Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Antica Napa Valley

It’s sunny and warm on this particular Tuesday in May as we cruise east and up into the Vaca Mountains that border the Napa Valley. As the convection currents whip through the open car windows we grow quiet, imagining perhaps that we could be elsewhere, maybe even Tuscany. Was it this same feeling that drew Piero Antinori when he came to the valley so many years ago?

Life certainly is good! Especially today – spring has arrived in Napa Valley. It’s a sharp contrast to the seasons of recent memory where it seemed that we’d go from winter jackets to summer’s blasting air conditioning overnight. Today, we’re basking in the transition period clad in shorts and sandals.

At the end of the long and twisty Soda Canyon Road we came to Antica Winery’s driveway. As if we’ve emerged from hibernation we’re a bit lost in the ample sunshine and breathtaking views as our hostess Kim Peters greets us outside. Kim guides us to the edge of the bluff to peer out over the estate vineyards. From our perch vineyards, mountains, trees and a lake unfold below us. The Antinori family is famed for their twenty-six generations of winegrowing in Tuscany, and Antica is their American venture. Inspiration from the home estate shows everywhere. Vines are trellised out along the slopes of this valley and the driveway is lined with olive trees.

From there we tour the caves. Hand-built in the 1980’s the walls are covered in a dark fuzz which Kim tells us keeps the humidity at the perfect level – and we’ve noticed it dampens the sound too, making the expansive caves feel intimate.

For the coup de grace we return to the well-appointed kitchen and take a seat at the wooden dining table. Sunlight pours through the windows giving the space an easy, natural feel. First we start with the 2010 Chardonnay – it’s lovely and crisp and just perfect on this bright spring day. We then launch into a winery exclusive offering of Sangiovese and their estate Cabernet – both have clean and classic lines, full of fruit, but showing classy restraint. The wines are lovely on their own, but what wine isn’t elevated by a small bite artfully paired? Kim serves us salted Marcona almonds, cured olives and an aged Parmigiano Reggiano and sliced salami. The rich foods play well with Antica’s offerings. Just as we’re all feeling as good as we can imagine, Kim offers us a sage caramel chocolate truffle and tells us that the sage grows here on property.

We find it almost unbearable to leave this heavenly place, but with our purchased cases of booty packed into our vehicles we venture down the winding road, our heads (and hearts) still perched on Atlas Peak.

Katy Long
Content Manager

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