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It is always my quest to find the gems of California winemaking. The unique and seriously great wines that are not far from your fingertips and will be talked about among your friends and family for years to come. (if you dare to share!)

Hagafen Cellars is one of those “gems”. This relatively small, family owned winery has been making wines, the good ‘ol fashioned way, since the 1980’s. Right on the main drag of the Silverado Trail in Napa, CA…Hagafen has its winery, tasting room and their vineyards.

Ernie Weir owns and operates Hagafen Cellars. You will find him hands on in many of the daily tasks that encompass a winery: vineyard management; winemaking; emailing; marketing; pouring wine in the tasting room when needed and attending trade shows. There’s no doubt why his wines reflect the hard work and labor of love that is put into them. It’s why Hagafen has won so many awards and stands a notch or two above many other infamous wines of Napa Valley.

I recently sampled a few of Hagafen wines and one that stood out for me was the
Lodi Roussanne. Roussanne is not found frequently on grocery store shelves and
when you do find this rhone varietal not being used in blends….it’s usually
worth talking about. Hagafen Lodi Roussanne is worth shouting about! Take the
wonderful components of three of my favorite white wines: bright acidity and crispness of Sauvignon Blanc; creaminess and full mouthfeel of Chardonnay and the sensation of fresh fruit and flowers in your glass from the aromas of Viognier and that is how I could best describe…Hagafen’s Roussanne. Golden,Chardonnay yellow in color with crystal clarity. Aromas of pineapple, pears, kiwi, wildflowers and hints of vanilla. On the palate, beautiful delicate fruit, dry yet almost a sweet sensation from the remarkable fruitness of pineapple and pear. Good acidity and an amazing creamy, full mouthfeel. A bit of almond midway through and then a smooth, long finish with a hint of lemon at the end. Talk about astonishing! I paired the 2011 Lodi Roussanne with roasted turkey and gravy and a side of homemade macaroni n’ cheese. (gruyere and fontina cheeses). It paired perfectly and will truly be my new go to white for turkey and ham holiday dinners. (Sorry Chardonnay….we will have to find you another place at the table!)

Hagafen’s 2011 Lodi Roussanne has earned my FIVE BOTTLE rating. I don’t hand them out freely…but this Roussanne is worthy of all Five Bottles! This wine sells for $18.00 a bottle and can be easily ordered via the Hagafen website at www.hagafencellars.com. One final uniqueness note and piece of trivia if you will, about Hagafen Cellars. Their wines are made Kosher. Also “Hagafen” is Hebrew for “the vine.” In the Jewish tradition, the blessing said before drinking wine concludes with the phrase “boreh pri hagafen,” – Who created the fruit of the vine.

(you’ll see the cork has a “symbol” or Hebrew word on it. It is a customary Jewish toast, L’Chayim, meaning “to life!”)


** Sample received courtesy of Hagafen Celllars Napa, CA **