July 14, 2018, Scott Morris
Nothing compliments a week in California more than a day trip to wine country. I had the great pleasure of visiting Trinitas Cellars in Napa last weekend, and it was a truly wonderful experience.
Trinitas Cellars is now in its 16th year under second-generation proprietors Garrett and Betsy Busch. According to their website, “Winemaker Kevin Mills captures the elements of sun, soil and humanity, the “Trinity”, into each bottle produced.” The name “Trinitas” is derived from the Latin for “Trinity”.
Trinitas Cellars, which currently houses the tasting room, is located in the southern part of Napa Valley, just east of the Los Carneros wine region. It was established at its current location in 2002, but the Busch Family loved the area so much they went on to build the Meritage Resort and Spa around it. The resort is still growing. What a remarkable place to visit!
I always love visiting tasting rooms where the hosts and hostesses are excited about what they do; where they are knowledgeable about the wines they serve, the vineyards, and the wine making process. Leslie was just that person for me. She has been at Trinitas Cellars for several months, but has worked with other wineries in Napa Valley and was a wealth of knowledge.
The wine selection is truly representative of what Napa Valley has to offer. Whether from specific regions or individual vineyards, the wines are crafted in ways that highlight the variety while enhancing the inherent terroir from the various growing locations.
Here are some of the wines I sampled from the tasting room Selections. This does not include all of the wines offered in each collection:
- 2014 Chardonnay; Carneros, Napa Valley
This wine comes from the Stanly Ranch Vineyard in the Los Carneros AVA just west of Trinitas. I had the pleasure of visiting Starmont Winery later that day, which is in the midst of this vineyard, and is the production facility for Trinitas. I loved this Chardonnay. Aromas of fresh lemons lead into notes of lemon pie. On the palate are wonderful flavors including toasted marshmallow and caramel, along with butterscotch and spice provided by the 11 month fermentation in 75% new American oak. The creaminess of the wine provides a long clean finish.
- 2012 Meritage; Napa Valley
Meritage is a name used for red and white Bordeaux-style wines without infringing on the Bordeaux (France) region’s legally protected designation. Winemakers must license the Meritage trademark from the California-based Meritage Alliance. This particular wine from Trinitas Cellars is a blend of all five noble red Bordeaux varietals: 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Malbec, 16% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petite Verdot. Most of the grapes come from the 7-acre vineyard growing above the cellar. The soil is solid rock. This intensely dense soil stresses the vines to create consistently small berries and a very small yield depending on the vintage. This wine is barrel aged for 20 months in 50% new French oak. It not only has a dark, deep color, but has very bold full flavors of black cherry, dark chocolate, and coffee. It has a velvety long finish. Loved it and ordered a bottle.
- 2013 Old Vine Petite Sirah; Contra Costa County
Contra Costa County is located southeast of Napa Valley. I was excited to try this wine, and it was even better than anticipated. This wine is full-bodied, dark in color, and bold in aroma and taste. It is aged in once used American oak used in making Chardonnay for 18 months. Aromas include fruitcake, baking spice, vanilla, and strawberry. Flavors include jammy blackberry, coffee, spice, and vanilla. This was one of my favorites.
- 2016 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc; Napa Valley
Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite white varietals. This wine has aromas of tropical fruits, toast, and spices such as allspice and nutmeg. On the palate it presents nice acidity with the sweetness of the same tropical fruit, baking spices, and minerals. It has a long clean finish that makes it great paired with food or alone.
- 2014 Pinot Noir; Carneros, Napa Valley
This wine is bolder and has more intense characteristics than typically found in Pinot Noir. It was fermented in 35% new French oak for 14 months. The aroma is rich in spice including cinnamon, allspice, cloves, in addition to the rhubarb fruit. The spices are also found in the flavors on top of cherries (red, black, bing) all coming together like a slice of cherry pie.
- 2013 Old Vine Mataro; Contra Costa County
The Mataro variety, also known as Mourvèdre, is a thick skinned grape often used in blended wines, but this is a single varietal wine that I really enjoyed. It was barrel aged in once used American oak for 10 months aIt is a little higher in alcohol content at 17.3%.nd has a little higher alcohol content at 17.3%. With aromas of strawberry and cinnamon, and bold flavors of strawberry, cherry, hickory, and vanilla, this wine has a wonderful fullness and finish.
Single Vineyard (All grapes are sourced from the single vineyard)
- 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon; Father Mathew Vineyard, Yountville
Father Mathew Vineyard is located in the Yountville AVA of Napa Valley. Of the three Cabernet Sauvignons highlighted here, this is what was introduced to me as the “red fruit” wine. It has bold rich aromas and flavors of red cherry, cola berry, and some blackberry, with French oak providing barrel spice aromas.
- 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon; Martin Vineyard, Coombsville
Martin Vineyard is located in the Coombsville AVA just north of Trinitas Cellars. This Cab was introduced as the “blue fruits” wine. This is an interesting wine. It presents aromas of cocoa, currant preserves, and tobacco, but follows with flavors of blueberry, cola berry, and a very distinct licorice on the palate and a long finish of jammy fruit and chocolate.
- 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon; Pelkan Ranch Vineyard, Knights Valley
Pelkan Ranch Vineyard is located in the Knights Valley region of Sonoma County. Introduced as the “black fruit” wine, it certainly holds up to the name. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize aromas and flavors as I taste wines; not so with this Cab. On the nose are aromas of blackberry jam, molasses, and clove. The up front red fruit flavors move on the palate quickly to blackberry jam, roasted figs, and dark caramel.
- 2007 Old Vine Cuvee; Mendocino
I was excited when Leslie presented this wine. They only had a few cases left and I’m happy to say that I now have two bottles on the way to my home. This Cuvee comes from a blend of grapes from vineyards in Mendocino, north of Napa. Planted on west-facing hillsides the plants get long afternoon sun that along with the longer growing season contributes to the ripeness of the fruit. It was barrel aged in 50% new American oak for 18 months. This is a bold, well-balanced, wine that for me instantly presented chocolate, followed by blackberries and vanilla. It has a long finish that prolongs the pleasure!
I encourage you to check out the Trinitas Cellars website and all of the wines they have to offer. Take time to review the detailed notes for the wines to learn more about the vineyards, climate, soils, and other aspects of production.
In addition to Leslie’s wonderful help, I’d also like to thank Lily for her hospitality in arranging my tasting. I would highly recommend that you visit Trinitas Cellars when in the Napa Valley area. As my readers and friends have heard before, I know what I like and will only recommend wines that I truly enjoy. Even though there were a few standouts for me, every wine I tried that day was amazing and I left with a smile on my face.