Our weeklong adventures continue in the Napa Valley with a tour and tasting at Rolando Herrera’s Mi Sueño Winery, and then a visit to the busy Oxbow Public Market in Napa.
Rolando Herrera is a winery owner, winemaker, and wine entrepreneur. We met Rolando as he was tasting barrel samples at his Mi Sueño winery located in an industrial center in the Napa Coombsville area. The story of Rolando Herrera has been well told. At 17, he was hired by Warren Winiarski to do odd jobs at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. It was not Rolando’s intent to get into the wine business, but just to make enough money to enable him to graduate from high school. He received promotion after promotion and eventually became the Cellar Master at Stag’s Leap. He was with Warren Winiarski for ten years and, with his winemaking skills honed, he went on to be assistant winemaker at Chateau Potelle and head winemaker at Vine Cliff. At Vine Cliff he began making his own Chardonnay using Burgundian winemaking techniques he’d learned while at Chateau Potelle. His first vintage of Mi Sueno was 1997. Three years later he received a phone call from the White House saying they wanted to serve his wine at a State dinner for Mexican President Vicente Fox. In 2007 he purchased the warehouse and set up his winery operations. He owns and leases vineyards in Coombsville and other parts of the Napa Valley, as well as the Russian River Valley in Sonoma, that supply Mi Sueno with high quality grapes.
We tasted through several wines including two delicious Chardonnays, one from Carneros and the other from the Russian River Valley. In the reds, his Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coombsville area is a standout. Our favorite wine of the entire delicious tasting was a wine of a somewhat unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The wine is called El Llano, named after Rolando Herrera’s hometown in Mexico. Almost 4000 cases of this wine are made annually, most of which are purchased by the Hillstone Restaurant Group. The very popular Rutherford Grill is one of the Hillstone restaurants.
The most impressive thing that we came away with in our visit to Mi Sueño was the jovial and cheery atmosphere among all the staff members. It must be an exciting and rewarding place to work. It looks like one big happy family.
The Oxbow Public Market
We visit the Oxbow Public Market whenever we visit the Napa valley. Never have we seen the Market so busy with customers. This is a good sign that the economy is booming in the Napa Valley. We ate our lunch at Ca’ Momi and enjoyed a Porchetta Panini and a glass of the Ca’ Momi Zinfandel. So tasty together! We hope that large numbers of shoppers and diners continue to visit Oxbow. If you have not been to Oxbow, put it on your list of things to do in the Napa Valley.