McKenzie-Mueller is a hidden winery tucked away on Las Amigas Road in the backroads of the Carneros region of Napa County. For travelers that happen to stumble on this winery, it is a great discovery. We passed this winery on the way to Bouchaine Vineyards and just happened to spot the small winery sign posted at their driveway. Later, at Bouchaine, our host called McKenzie-Mueller to see if we could visit. McKenzie-Mueller is open only by appointment but the staff is eager to accommodate all visitors on the spur of the moment provided someone is working at the winery. We got the okay for a visit and off we drove to McKenzie-Mueller about half a mile from Bouchaine.
Jayson Cleveland, who is the chief assistant around the winery, greeted us. We spent over an hour with Jayson tasting all of the McKenzie-Mueller wines and learning the history and philosophy of the winery. We also got a vineyard tour. The winery has two estate vineyards. Surrounding the winery are their Carneros vineyards where they grow Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Merlot. The winery’s other vineyard is the Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll region where Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are grown. Bob Mueller and his wife Karen McKenzie established the winery in 1989. Bob is the winemaker while Karen tends to the hospitality side of the winery while also teaching high school art.
We enjoyed all the McKenzie-Mueller wines. The reds have complex flavors and several have earthy tones characteristic of many of the famous French wines. Our favorite wines of the several we tasted were the Pinot Grigio, the Merlot, Pinot Noir, and the Cabernet Franc. The latter two were absolutely delicious and outstanding.
The Good: Boutique winery making terrific wines, family owned, no tasting fees.
The Bad: Open by appointment, no formal tasting room, but that can be a good thing.