Summary:The light rainy morning couldn’t dampen our spirits once we entered B Cellars winery. Honey colored wood warms the heart and sets the mood for a wine tasting in a candle lit barrel room. Visitors to B Cellars have several tasting options, many involving one of the wineries wine educators. Experience a wine tasting that is different from other wineries.
It was at a barbecue that Jim Borsack and Duffy Keys met in 2003. That chance meeting brought the realization that each shared a passion for wines, making blends and sourcing grapes from the best vineyards. They decided to work together to create fine wines. They hired Kirk Venge to be their winemaker. The enthusiasm that this team brings to wine is infectious. The staff is also enthusiastic and the excitement is transferred to visitors.
Around the parking area, eight acres of vineyards provide a portion of the winegrapes used at B Cellars. The vineyards include plantings of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a few plantings of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Other grapes are sourced from vineyards in Napa Valley including famed Stagecoach, To Kalon, Dr. Crane, Caldwell, Williamson Ranch, Juliana, Maldonado, Star, and Lewelling.
A small tasting counter has windows behind it giving visitors a look into the barrel aging room. Several people can taste wines at the tasting counter. Leather sofas offer a relaxing area to sit and take in the beauty of the room. Outside the tasting room a patio has several tables and chairs offering a beautiful location adjacent to a pond and vineyards.
We were met by Chef Christina Machamer who took us to a table in the barrel aging room. The table was set with five wines and five wine glasses for each of us. Christina was the winner of season four Hell’s Kitchen on FOX television. Although known for her culinary arts, Christina grew up in Missouri wine country where her parents owned a farm. She spent time in Italy and while studying for culinary arts she also studied to be a sommelier.
We noticed on the way into the the winery the lowercase letter b. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice a degree sign to the upper left of the b. The ºb stands for degree brix. Several wines are named such as Blend 23. The 23 refers to the average brix level for the grapes used to make the blend. Degrees brix is a measurement of sugar in the grapes.
The 2010 Blend 23 was a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. There was caramel on the aroma and apple and pear on the taste. The finish was crisp with layers of fruit on the aftertaste. The 2008 Blend 24 consisted of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah and Petite Sirah. This wine had blackberries and black cherries on the aroma and taste while offering mild tannins. The fruity finish had hints of violets. The 2008 Blend 25 was made from Cabernat Sauvignon and Syrah. This ruby color wine had blackberries and blueberries on the aroma and taste. It had tannins and a fruity finish. The 2009 Blend 26 was aged 24 months in oak. This wine was made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from three different vineyards. The aroma and taste were very fruity with black raspberries. There were bold chewy tannins and a hint of cherries and spice on the finish. The 2008 Caldwell’s Kreunzer Canyon Syrah was a dark ruby color. It had dark fruits and smoke on the aroma. The taste offered plum and blackberries. There were bold chewy tannins and the wine finished with fruit and a hint of smoke.
Surrounding our wine tasting table were candles. Some were on barrels while others were in candelabra. The setting was romantic. While tasting the wines there is the constant reminder of wines aging in barrels and stainless steel tanks. Behind windows on a second level platform an old wood basket press is on display. The backdrop for the wine tasting is a gentle reminder of the winemaking process, while the wines remind one of the creativity and art that winemakers use to craft their wines.
The wine tasting experience at B Cellars is different than other wineries. They offer several different wine tasting options and reservations are required. Visitors can also taste wines in the tasting salon area and on the patio without appointments.
B Cellars Winery and Tasting Salon
400 Silverado Trail
Calistoga, California 94515
GPS: N38º 35.065' W122º 34.023'
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