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A Tasting with Fortress Vineyards

Lake County – Just north of Napa Valley. It’s a relatively new wine producing region in California. We thought we would try to check out some of these new wineries. I stumbled across Fortress Vineyards while searching for some Lake County up and comers. I gave them a call a few weeks before coming out to Napa Valley to see if we could visit them. As it turns out, they don’t have a tasting room, but share space at the Frank Family Winery on Larkmead Lane in Calistoga. Barbara from Fortress offered to meet us at Frank Family.

No tasting room and sharing space, but seeming to have won a few awards, that’s my idea of an up and comer. Fortress focuses on Sauv Blanc, the 07 we tasted was flat out the best Sauv Blanc I have recollection of ever having. The brightness and balanced acidity was unmatched, no cut grass, the bottle even says “grass is for cows”. Apparently, the high altitude (2400’) and lake affect winds from Clear Lake have something to do with that. Finding this gem would have been satisfying enough, but she followed it up with a Petite Syrah that is currently leading the pack of all that we have tasted so far in Napa.

As we were tasting a few of their other wines, we found the secret sauce they were using in their wine. Wine making consultant to Fortress is none other than Nils Venge. We have been bumping into Nils wines all over the valley this week, and have become fans. As luck would have it, later in the day we found Nils working around the barrels at his signature winery Saddleback Cellars, it was a great tie in to a great day.

To visit their website click here:http://www.fortressvineyards.com/index.cfm

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