Before the holidays, we spent a day at Round Pond Estate learning more about their Gravel Series wines. We’ve been huge fans of Round Pond for years, so we were excited to be invited to spend a day with co-owner Ryan MacDonnell, winemaker Muiris Griffin, and the rest of the Round Pond team.
The Gravel Series wines are Round Pond’s newest wines, but they’ve been in the works for years. They are the result of a decade of studying the Round Pond vineyards, including soil sampling, mapping, and aerial photography. The Napa River runs adjacent to the Round Pond property. and soils near the river tend to be more fertile than benchland and mountain soils. The Gravel Series wines come from select vines located on gravelly streaks that run through the otherwise rich and fertile soil, causing the vines to struggle for water and nutrients. The resulting wines are extremely complex and age-worthy.
We started our experience with a glass of Reserve Sauvignon Blanc in the cellar, learning about Round Pond’s barrel program and tasting Cabernet out of the barrel. Round Pond’s Sauvignon Blanc has always been one of our favorites (flavors tend toward the tropical) but the Reserve bottling takes it to the next level.
Next, we headed out to Round Pond’s organic garden, where most of the amazing produce served at the winery comes from. The garden program at Round Pond is first class, and it was fascinating to learn more about how they decide what to plant and how they keep pests at bay while farming organically.
We enjoyed lunch on the patio, including a fresh salad from the garden and a vinaigrette made tableside from fresh Round Pond olive oil and vinegars. Learn more about Round Pond’s olive oil here. The tempura fried Delicata Squash was a favorite, and the braised short ribs were a perfect match for the Gravel Series Cabernet.
On our way home, we stopped across the street to see Round Pond’s late harvest vines. We’ve had dessert wine countless times, but this was the first time we’d seen the grapes it comes from. The grapes are covered with the botrytis fungus (often called “noble rot”). The combination of the fungus and hanging on the vines for a prolonged period of time concentrates the sugar and flavors and results in amazing wine.
Wine country is beautiful year-round, but by far our favorite time to visit is when it’s rainy and foggy. We’ve been so fortunate this year to have lots of chilly, foggy, and drizzly days when we’ve been in Napa and it has been wonderful. You can learn more about the Gravel Series wines here.
Thank you to Round Pond Estate for hosting us for such a lovely experience.