Winery Spotlight: Joseph Phelps Introduces New Food Centric Wine Experiences
The Napa Valley is full of incredible "experiences". It wasn't until recently that wineries decided to dabble in pairing menus and offering light bites to go along with the flights of wine they serve. I think the reason many wineries strayed from offering food boiled down to the fact that wineries make wine, not food! Not to mention with the gorgeous architecture, vineyard practices and winemaking facilities, there seems to be enough to talk about! However, in this ever-changing world we live in, I think we can all agree that adapting to the times and adjusting your approach to reach a wider audience is never a bad thing ! Joseph Phelps Vineyards is the perfect example of a winery that has stuck to their guns and in pure form, focused solely on the wine... up until now!
Bill Phelps, the current President of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, took over for his father, Joseph Phelps, in the late 1990's. Bill has strived to make the best wines possible, focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast! One of the most notable wines produced by JPV, Insignia, a Bordeaux blend focusing on the best varietal of each vintage, is not always Cabernet Sauvignon - or even a red wine for that matter. We were treated to a taste of the 2014 vintage. Comparing that moment to something in fashion, it's like being picked to preview a new line before anyone else - it was a definite highlight of my blogging career so far. I was fortunate to have a seat between Bill and Will Phelps. Will is the son of Bill Phelps, currently being groomed to take on a larger roll within the company. He lives on the property with his wife and children and provided food from his private garden that we ate for lunch! Is it okay to be completely and totally jealous of both Will and his sister Allie? Or maybe just a slight fan girl status?
The culinary team is lead by Executive Chef Brian Sutton and Sous Chef Ryan Seal, both recently worked at Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort Property in the Napa Valley. In addition to Brian and Ryan, Allie Phelps has also joined the team to help with the culinary programs! Allison worked in San Francisco honing her skills as a Chef and Instructor (Cavallo Point for many years and private catering events) before returning back to the Napa Valley to help design the culinary program for JPV. The culinary team is focused on the farm to table movement, with elements of family tradition poking through! The experience is very seasonal with some of the food coming from the owners private gardens and local Farmers Market's throughout Northern CA. I wouldn't always expect the golden yellow heirloom tomato gazpacho, but if you hurry you might make it in time for a taste of Allie's grandmas recipe. It was absolutely delicious!
We were treated to one of their new culinary experiences: Bountiful Table. There are two Food and Wine Paired options: Bountiful Table (served only on Wednesday's) and Playful Plates (served only on Tuesday's - for now). Bountiful Table is comprised of five courses starting with passed canapés on their deck overlooking the JPV Estate Vineyards. We learned about the vast history of the estate vineyard property, what varietals used to be planted where and what we can expect from JPV for the 2017 Harvest.
Following our reception on the outdoor patio, we were lead into a private room with floor to ceiling glass walls overlooking the terrace and vineyards. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday if you ask me! See below for the menu we were treated to including the wine pairings.....
If you are visiting the Napa Valley and want to add just one incredible Food and Wine experience to your list, I would highly recommend investing your time in visiting Joseph Phelps Vineyards for their new experiences! Remember they are only offering these unique experiences on Tuesdays (Playful Plates) and Wednesdays (Bountiful Table) for now, so be sure to plan accordingly. You must book in advance! If you cannot make it during the week, simply reserve a tasting on their patio, neither experience will disappoint! Book your next visit HERE~!