Paraduxx winery is located in the center of the Napa Valley at 7257 Silverado Trail–if you’re headed north on the Trail, it’ll be on your left-hand side. The story goes that Duckhorn Wine Company created Paraduxx in order to provide its winemakers the opportunity to explore other styles that fell outside Duckhorn’s focus on Bordeaux varietals. The result is a newer, decidedly different approach to winemaking and winetasting.
Paraduxx, whose inaugural Napa Valley Red Wine vintage was produced in 1994, is known for its unique blends of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, among other red varietals. We stopped by the winery late on a recent Friday afternoon for a tasting.
The winery: The Paraduxx Vineyard House, which features both indoor and outdoor seating, is an unassuming structure where tastings are done (11am – 4pm daily). After parking in the small lot out front, a short walk on a fine gravel path leads you to the orange-ish building where you check-in and pay for your tasting (ours was $15 per person, for three flights–with two bonus flights thrown in by the friendly staff). From Silverado Trail you may hardly notice the structure, which is tucked between a few trees and behind several rows of vineyards.
The tasting room: The tasting area is somewhat non-traditional in that visitors taste the wines while seated at either in-door or out-door tables–as opposed to standing like a herd of cows at a bar. We found this to be quite refreshing and, despite what it may sound like, not at all formal.
The Vineyard House features ample seating at large tables (there are a few comfy looking chairs in the middle of the room as well) and has a decidedly modern, contemporary feel to it. Inside, the seating area is surrounded by large windows facing away from Silverado Trail that provide ample natural light and nice views of the surrounding vineyards. The room features dark mahogany tables, stainless steel backed chairs and black leather couches. Guests are free to sit inside or out on the back deck and surrounding grounds.
As it was a gorgeous afternoon, we opted for the inviting outdoor seats on the back deck of the Vineyard House. From this vantage point we had views of the vineyards, trees, western Napa hillside and were able to enjoy the sounds of birds chirping and the light music coming from the overhead speakers. The winery was not very busy on this particular afternoon, with (as far as we could tell) only one other couple tasting on the entire premises–meaning we were able to have a quiet, calming experience.
The staff: From the moment we walked through the door, the Paraduxx staff was friendly, informative and always smiling–in fact, as you’ll see below, we even received two free ‘bonus’ tastings of Paraduxx’s ‘Postmark’ wines. As we were purchasing our wine, the staff member even asked us if either of us were Napa residents (of course we are!), so we could take advantage of the Napa Neighbor program–not something most wineries typically ask in our experience.
The wine: Wines are served to you at your table and are always paired with a variety of complementary seasonal foods. Paraduxx serves its wines using stemless Riedel ‘O’ glassware–one of the few Napa Valley wineries we’ve come across to do so.
The ’04, which was released in January of this year, was 65% Zinfandel, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot. The wine was medium-bodied and on the nose had hints of berries, vanilla and black pepper. The wine retails for $45 per bottle.
The ’03 is a unique blend of 63% Zinfandel, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine had rich fruits on the nose–cherry, cranberry, coconut, and on the palate we got jam, hints of toasty oak and cedar. At $53 per bottle, this was our favorite wine of the first group.
The ’02 Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Wine was released in January 2005 after spending 18-months in oak barrels (69% American, 31% French). The blend is 72% Zinfandel, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot. A long, lingering finish allowed us to enjoy the flavors of dark fruit and the sweetness from hints of chocolate and caramel.
We then moved on to our second set of wines–this time the 2004 Postmark Cabernet Sauvignon/Zinfandel and the 2004 Postmark Rector Creek Vineyard. Paraduxx created the Postmark label for its limited-production wines, which still follow the Paraduxx winemaking style.
We first tried the Postmark Cabernet Sauvignon/Zinfandel blend (61% Cab, 39% Zin), which was released on Valentine’s Day of this year. The wine ($65 per bottle) had some spicy peppery flavors and a long finish, but likely needs to sit for at least a few more months in order for its full character to come out.
Finally, we had the 2004 Postmark Rector Creek ($65 per bottle), which is comprised of 62% Zinfandel and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon. Also released on February 14, 2007, this wine was full-flavored, with solid hints of toasty oak and cherry and on this particular afternoon was in amazing form.
Of all the Paraduxx wines we tasted, this was by far-and-away our favorite, so it should be no surprise we’ve now got a bottle sitting in our wine cellar. Unfortunately, we hear the ’04 Postmark Rector Creek is now sold out–but if you can somehow find a bottle, we highly recommend it!
The Cork Board rating: 4.5 corks (out of 5 possible). Friendly service, a decidedly different overall vibe, solid red wines and a relaxing, informal atmosphere put the Paraduxx winetasting experience right near the top of our list.
Have you visited Paraduxx lately? Leave us a comment and tell us what you thought of the experience. Also, be sure to check out our previous winetasting reviews.