Visiting Quintessa Winery in the Napa Valley

Quintessa is one of the most well respected wineries in the Napa Valley.  The creators of Quintessa are Valeria Huneeus and Agustin Huneeus, who purchased the gorgeous vineyard that was to become Quintessa in 1990. Agustin Huneeus had been responsible for the success of Concha Y Toro in Chile and had many connections with top wineries in the Napa area.

It took time for the wild 280 acres of land to be groomed and planted. The wine from the initial harvests were made at the Franciscan winery while Quintessa built its state of the art winery, which opened in 2002. Aaron Pott was the first wine maker with Michel Rolland joining the team as consultant in 2010.

As Quintessa is one of the most beautiful vineyards in the Napa Valley, you will be pleased if you make sure you book one of the tasting Experiences that allow you to get out into the vineyard (bring comfortable shoes). One of the Tasting Experiences includes a wine and cheese pairing in a little structure right in the middle of the vineyard above the lake –a can’t miss experience on a gorgeous day.

After the tour of the vineyard and the high tech winery, we entered the tasting room to try some of the current release wines.

The 2016 white Illumination was delicious. It is Sauvignon Blanc based with aromas of bright flowers and flavors of white peach and kiwi. The grapes were hand-picked, fermented with mostly native yeast, and aged in a variety of barrels (including a small percentage of French oak, Acacia barrels, and egg-shaped concrete fermenters) to give richness on the palate while retaining fresh aromas.

The current release of Quintessa 2014 is made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Carmenere, traditional Bordeaux varieties. It was a near perfect growing season despite some drama (earthquakes, drought) and the wine was an attractive deep color with flavors of fresh cherry and blackberry with layered notes of violets, graphite, and cedar spice. It was aged for 21 months in 100% French oak, 80% new. There was 20 days maceration on the skins.

The Quintessa 2012 was also from an excellent vintage, a classic Napa summer with warm days and cool nights. The wine was made with the same Bordeaux varietals as above for the same 21 months, but this vintage 85% new French oak was used. 20 – 26 days maceration on the skins.

The Quintessa 2011 was from a challenging vintage with a lot of rain, but the team used selective picking and careful sorting to ensure only the perfect grapes were used. This wine had more aromas of crushed wet rock, sandalwood, and clove along with fresh cherries, currants, and red plum. 85% new French oak was used on this wine as well, but the maceration time was 28 days long.

The winery tries to follow organic and even biodynamic practices, and you can almost taste the effect of these practices on the health of the grape through the wine.

(707) 286-2730 or email

Filed under: Napa Valley, News

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