Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Whitehall Lane Petit Verdot with pasta, red sauce and meatballs

Whitehall Lane Petit Verdot with pasta, red sauce and meatballs 

Midweek dinner at home, Linda prepared spaghetti with tangy red sauce and meatballs. I pulled from the cellar as a wine accompaniment a big single varietal Petit Verdot. Rather than a red blend, I was seeking a single varietal akin a traditional Italian such as Nebbiolo or Sangiovese and chose this Petit Verdot, typically a Bordeaux varietal, for its characteristic structure, full body and round fruit, to complement the pasta red sauce and meatballs. It proved to be an ideal pairing. I write often in these pages about the importance of pairing wine with food, which amplifies and multiplies the enjoyment of both when done correctly. 

Whitehall Lane Napa Valley Petit Verdot 2014

We discovered, tasted and acquired this wine during our private tasting at the Whitehall Lane estate winery and vineyards in Napa during our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2018. 

I wrote about Whitehall Lane estate vineyards and winery and this label in these pages and replay excerpts here.

From post - Saturday, June 20, 2020

Whitehall Lane Petit Verdot

After a sensational Petit Verdot tasting with dinner the other evening, I pulled another 100% Petit Verdot from the cellar for a repeat, comparison tasting experience. We tasted another Napa Valley Petit Verdot, this time from Whitehall Lane which is just up the Route 29 Napa Highway from Piazza Del Dotto. This was the same vintage, 2014, as the Piazza Del Dotto we tasted the other evening. 

We tasted and acquired this label during our visit to the winery during our Napa Wine Experience in 2018.

Whitehall Vineyards Napa Valley Rutherford Fawn Park Vineyard Petit Verdot 2014

This is 100% Petit Verdot, sourced from the Whitehall estate Fawn Park Vineyard, located in the Rutherford appellation  (AVA - American Viticulture Area), just off the Napa Valley floor on the eastern hillside in St. Helena. It is one of seven vineyards on the Whitehall Lane estate.

Like the traditional Bordeaux producers, consistent with the percentage of fruit in a typical Bordeaux Blend, the vineyard is planted primarily to high-power Cabernet Sauvignon with just a small two-acre block of Petit Verdot. As I wrote the other evening, Petit Verdot is usually added to the blend in a small portion, usually less than ten percent, to add color and structure to the mix. 

According to Whitehall Lane, the vineyard has been producing for about twenty-five years but the property’s history pre-dates the vines or its buildings. It’s been told that local Native Americans mined the neighboring Glass Mountain where they turned the mined obsidian into tools and arrowheads. There is a home on the property that was constructed in 1865 with a second story addition made when Judge Chiles owned the estate in 1915.
A vintage barn pre-dates the house and was constructed in 1905 using timbers harvested from Howell Mountain. The property was originally used as a dairy to supply milk to the nearby St. Helena Sanitarium—now known as St. Helena Hospital.

The property was owned by the Hultman Family from 1928 to 1978, and they ran the dairy and raised chickens there. In 1978, Loren Sorenson purchased the land, planted the vineyard, dug a spring-fed pond and continued a small farm for the local 4-H program. 

Whitehall Lane was founded in 1979 and was acquired in 1993 by the current owners, the Leonardini Family of San Francisco and Saint Helena.

The property is named Fawn Park Vineyard after the road that borders the southern side of the estate. This road was originally the stagecoach road going up and over Howell Mountain to Angwin and Pope Valley.

Tasting this again, I wish I had bought more as this is a big bold expressive fruit forward style that we love.

Consistent with earlier tastings of this wine back in 2018 and 2020, this was "Dark inky blackish purple, full bodied, structured concentrated rich tongue coating black fruits, hints of clove spice and earth, with tongue puckering chalky tannins that form distinct 'legs' on the glass. This wine begs for hearty cheese, grilled steak or darkest mocha chocolate."

RM 92 points.