Few Napa Valley wineries – or any throughout the world for that matter – can claim history and proprietorship as compelling as that of Palmaz Vineyards. With its combination of Argentinian roots, 19th century California history, depth and breadth of fine wines, an ambitious culinary program, and show-stopping architecture and technology, Palmaz Vineyards can easily claim the title of Napa’s most distinctive luxury wine estate.
Passionate about food, wine, and land preservation, Amalia and Julio Palmaz, the winery’s Buenos Aires-born co-founders and co-chairmen, combine tradition with technology at both their fabled Napa winery and at their Genesee Valley cattle ranch located in the heart of California’s legendary Gold Country, surrounded by the Plumas National Forest. Both are family operations, and both employ the highest standards in producing products of unparalleled quality and luxury. Here are the five ways in which Palmaz Vineyards distinguishes itself:
Palmaz Vineyards features a gourmet club emblematic of its Argentinian heritage, ‘The Brasas Food & Wine Society.’ Club members receive access to exclusive winery events such as the annual ‘Asado,’ a traditional Argentine barbecue featuring beef from the family’s prestigious and exclusive Genesee Valley Ranch 100% Black Wagyu cattle herd, for which Brasas members can sign-up to receive home-delivered beef, which pairs perfectly with Palmaz’s member-only Cabernet/Malbec blend, Brasas.
The Palmaz historic Napa Valley property dates to the 19th Century when Henry Hagen founded Cedar Knoll Vineyard and Winery in 1881. (“The Napa Valley road on which Palmaz Vineyards is located is named after Hagen.”) Hagen became a true Napa Valley pioneer; his noteworthy wines were featured at the San Francisco Opera House and served to the city’s VIPs, and his Cedar Knoll brandy won a silver medal at a Paris competition in 1889. After Hagen passed away in 1895, the property’s winemaking endeavors were abandoned until the Palmaz family purchased the property nearly 100 years later, and together, Julio, Amalia, and their children Florencia and Christian Gastón restored it to its former glory.
World-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the calling cards of most Napa Valley wineries. Palmaz Vineyards takes these calling cards and elevates each to award-winning levels. The Palmaz family’s wine philosophy stems from their belief that science perfectly complements viticultural and winemaking traditions – a conviction upheld with every bottle of their world-class wines. The Palmaz Estate comprises 610 sustainable acres; the vineyards include 15 terroirs planted at varied elevations, each yielding complex wines. A visit to Palmaz provides the chance to experience wines that detour from the norm. Rosé, for instance, may currently be everywhere, but Palmaz’s bottling is unique. Primarily Cabernet, it’s fermented in oak barrels to produce a red wine drinker’s rosé. Visitors might be surprised to see Riesling at Palmaz. Fermented almost dry and without oak, this is a cellar-able white wine for seafood and spicy fare. Palmaz Vineyards also produces Muscat grape juice as well as a Malbec/Merlot blend. Fresh-pressed and non-alcoholic, it’s perfect for kids or the designated driver.
Palmaz Vineyards wine tastings always include a plate of small hor’s d’ oeuvres. Guests might find shortbread cookies made with garden-grown rosemary and Meyer lemon, paired with an elegant, softly sweet Florencia Muscat wine. Guests can sample estate olive oil crafted from the property’s 350 Arbequina, Manzanilla, Mission, and Picholine olive trees. To enjoy a taste of the winery at home, pick-up a copy of the gorgeous book Palmaz Vineyards: At the Table and Around the Fire, written by Florencia Palmaz and featuring more than 130 recipes ranging from Spicy Melon Shooters with Prosciutto Straws to Empanadas with Ham and Gruyère.
A marvel of form and function, the Palmaz estate centerpiece is the Cave, an 18-story, 100,000 square foot subterranean cavern that required seven years to complete. The Cave provides gravity flow and a naturally cool environment in which the family combines the latest technology with time-honored craftsmanship to make, among other varietals, their signature Palmaz Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cave is highlighted by the fermentation dome, a high-tech FILCS (Fermentation Intelligent Logic Control System), aka ‘Felix’ that projects are monitoring data onto the ceiling like something straight out of a Hollywood film.