I’ve visited Napa and Sonoma many, many times. Frog’s Leap has been on my list since my first visit, but I STILL hadn’t gotten there. This time I was determined!
As we arrived for our tasting, we drove along beautiful vineyards of dormant vines surrounded by the beautiful mustard known in this region. There aren’t many better welcomes than seeing the historic Red Barn, which was originally built as the Adamson winery back in 1884. Today, this “ghost winery” not only inspires their wine tasting guests, but also Frog’s Leap’s winemakers John Williams and Paula Moschetti.
John Williams (a former dairy farmer from upstate New York) moved to Northern California in 1975 to study Enology and Viticulture at UC Davis. After working at Glenora Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Spring Mountain Vineyards in Napa, he began Frog’s Leap Winery in 1981. It is located along Mill Creek in a spot known as the Frog Farm. Frogs were raised here around the turn of the century, providing the very appropriate name Frog’s Leap!
Upon entering The Vineyard House, we were escorted outside to a beautiful wrap-around porch nestled among 40 acres of organically farmed vineyard. What a lovely area in which to taste. We were brought a carafe of water, along with a wonderful cheese plate to accompany the wine tasting.
2010 Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford – This had some nice, ripe, tropical fruit flavors, and a little grapefruit acidity, which balanced out the wine nicely. For a mere $18 per bottle, I grabbed a couple of these to take home for the golf course!
2009 Napa Valley Zinfandel – Nice, easy drinking Zin with some cherry and boysenberry and not overdone with the oak.
2009 Rutherford Merlot – The majority of the fruit for this wine comes from the vineyard in which we were sitting. Merlot loves the rich, clay loam soils here. The wine has some nice rich cherry flavors along with thyme and other herbs. We bought a bottle of this as well.
2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – Lots of dark red fruit and some nice acidity made this a nice pick-up for the price of $42.
2008 “Rutherford” Cabernet Sauvignon – This was a very nice wine with cassis and current and a lot of nice terroir showing through. This will be a beauty in years to come.
The thing that probably impresses me the most about Frog’s Leap Winery is that they truly care about our planet. Frog’s Leap produces some wonderful wines, while keeping the planet healthy through the production of solar and geothermal power. In 2005 they built their Vineyard House according to the goals of the U.S. Green Building Council. They even insulated it using old blue jeans.
Health of the vineyard is achieved through organic farming and the use of biodynamic methods. Along the rows of vines are borders of specially selected plants, which attract butterflies and beneficial insects. They are even wisely conscious of the winery and vineyard staff, numbering 45. All of their employees are full time with full benefits.
I can tell that this must be a fun place to work too! Their website is absolutely adorable, with a fun fly catching game to start things off. Once inside their site, they very cleverly take you through any aspect of their winery in which one might be curious. And what is their motto???? “Time’s fun when you’re having flies”!