Before this journey, I’d never heard of Stewart Cellars or their NOMAD wines. But, as I’ve done with many, I turned to my Wine Spectator magazines for help in finding some wineries in Napa to explore. I’m assuming it was a California Cab focused edition. But, I stumbled upon Stewart and saw that they offer a private tasting of six Beckstoffer Cabernet Sauvignons. Sign me up! Sure, I was familiar with some of Beckstoffer vineyards before this trip. Being that I’m a pinot girl, I hadn’t ever really tried them. Stewart’s private tasting seemed like the perfect opportunity to try some of them – side by side!
My tasting host for the day, Andi, met me in their public tasting room right in Yountville. Their space is amazing and gorgeous. She poured me a welcome taste of their 2018 Sonoma Mountain Rose. I was hesitant at first. I was like…..umm….I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be tasting at that private library across the way. But, I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t in love with their Rose. However, I was thrilled when they offered to taste some of their other (non-NOMAD) wines before my official tasting began. I had seen that they produced some Pinot Noir – a Russian River and a Sonoma Coast. I thought they were both nice.
And then Andi led me across the sidewalk to that ultry-luxe library. They sure know how to pamper their guests.
A friend asked me recently if there was a reason I don’t share photos of myself on my blog. There is. I travel alone. I’m too shy to ask someone to take my photo. I forgot my selfie stick. And, by the time I usually remember to take a selfie, I tend to look a little drunk in the photos. However, Andi immediately offered to take my photo! I figured it might be safe at this point in the tasting.
The inside of their NOMAD library was insane. A fire was going, my tasting was set up and waiting for me on the table. And I was surrounded by a perfectly-appointed room.
Being that I’m in my fourth week of wine-tasting, Andi asked me what some of my favorites have been. Sitting in tasting spaces like this one certainly rocket the experience to the top of the list. But, I shared that my favorites are the smaller wineries where the owners/winemakers have conducted my tastings like Flambeaux and Smith Story (so far). In a few more days you’ll read about a super fun experience I had with the winemakers over at Radio-Coteau and Davida asked me if I preferred a seated or standing tasting. The wines are obviously the focus of any wine tasting. But, I enjoy the opportunity to sit back, relax, and have a conversation. That doesn’t happen as easily at a standing tasting, in my opinion. Stewart’s comfy library made it very easy to settle in and make myself at home.
Sitting in front of me were six Beckstoffer vineyard specific cabernet sauvignons. From left to right were the following:
- 2017 Las Piedras
- 2017 Bourn
- 2017 Dr. Crane
- 2016 Georges III
- 2016 To Kalon
- 2016 Missouri Hopper
Andi suggested I taste through all six before diving into that incredible cheeseboard which was probably enough food for 4-6 people. I’m regretting not bringing a zip-lock bag for my leftovers – especially the almonds. There’s a small coffee shop/cafe onsite as well. Apparently they roast/smoke those amazing almonds. The plate contained grilled bread, apples, brie, monterey jack cheese, blueberries, a berry jam/compote, and blueberries.
I absolutely loved the opportunity to play around with the foods and wine. Immediately a couple of favorites jumped out at me – first was the 2017 Bourn. It was hands down my absolute favorite. I also enjoyed the 2016 Georges III quite a bit. The 2016 Missouri Hopper and 2017 Las Piedras were probably my least favorites. But, again, all were absolutely amazing. I’m totally splitting hairs here between great wines and really great wines. In reality, in this case, it was probably a difference in terroir and clone.
The price point on their wines is pretty incredible comparatively. I even asked about it. It’s not uncommon to pay significantly more for a Beckstoffer cab. For example, I’d just seen the price sheet at Paul Hobbs at my tasting there. Their Beckstoffer cabs were all over $100 more per bottle more expensive. Their To Kalon was almost triple. I’ve heard stories about how Andy Beckstoffer commands certain prices for wines made from his grapes. If you charge too much, he’ll come back after you for more money! Due to the value of that brand, I would have expected that they would ask wineries to charge a minimum price. You can pick up the NOMAD Beckstoffers for $150 per bottle if you’re a wine club member. That seems like a real steal! This is where I could get lost down the rabbit hole of wine production macroeconomics. Maybe that’s where I should work in the industry – if only I didn’t suck at economics in college.
Andi and I spent two and a half hours together chatting about the wines, other wineries, restaurants, and all sorts of topics. She also brought out a few library wines and their Chardonnay. The value on that Chardonnay is incredible! I picked up quite a few. The cabs age magnificently. I loved the 2009. They price their library wines great, too. I believe their library wines are only $25 more than their current releases. I’ll pay $25 more for a perfectly stored/aged wine that’s 10 or so years old! Though, their current releases can be enjoyed right now.
Stewart offers a very flexible wine club that is hard to turn down. I hesitate to share about it because I want to keep it all to myself. Ha Ha! However, after a member has been in the club for a certain duration, they’re invited to stay in the private apartment above the tasting lounge in Yountville. Think they’d let me stay for five weeks in January?
Since I was so blown away by the space, here are a few more photos. Also, one more closing thought – I woke this morning to an email from Andi. She’d been trying really hard to think of the name of a winery she thought I’d enjoy. She could have just left it at that. But, she took the time to drop me an email when it came to her.
Want to read more about my 30 Wineries in 30 Days experience? Click here to view all of the wineries I’ve visited!