The Regusci Family has a long tradition of wine-making in Napa Valley. It dates all the way back to 1932 in fact. However the current incarnation of Regusci Winery in Stags Leap didn’t open its doors to the public until 1998. That was a couple of years after their first crush as a reborn winery. I’d visited their tasting room a few times before, but not for several years. This trip I decided to make stopping there a priority so I could see what they’re up to these days. In general they offer two tasting flights, Current Release ($15) and Heritage Wines ($25). If you take the second flight the first is also included. The current release flight offers three wines and the Heritage Flight adds two, though they often throw a bonus in somewhere.
The Regusci tasting roomhas a warm, inviting and somewhat rustic atmosphere. The folks behind the tasting bar are very friendly and welcoming; they also know the Regusci Wines inside out. That said they’re very good at not shoving too much knowledge down your throat too soon. In some tasting rooms it seems the person wants to tell you what you’re going to taste or experience before you take your first sip. This of course puts that suggestion in your head and you’re more likely to think you taste it, even if you don’t. The folks at Regusci don’t do this. In my opinion they carefully and deftly balance the line; offering as much information as they find each taster is looking for. Questions are answered cheerfully. They pipe in with their opinions when you ask, making it clear just because it’s how they feel, it’s not necessarily how someone on the other side of the counter will. And while that may seem like a simple thing, and it should be, it’s often not the case in some tasting rooms.
Stags Leaps District wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, can be wildly expensive. That’s another area in which I think Regusci Winery does a rally nice job. While they do have some more expensive offerings the current Stags Leap releases I tasted were good values. Their 2006 Merlot is a well structured wine that demands attention. It’s loaded with rich berry fruit and dusty layers of chocolate and spice. While $40 might not be everyday drinking for most people this is a serious Merlot. Their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon sold for $48 and was equally impressive. Cherry fruit notes were most prominent. The finish was long and persistent. Cabernet Sauvignon of equivalent quality from Stags Leap is often far more expensive than this offering from Regusci.
Their Heritage Wines which are more expensive were also interesting to taste. The 2006 Patriarch is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (64%), Merlot (27%) and Cabernet Franc (9%). This is an intense and immense wine. It’s loaded with berry flavors, good tannic structure and layers of earth. This one had me craving a T-Bone. This offering sells for $80 and should simply get better with some time in the bottle. I wouldn’t drink it for 5 years and then I’d enjoy it sometime over the following 6 or 7. This would be a good choice to tuck away for a special occasion or holiday dinner somewhere down the road.
In total I tasted 6 wines at Regusci during my recent trip. Each of them was well made and pretty tasty. The ones I mentioned above stood out most to me. The Merlot was my overall favorite. If you like Stags Leap District wines Regusci Winery is a really nice, as well as, casual stop. They’re open daily and no appointment is necessary for a tasting. Being right on Silverado Trail they’re quick and easy to find too. Well worth some time.