I’d been to Cardinale Winery once before, back in the early 2000s.
Even then it was by appointment only. We’d rolled up without one on that long ago day and when they asked for our appointment window we asked “Can it be right now?” Amazingly, the hosts allowed us in for a spontaneous tasting.
I don’t think that approach would fly today.
This place has clearly got wine-game — and knowing this beforehand we made our appointment well ahead of time.
Located on Highway 29 in the Oakville District just north of Yountville, Cardinale is perched upon a hill in the middle of Napa Valley.
We were running a few minutes late for our appointment (after having visited Gamble Family Vineyard and Whetstone Wine Cellars). But our host Ross, who is the Estate Director at Cardinale, greeted us with a cheeky Scottish accent, a glass of their refreshing Intrada Sauvignon Blanc, and a smile that let us know it was all going to be ok.
After accepting our apologies, Ross led us through the tasting room and out to the patio to let us enjoy our welcome wine.
And OH! The patio! In itself, it was not large or excessively elaborate. But the VIEWS!
You guys, I am ALL about the setting, the experience and the ambiance, so this just nailed it for me. It was a view of Napa Valley that I’d simply not expected.
Raised and centered, expansive and green, sunny and glowing, I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Indeed, the main image on this page is from that patio.
Look again. Nice, right?
Aaaaanyway, Ross suffered through our self-imposed photo shoot and eventually led us inside the tasting salon and to our perfectly presented table.
And I mean PERFECTLY presented.
Not a thing out of place. Stellar attention to detail. Just look….. even the Riedel stamps on the glasses are aligned.
Ahh, symmetry. I do love you. *sigh*
Our specific experience included cheeses and savories, and Ross guided us through our tasting making what were already fantastic wines even better by thowin’ down his serious knowledge.
Each of the Cardinale wines is a single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, which means that all the fruit for a wine comes from just one vineyard.
Though certainly not unheard of, this single-vineyard approach is not too common and it often makes for outstanding wines — which held true in this case.
Relaxing in luxury, we tasted with and without pairings, quizzed Ross about all things Cardinale, laughed a TON, snacked some more, and ultimately begged for more wines to taste. “Ok.. I think I’ve got something you may like…” And we did.
Thanks Ross. 😉
All in all, we felt very fortunate and appreciative of our experience at Cardinale Winery.
We may have left with a few bottles.
Find out more about Cardinale Winery by visiting for yourself.