Kelly Fleming Wines – a hidden winery in Calistoga
Looking for something a little different in wineries? Kelly Fleming just might be a good choice. It is small, boutique, and very much off the beaten path in the Napa Valley. It is located way up north on Pickett Road near Calistoga. Kelly Fleming is the owner, establishing the winery 1998. The winery is situated in a rugged hillside setting in Simmons Canyon. There are 300 acres on the property but only 12 are planted with vineyards, and those are mostly Cabernet Sauvignon grapes along with rows of the other Bordeaux varietals. Kelly lives on the property and her plan is to limit the vines to the 12 acres and keep the land in its natural state.
We were invited to Kelly Fleming Wines as part of a media tour and luncheon. We started the visit off with a taste of delicious Sauvignon Blanc. This Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes sourced from the Oak Knoll AVA at the very southern end of the Napa Valley. It is a lively and fresh wine with great subtle flavors. After the staff introduction, we took a tour of the wine caves. These are very “cool” for two reasons. Except for the first hundred feet, the cave walls are exposed rock. Most wineries line the caves with gunite. Secondly, because the air is very dry, water vapor is pumped into the caves. It gives the caves a very mystical look, almost as though the gods are overseeing the aging of the wine in barrels.
Kelly Fleming produces a Rosé wine. This is not just an ordinary Rosé; it is made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It is rare to find a Rosé made with the king of California grapes. It is delicious, very dry, and paired well with an assortment of charcuterie. Fewer than 200 cases are made of this lovely Rosé.
The mainstay of Kelly Fleming Wines are two red wines, the Big Pour and the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Big Pour is a Bordeaux blend and the Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cab. The winemaker at Kelly Fleming is Becky George. She spent time in Burgundy where the fruit of the grape shines in the bottle. She has maintained that same restrained philosophy to produce these two wines. They are structured wines, but elegant and food friendly. These wines paired well with two big pasta dishes we were served for lunch. What a treat! The Big Pour is $75 and the Cabernet Sauvignon is $110.
The winery is open to visitors by appointment only. It has a small staff, and they are busy daily tending to the tasks of the winery. Call well in advance so you can get the true attention of the staff. An individual tour and tasting is $60. I have added Kelly Fleming Wines to my recommended wineries to visit on the Napa Valley Hidden Wine Trail. If you fancy boutique wines and something different in the Napa Valley, add Kelly Fleming Wines to your wine country itinenery.