We always look for something a little different when we travel the Napa Valley and last week we discovered a winery that fits that bill. It’s the Amizetta Winery located deep in the oak woodland forests east of the Silverado Trail at the base of Howell Mountain. There is much to like about this winery: the beautiful panoramic views of Lake Hennessey and Pritchard Hill from the picnic area, steep hillside vineyards that remind us of being in the wine country of Europe, a small 1000-case winery that is family owned by the husband-wife team of Spencer and Amizetta Clark.
For $25 you can book a tour and tasting with sons Perry or Edward. This includes barrel samples in the cave and a tasting of some very outstanding hillside Cabernet Sauvignon. If you purchase wine, the $25 will be applied to your purchase. Now that is a great deal, considering what the other wineries are charging for tours and tasting these days in the Napa Valley. If the day is even close to being a warm day, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy this peaceful and quiet setting away from the mobs on the Valley floor.
Famed Napa Valley winemaker Bob Engelhoff is currently the head winemaker, but both Perry and Edward are involved in the winemaking process. Perry attended UC Davis while Edward pursued winemaking at Fresno State University. Perry handles most of the business end of the winery, while Edward is more involved with the day-to-day winemaking activities.
Most of the 40 acres of vines are Cabernet Sauvignon but there is a substantial Merlot Vineyard and some Cabernet Franc. Spencer and Amizetta have been selling a good amount of their grapes to specialty wineries but that is now changing. With Perry and Edward gradually taking the helm at the winery, case production will be ramping up. The first stage is 2000 cases per year and perhaps eventually as many as 3000 cases annually.
Four red wines are made in the current mix, ranging in price from $35 for the Merlot up to $85 for the Reserve Cabernet. The Merlot is rich and complex, something even Miles in the “Sideways” movie would love. The Cabernets are delicious wines with a character that is unique to these hillside vineyards. The luscious black fruit and cassis is abundant and the tannins soft and in control. These wines are quite drinkable now but will age beautifully.
If you’re planning a trip up to this winery, we also suggest you visit the Buehler Vineyards, just about a mile before you get to Amizetta. That winery also affords beautiful views and is also family owned and operated, and it makes great wines as well. To get to Amizetta, head up the Silverado Trail towards Calistoga. When you pass Pope St, immediately look for Howell Mt. Road on the right. Go up Howell Mt. Rd. and turn right onto Conn Valley Rd. and then to Greenfield and follow the signs to the winery. Remember to call ahead to schedule your tour and tasting. Amizetta is approximately
6 miles from the Silverado Trail.