“I get to go play in dirt, squish grapes, and drink wine paired with amazing food!”
Molly Hill – winemaker at Sequoia Grove winery in Napa, California — explains why Napa Valley is such a special place for wine.
Molly details the unique climate and geography that makes Napa perfect for crafting world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Additionally, she explains how each element of the Valley affects a wine’s characteristics.
Additionally, Molly walks you through some of the winemaking techniques that can enhance a wine’s flavor — particularly when making a Chardonnay. For example, barrel aging, malolactic fermentation, and stirring the lees (or “batonnage,” as the French say). While these terms may seem advanced, she explains them in layman’s terms, so that you can more easily figure out whether you’ll like a wine if you can find its tech sheet / winemaking details either on the label or somewhere online.
Molly also talks about the winemaking style at Sequoia Grove, and why you can both enjoy Sequoia Grove wines immediately upon release and also after extended cellar aging. And while you might prefer to open up and drink wines right after you purchase them, she offers a few reasons to put a few bottles in the cellar for opening later, because, wine is one of those few agricultural products with which you can take a journey into the past.
This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, so chances are, you’re not traveling. But, when the world is a little safer and you’re ready to explore the Napa Valley wine region, Molly gives you plenty of reasons why you might want to visit during the late summer and during harvest — while also giving you the inside scoop on what winemakers are doing at that time of year.
Finally, Molly suggests that you shouldn’t get too stressed over wine and food pairing, though she does offer a few recommendations that could help make or break the taste of a wine or a dish.
Hope this episode helps you become more enlightened and empowered when it comes to Napa Valley wines!