This is the home of Tulocay wines. If you're looking for White Zinfandel, go away. But if your taste tends toward kick-out-the-jambs Cabernets and Zinfandels, you've come to the right place. We also make a darn good Pinot, if I do say so myself, and some pretty interesting Chardonnays.

The boss gets our cabernet grapes from the Cliff Vineyard. It's located a few miles north of us up in the hills at the end of the Old Soda Springs Road. This puts it somewhere between the Atlas Peak and Stags Leap viticultural districts. It's not fined or filtered--typical of our red wines--and we age it in American and French oak barrels. Some folks like to drink our Cliff Vineyard Cabernet young. Others prefer to lay it down for five or ten years to let it soften up a bit. Heck, me and the boss like it both ways. We plan to be drinkin' this stuff at least once a year for the next couple of decades....

A friend of mine was once having dinner at a restaurant Nebraska--you know, home of "The Big Red". He asked the waitress for a glass of wine. "Chablis, rosť, burgundy, or Zinfandel?" she replied. "Zinfandel," he said. A few minutes later she arrived balancing a glass of something pink on her tray. She put it down in front of him. "What's this?" he asked. "Zinfandel," she said. It was Zinfandel--White Zinfandel. "Don't you have any red Zinfandel?" he asked. "Red?" she replied. "Zinfandel comes in red?" Damn straight. Zinfandel does come in red. Deep red. Heavy red. Red you drink with a knife and fork. None of this chopstick stuff. You got heart problems? This stuff will clean out your aorta in nothing flat.

The boss has been making Pinot from the Haynes Vineyard since 1975. Actually, a lot of folks (you'd recognize their names) make Pinot from this vineyard. But the boss has been getting his grapes from the Haynes Vineyard longer than anyone else. So he has first choice of the rows he wants. It's good stuff. But '98 yielded a very small crop. I guess that's why it's already sold out. Bummer.

The boss likes experimenting with Chardonnay, but his basic philosophy is to make a Chardonnay even his friend Bill Weeks would drink. His newest Chardonnays are the '99 Double T Ranch and the Wild Horse Valley. This is what he says about the Double T Ranch: "Carneros district, near the intersection of highways 121 and 12 (you know, where Ford's Cafe used to be). This place sounds like it ought to be a quarterhorse ranch, and it is. Owner Lynn Larson keeps the horses away from the vines. The wine has rich flavors from ripe fruit and lees contact. Too good to put in those oak containers, this wine was matured in stainless only. Surprise your friends with a non-oaked Chardonnay. Whole clusters, direct to press." He's kinda modest. Given its high acidity and richness, this baby should keep getting better for some time to come. The Wild Horse Valley Chardonnay comes from a relatively new viticultural area to the south and east of us. Great stuff but different from the Double T. The wine and the area show real promise. We also have a little bit of Chardonnay left from the '97 vintage. Ya gotta call the boss on this one to see how much he's saving for Mr. Weeks.

-- Skippy, Chief Cellar Rat

Tulocay Winery / 1426 Coombsville Road / Napa, California 94558 / (707) 255-4064

Search for Tulocay Wines to Purchase online