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Napa Cult Wines You Have To Taste

Christine Drinan, Founder

Do you remember the time when Screaming Eagle cornered the market on Napa cult wines? Today, while it’s still exclusive, there are new members of the club. We have your new wish list for the top six off-the-radar wines from the Valley. If you’re a collector, or a simple wine enthusiast, these need to be in your cellar. And the great part is that a number of these cult wineries are accessible; no second mortgage needed to fund your wine habit.

promise wine vineyards

Promise Vineyard

Why We Like It

We love a good love story, and Promise is named after the promise the co-owner made to his wife when they married. This is also Oprah’s favorite rose, and if it’s good enough for Oprah, well, you know the rest. If you have the inside track, (aka us) you can also do private events and wine tasting at their gorgeous property. Nothing screams cult classic quite like Promise.

The Wines

The rose, by virtue of Oprah’s endorsement, is the most well-known, at around $65/bottle. Their red wine shines though. From the 2018 Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley to the 2017 “The Gratitude”, all under $175. Their highest end wine currently released is the 2017 Promise, which is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon at $250. This may not technically be a Napa Valley cult vineyard because they welcome guests, but it is a wine to know. And enjoy of course. Not everyone has to take themselves to seriously.

melka cult wine vineyards

Melka Estates

Why We Like It

This is a wine, that punches way above its weight class. Where most varietals are under $225, the quality is right up there with Napa cult wines from Bryant Family Vineyards, which will set you back a cool $1k. It’s probably because their winemaker, Philippe Melka has consulted to the best of the best in the valley. Melka is firmly a Napa Valley wine, but it’s distinctly French and refined in character.

The Wines

They have four labels: Metisse, Mekerra, Majestique and CJ (named after their kids). Each label has a specific vineyard within them, so their offerings are vast at about 13 wines current release.

dana estates cult wine

Fairchild

Why We Like It

Fairchild defines California cult vineyards nowadays. This is as exclusive as it gets. Fairchild wines are only available to their allocation list, and they don’t even distribute to restaurants or through retail. This is a true wine producing passion project by the owner, Lawrence Fairchild. He knows pretty much anyone who gets a bottle of his rarified wine. The packaging is also some of the most unique around, with hand-blown glass bottles with custom clocks that rotate.

The Wines

The Fairchild Perrarus from 2015 is known to be one of the most expensive Napa cult wines ever bottled, at about $3,500. If you can ever get your hands on it, the Sigaro Cabernet Sauvignon runs about a tenth of their highest tier wine, at about $349/bottle. Talk about high prices.

colgin wine vineyards

Colgin Cellars

Why We Like It

We love female winemakers, who are few and far between in Napa. Much less on Pritchard Hill, which is arguably the most rarified soil in the Valley. Ann Colgin has led the Colgin estate since 1988, far before the term “Napa cult wines” existed. Under her leadership, it’s a future female dream team, with Director of Winemaking, Allison Tauziet, also on board. The wine is so good, it was acquired by LVMH a few years back.

The Wines

Current releases include Tychson Hill, Cariad, IX Estate and IX Estate Syrah. Colgin, no surprise, is also on allocation to the few, where wines run between $350 and upwards of $700/bottle.

fairchild cult wine

Promontory

Why We Like It

The sister wine to cult vineyard Harlan Estates, owner H. William Harlan has eyed this plot of land since the 1980s. It wasn’t until 2008 though, that he acquired what is now Promontory. The estate is private, but when you can get past those gates, it’s one of the most impressive estates and experiences in the Valley. They also sell their wine on property, versus their sister brands Bond and Harlan, who only sell to their allocation list.

The Wines

The 2014 is the latest release, though you may be able to get your hands on the 2016 for future arrival. Wines run around $900 a bottle for the 2014.

promontory wine

Dana Estates 

Why We Like It

Dana means the spirit of generosity in Sanskrit, which is already off to a good start. In the Mayacamas Mountains, Dana Estates is a true passion project, all about making the best wines. It’s a high-tech operation, and they brought in the best – Philippe Melka himself – to consult. The estate itself is stunning, and was designed by famed architect Howard Backen.

The Wines

Dana Estates produces three distinct, single vineyard wines under the labels Helms, Hershey, and Lotus. They also make a Bordeaux-style wine called Onda and a Sauvignon Blanc. Wines are right around the $500 price point.    

Bonus – The Wine Cave

Why We Like It

This is technically not a vineyard or one of the Napa cult wines. It is however very cool and needs to be on your list when you roll into Napa. This will get you primed for the Napa festivities. You’ll have a hard time finding anything about the experience online, so message us at [email protected] and we’ll hook you up.

 

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