11 October, 2016

Combining Tradition, Terroir and Technology- My Visit to Palmaz Vineyards

Palmaz Vineyards: Beautiful vista and deliscious wines
Nestled within three different elevations of Mt. George in Napa, California, lies the historic nineteenth century Henry Hagen estate. Now owned by the Palmaz Family, (Julio, Amalia, Christian Gaston and Florencia) it has been restored and designed into a twenty-first century state-of-the-art vineyard and winery, while continuing to hold on to the tradition of producing great vintages. Palmaz Vineyards produce their selection of wines using the following techniques of organic, biodynamic and erosion-control philosophies. The Palmaz's son, Christian Gaston's book " Tradition, Terroir and Technology" chronicles the history and workings of the family vineyard and winery.

Palmaz offers the following wines:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Gaston Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Brasas - Mountain fruit with a little Malbec blended in 
  • Amalia Chardonnay
  • Louisa Riesling
  • Florencia Muscat

The Palmaz family decided to bring the vineyard and winery into modern times by creating the winery Cave.  This stunning site truly follows Bauhaus' principle of "form follows function". Its maze of tunnels and dome were carved into Mt. George, eighteen stories deep. This engineering marvel provides gravity-flow winemaking in addition to the natural temperature controlled cave setting. At the winery's core the fermentation dome sits center stage . The Dome holds 24 tanks that are all controlled by Palmaz's sophisticated monitoring system. Technology and the art of wine making pair perfectly together, like Palmaz's 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon savored with earthy, spiced-up Argentinian beef empanadas.

During my visit, which was graciously hosted by the Palmaz family members, we were treated to an exceptionally beautiful view on the winery's stone terrace overlooking the gorgeous Napa Valley. Enjoyed was a lovely Louise Riesling, with its high acidity, exotic aromas and food pairing versatility. An additional offering of the oak fermented, opulent yet refreshing, well balanced Amalia Chardonnay was also enjoyed. Our food pairings with the Louise Riesling and Amalia Chardonnay included: smoked salmon with wasabi caviar stars, Vineyard Twigs (delicate puff pastry filled and rolled with green olive, roasted garlic and Parmesan), Green Eggs and Ham pizza (smoked duck breast, scallion, gruyere, topped with the most perfect soft cooked runny egg) and pancetta, fig and arugula pizza, with a touch of truffle oil.


I had a wonderful visit with Florencia Palmaz who created all of the evening's tasty food pairings. So many creative recipes that inspired her book, "At the Table and Around the Fire". ($130 and available here.  This gorgeous book captures the lifestyle and philosophy of the Palmaz family:  Delicious and soulful, like the Palmaz wines.

As the evening continued on, we moved into the caves and headed to the Fermentation Dome. There we enjoyed the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, with aromas of fresh blackberry and fine-grained tannins that gave way to a precise finish. A 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon was equally enjoyed. Earthy and peppery with aromas of pomegranate and notes of cedar. Food pairings so perfectly prepared were: sweet corn bisque, pea and poblano bisque, chicken empanadas, Humita (roasted vegetable) empanadas and beef empanadas. A delicate Cabernet beet bouchon sweet bite was enjoyed as well and work quite nicely with the Cabernet Sauvignon. Time for dessert, in addition to the Cabernet beet bouchon, a rosemary shortbread with myer lemon cookie was an excellent finish with the Florencia Muscat.


"Two generations of The Palmaz family have sought to bring innovation and invention to the ancient art of making wine. Their background in the sciences, passion for living life to the fullest and years of backbreaking work have resulted in a unique winery situated inside an 18-story cave that combines cutting-edge technology with a respect for winemaking tradition."


If Napa beckons to you as you plan your holiday calendar, I suggest you make plans to visit.  Palmaz pairs their lovely (and allocated)  wines with a small bite as they introduce you to the special world of Napa Valley winemaking.  It's $80 and done by appointment only
More info here:

Many thanks to Palmaz Vineyards who hosted me at the wonderful event as well as Laura Baddish and the Baddish group for the invite

No comments: