Young Inglewood off the beaten path in St. Helena
For those who enjoy visiting Napa Valley boutique and hidden gems, is one to add to your list of must explore wineries. The winery produces only 600 cases of wine and the location is hidden near the end of Inglewood Avenue. Inglewood Avenue branches off Highway 29 in St. Helena. Young Inglewood Vineyards is run by Jim and Jacky Young. Jacky and son Scott are the co-winemakers. The name of the winery comes from Jim and Jacky’s affection for Burgundy and Bordeaux. In most cases the wineries in France have the family name and the village name connected with the name of the winery, thus Young Inglewood. Young Inglewood is a certified Napa Green winery. I was surprised to learn from Jim Young that among the hundreds of wineries in the Napa Valley only 40 are certified green. It’s a vigorous test to meet these standards and perhaps that is why so few wineries in the Napa Valley can meet the requirements. Young Inglewood has 17.6 acres planted to the Bordeaux grapes with most of that Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Their Chardonnay is sourced from vineyards in the Oak Knoll AVA of the Napa Valley. Also in the vineyard mix is a small plot of Aligoté vineyards. What, you never heard of the Aligoté grape? It is likely that this is the only plot of Aligoté grown in the Napa Valley and perhaps all of California. The Aligoté grape is Burgundy’s second white wine grape. It is tasty crisp white wine and less expensive than the Chardonnay wines produced in Burgundy. The vines at Young Inglewood are only two years old so we will have to wait for what will certainly be a very small production wine.
The 17.6 acres of vineyards planted at Young Inglewood sit on the middle of an alluvial fan of a gravely loam soil. This according to Jim Young is some of the best soil in the entire Napa Valley. The roots grow deeply in search of water. Jim states that they irrigate established vines only four times per year. In the red varieties the ideal is to strive for an earlier harvest than most. Harvesting earlier than normal means more acidity and less sugar in the grapes. This results in a balanced wine that is very food friendly wine as in the style of Bordeaux. The red wines spend anywhere from 18 to 20 months in French oak barrels, 50% which are new.
Visiting Young Inglewood Vineyards
Visitors to Young Inglewood are all done by appointment. The tasting and touring fee is $40 per person and last from one to one and half hours. We tasted four wines ranging in price from $27 for a delicious Rosé to $90 for an amazing and stunning 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. We were impressed by the quality of the wines and more so by the passion and care that go into making the wines. A very cool wine label sums it all up. The tightrope walker on the label signifies balance. It is a constant reminder to all those at the winery that everything done at the winery must lead to a balance. I think it is great philosophy for all of us.