Charles Krug Wines
Kathy and Terry Sullivan
Summary: Charles Krug Winery originally started by Charles Krug in 1861 has been owned by the Peter Mondavi family since the 1940s. Red wines are the focus of the first Napa winery that turned 150 years old in 2011.
Visitors to the Charles Krug tasting room in Napa Valley travel along a driveway lined with olive trees and acres of vineyards in view. Inside, the tasting room is divided into sections of items to browse, history to learn and tasting counter. A new tasting room is expected to be completed in 2013.
Charles Krug has a long winemaking history dating back to the 1800s. This first winery in Napa started in 1861. Not only given credit for establishing the first winery in Napa, Charles Krug introduced the use of a cider press for pressing grapes. His cider press (pictured) is on display near the tasting counter. During the mid-1800s the cider press was an innovation in winemaking. Charles Krug was also innovative in selecting rootstock and vineyard sites.
James Moffitt purchased the winery in 1892, after the death of Charles Krug. He held onto the winery through Prohibition and sold it to Cesare and Rosa Mondavi in 1943. The Mondavi family including sons Peter and Robert were involved in the winery. In 1966, Peter became President of Charles Krug winery and Robert moved to Yountville to open the Robert Mondavi Winery. Today, Peter Mondavi and his sons, Marc and Peter, Jr. run the winery.
The Redwood Cellar (pictured above), the iconic image of Charles Krug winery, houses a large barrel room and is the location of the reserve barrels of wine. The extra space in this building will be renovated and become the location for the new tasting room with 11,000 square feet of retail and wine tasting.
In the St. Helena AVA, the Home Vineyards at the winery consist of 137 acres. Varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, and Syrah. During a November visit, wine travelers can view the vineyard colors with shades of light greens, yellows, oranges and reds.
In the Howell Mountain AVA of Napa Valley there are three vineyards. In the Yountville AVA Charles Krug has six vineyards.The Willow Lake Vineyard is in the Carneros AVA.
Chardonnay Carneros 2010 was fermented in stainless steel and aged in neutral oak. The result was a wine with a light yellow color. Pear and caramel were part of the bouquet. The taste offered pear, apple, and caramel notes. The finish was crisp with fruit yielding to caramel.
Pinot Noir Russian River 2009 was a ruby color. There were cherry notes on the nose. The taste had cherry and spice notes. The finish with tannins was fruity yielding to spice. Merlot 2008 was a ruby color. Grapes are sourced from different Charles Krug vineyards in Napa Valley. The aroma and taste offered notes of dark fruit. Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville Napa Valley 2009 was a dark ruby with a ruby rim. The wine offered dark fruit notes. The finish had tannins and blackberry nuances. Generations 2008 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The color was dark ruby to purple with a ruby rim. The nose offered dark fruit nuances. The taste was of blackberries and raspberries. The finish had bold tannins and was fruity. Cabernet Sauvignon Vintage Selection 2008 had a bit of Petit Verdot. The wine was a dark ruby to purple with a ruby rim. Blackberry notes were on the aroma and taste, while the taste had a hint of cocoa. The finish with bold tannins was chewy and fruity. The 150th Anniversary 2008 was bottled in a 1.5 liter magnum. This ruby color wine offered blackberry nuances throughout. The bold tannins on the finish were accompanied by fruitiness and chewiness. Rocky Ridge Howell Mountain 2007 was a Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The color was dark ruby with a ruby rim. The wine offered dark fruit nuances notably blackberry. The finish had bold tannins with black fruit notes.
Visit Charles Krug and learn about their history and taste their wines. Watch for the opening of the new wine tasting center in 2013.
Charles Krug Winery
2800 Main Street
St. Helena, California 94574
GPS: N38º 31.097’ W122º 28.971’
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