 cases of wine annually, including cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petite sirah, petit verdot, garnacha, tempranillo, zinfandel, sauvignon blanc, and gewürztraminer sourced from Mendocino County. Other vineyard sources include Barberis Family Vineyard in Calistoga and Atlas Peak.
Arriving at Madrigal Family Winery just inside the Calistoga AVA feels a little like stepping back in time. Parking at the winery is along the gravel drive off of Highway 29. Around the corner is the face of the winery, a building which is reminiscent of a modest ranch. The tasting bar is unpretentious, the three tasting hosts unassuming. The tasting fee is $25 per person to taste five wines, waived with a three-bottle purchase. Other tasting options include the Reserve Tasting and Tour ($40), Wine and Cheese tasting ($50), and a Calistoga Lifestyle Winery Lunch ($75). I was greeted by Matt and a splash of the winerys first estate Fumé Blanc. Matt called my host for the afternoon, Tara, the winerys Director of Hospitality and Direct-to-Consumer Sales.
For our tasting, Tara led me outside to a private table overlooking the winerys beautiful vineyards. It was a perfect day for an outside tasting, sunny, with a cross-valley breeze that was strong enough to move the umbrella over our table and keep us on our toes. Because the Napa Valley has received some much-needed rain this winter, the vineyards were as green as the sky was blue. Tara had ordered a charcuterie and cheese platter from a local merchant and we spent the better part of a couple of hours tasting through many of their wines, touring the winery and barrel room, trying out a Valentines Day weekend chocolate and wine pairing, and talking about the history of Madrigal Family Winery. I was especially intrigued by the varietal wines other than the usual cabernet sauvignon and learned that the Madrigals decided to plant garnacha and tempranillo, inspired by a trip to Madrigal de las Altas Torres in Spain. Unfortunately, the garnacha was sold out, but I did take home bottles of the Estate Tempranillo and the Mendocino County Gewürztraminer. My other favorites included the Zinfandel Reserve, the Barberis Family Vineyard Petite Sirah, and the winerys only dessert wine, a Petite Sirah Port, which was the perfect paring with Yountvilles own Kollar Chocolates.
At the end of the tasting, I lingered a bit at the tasting bar with Tara. She offered me more tastes, which I graciously accepted. I didnt want the tasting at Madrigal Family Winery to end. I felt like I had spent the afternoon in the Napa Valley the way it used to be unhurried, genuine, and real.