Going to Markham Vineyards was a random choice so I kept an open mind about the winery. Once again, without a lot of expectations, I was rewarded with great wine tasting experience. The bottles were also reasonably priced which was a bonus!
That Sunday morning was a picture of a perfect spring weather. Mijo and I were going to meet up with Claudia for a Sunday brunch at Market restaurant in downtown St. Helena at 11 o'clock. We checked out of our Yountville hotel a little after 10am without any plans to wine taste. Mijo and I looked at each other after we noticed this big sign of Markham Vineyards off the highway, as if telling each other "C'mon, let's try this winery". Luckily, the winery does not require an appointment to wine taste. The day before, we dropped by Merryvale Vineyards also as a random decision.
The wine center has this beautiful brown stone facade with two long narrow ponds that added a bit of zen in the surroundings. Except for a couple of cars parked on the extreme end of the lot, the parking lot was practically empty. It was a little after 10am, afterall. Who winetastes this early anyway? :)
Their tasting room is spacious, lots of natural lighting, with a huge bar in the middle. They also have a mini gallery adjacent to their tasting cellar. This gallery showcases select photos by Rolling Stone's photographer Baron Wolman as featured on the covers of the Rolling Stones magazine.
For the wine tasting, we were presented by our pourer that day with two menus - their Red and Estate tasting and their Rock and Roll tasting. We chose their Read and Estate because it consited of all red wine and all four wines that are 100% estate grown. The tasting consisted of 2009 Cabernet Franc, 2010 Estate Merlot, 2008 The Altruist Calistoga Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 The Philanthropist Yountville Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Our pourer also threw in their 2011 Pinot Noir for us to taste after learning that I am more of a Pinot Noir drinker. Vanilla is a flavor that I found in all of these wines.
As always, Mijo and I chose one bottle of the one we liked. I chose the Altruist and Mijo decided on the Philanthropist. Because we both truly liked their Pinot Noir, Mijo and I decided to also get a bottle. Aside from the well roundedness of these wines, I am very happy that their prices are reasonable compared to the other wineries dotting Napa Valley.
I am glad that we stopped by Markham Vineyards to wine taste. I added this to my list of wineries to bring friends from out of town. Maybe we'll do their winery tour next time?