Pulling into Davis Estates you can see the property is beautiful. However, upon walking inside you see the tasting room itself is the true star. The building is rustic, but with luxurious seating, high end art pieces from Pablo Picasso and Rembrandt that Mike Davis and his wife Sandy have gifted to each other over the years, and beautiful kitchen staffed daily with a chef. The tasting room is designed so that each tasting appointment has its own space even though you are technically in the same room. Our tasting started by talking with Garrett on the open air deck of the tasting room admiring the view. Davis estates is right off Silverado Trail allowing you to see a ton of land covered in rows and rows of grape vines from the tasting room balcony. It was one of the best views we saw all weekend. Garrett, one of the tasting room managers, told us about the Davis family and how they came to acquire the property.
While the property of Davis Estates has had vineyards on it for many years, the Davis family has only owned the land for a few years making the winery fairly young. Mike Davis, who has a background in tech from the company Applied Computer Solutions which he founded and then sold, purchased the property out of bankruptcy in Spring 2011. The property has has vineyards for quite a while with the oldest building on property being the barn that was originally built in 1916. The property was first known to be owned by the Coit family, known for landmarks like Coit tower in San Francisco. Members of the Saviez family cared for this land for the Coits. When they were on the property late at night and needed to spend the night they would sleep in what is now called the Foreman shed. It is still on property today. Eventually the Coit family gave the Saviez family 95 acres of land. The Saviez family built a residence on it and held the land for many years.
Once the Davis family purchased the land they added 60 more acres to the estate. Along with the additional land the Davis family built a tasting room which opened in May 2016. The tasting room building has caves underneath for production and storage allowing the entire wine making process to be done onsite, while the tasting room on top is the beautiful area we got to do our tasting in. Only 12-13 acres of the land are developed for growing for vines today. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Syrah all grow on the estate, while other grapes are sources elsewhere.
After learning the history, we moved inside to some couches in the inside portion of the tasting room with a Picasso overlooking us. We started with a well rounded Sauvignon Blanc that has a tiny hint of oak smoothing it out. We moved to a great Cabernet Franc. It was surprisingly smooth and velvety due to the warmer climate resulting in more fruit. The Cabernet Franc was a definite winner from this tasting. Next, we tasted a Petit Verdot from the 2011 vintage. After the harsh weather and rough harvest in 2011, the winemaker Cary Gott wasn’t thrilled with this Petit Verdot when it was first bottled. However, knowing wine can improve with age the winery held onto it. Now in 2018 they have started to pour the Petit Verdot after tasting it and seeing how much it has improved with age. The wine was a still very high in acid. It reminded me of a young very acidic Sangiovese. Overall this Petit Verdot wasn’t our favorite, but time will tell how it continues to age. We ended the tasting with their Bordeaux blend style Cabernet Sauvignon called Zephyr from 2014. The Zephyr was one of the best Cabernet Sauvignons we had in Napa, resulting in what I would say is my “Wow” face. It was smooth, velvety, and still complex in structure. We learned that the Zephyr gets an extended aging period of 28 months in 60% French Oak.
Throughout the tasting we learned about the Davis Estate winemaker, Cary Gott. Gott is known for making well rounded balanced wines. The results are clear. The wine from Davis Estates was complex, while maintaining a beautiful silkiness. From the style of the tasting room to the taste of the wine, Davis Estates is for sure one of the best new wineries in Napa Valley today.