POSTED ON December 12, 2010 | IN Tasting Rooms | BY Joe Becerra

Suzanne Phifer-Pavitt outside of the tasting room

Napa Valley’s 400 wineries come is all sizes, shapes, and styles. From the well-to-do luxury corporate winery down to the struggling small family-owned winery, and everything in between; it is all there for visitors to capture on a trip to the Napa Valley. Somewhere in this mix is what some call the “new breed” of Napa Valley wineries, one that concentrates on one varietal only and is doing it well. Like many of these wineries it needs plenty of startup cash to make a go of it for the coming years, as well as the right vineyard and great winemaker to pull it all together. After that the wine has to do the talking or its “so long, Napa Valley.” Last week we visited one such winery, Phifer Pavitt, and by all indications Suzanne Phifer Pavitt and her husband Shane Pavitt are doing everything just right. Their 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, labeled Date Night, is a spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon. It is only the third vintage of the 500-case winery.

Here is the story behind the making of this winery. On their weekly “Date Night,” Suzanne and Shane discussed the idea of making wine and raising their young children in the solitude of country life. Some years later, their dream is a reality. Their beautiful Tuscan-style home is situated just up the hill from the tasting room, off the Silverado Trail very close to Calistoga. The tasting room just had its grand opening and it is a unique beauty. The tasting room is decorated in rustic décor and very cowboy, cowgirl style. The wood is 100-year-old redwood, recycled from a nearby structure. The light fixtures are made of barbed wire and cowgirl drawings are here and there. It has a homey feeling.

Now for the wine! The vineyard for the Cabernet Sauvignon is from the Temple Family Vineyards located in the Pope Valley. The vines are all organically grown and the grapes are hand picked at night. Tom Osborne is the winemaker and wants as much as possible a hands-off approach to his winemaking.The grapes are fermented with their natural yeast and no filtering is done. The wine is truly an amazing wine. The aromas fill your senses with numerous flavors. The wine is smooth and elegant, with the tannins in control. This wine has a long finish, so one can truly savor the wine. It is an outstanding Napa Valley Cabernet.

The price is $75 and that unfortunately is beyond our budget and for many others in this economy. Yet, somebody is buying the wine because about 90% of the wine of previous years has been sold. The plan for this winery is to get up to 1000 cases and perhaps in a couple of years move the winemaking from a crush facility to the barn.

For those that have the pocketbook and like the idea of finding something different, a little out of the ordinary, Phifer Pavitt is worth a visit and a chance to buy some of this delicious wine to share proudly with your friends. Very impressive! The tasting room is open to visitors on Mondays – Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m., at a cost of $25/person. To make an appointment for a visit, contact (707) 942-4787 or [email protected]