In 1989, Carl Doumani discovered the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a Viennese painter, architect, ecologist and philosopher. Believing that the wine world had transformed a beverage of consummate pleasure into an absurdly serious pursuit, he commissioned Hundertwasser to design a winery to combat these notions. [EP137]
Imagine Alice in Wonderland meets Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.
Now about the wines…
The winery borders the famed Shafer’s Hillside Select vineyards in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District. Winemaker B.R. Smith, who studied under Aaron Pott, crafts these deeply flavored wines under the watchful eye of consulting winemaker Philippe Melka. Cabernet Sauvignon is the obvious draw but the Petite Sirah steals the show, bringing grace and elegance to an otherwise dark and brooding variety.
Upon entering the barrel room, Smith’s surfboard, perched atop the first row of barrels, lets you know these people have a zest for life and whimsy. Bruce Mackay is the tour guide and historian, with numerous stories of the property and it’s eccentric inhabitants.
If you were visiting Napa and only had one winery to visit, this would be a fulfilling choice. Hope you enjoy the show.