When visiting Napa Valley, a trip to Pope Valley is a must. Experience authentic Napa Valley, it is the quieter and less pretentious side of Napa. Pope Valley has risen in stature in recent years, producing prestigious Cabernet Sauvignon’s that are intense and vibrant. One of the newer and more renowned projects in the Pope Valley is Calla Lily Winery. Calla Lily has an elegant portfolio of wines that are produced around the imagery of calla lily, a flower of enormous beauty and refinement. These are the exact qualities that the winery strives to express in its wines.
Calla Lily Winery spans 95 acres in Pope Valley, just down the hill from Howell Mountain in the heart of Napa Valley. With the help of Cary Gott, Cally Lily was founded by Anthony Fung and Andy Chui, two Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs. The goal is to produce artisanal, low-production, boutique wines.
Calla Lily produces only estate wines, with 20-acres of estate vineyards consisting of Bordeaux varieties. The first vines were planted in 1995 and today there are 12 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 acres of Petite Sirah, and 1 acre each of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petite Verdot. The vines are established on the eastern side of Howell Mountain at an elevation of 800 feet, making it cooler than the valley floor. Combined with the elevation, soil, and microclimate, winemaker Cary Gott says, “Pope Valley is a hidden gem in Napa Valley”
Cary Gott is an icon in the wine industry. He is a fourth-generation California winemaker who’s had a hand in more than twenty wineries. With 40 years of experience, he has managed multiple ultra-premium vineyards; he was the Senior Vice President of Seagram Classics, the President of Sterling Vineyards, and the Winemaster of Mumm Napa Valley. He is known to have helped many enter the wine business and get them on the right path to building a wine brand. The Gott family also owns food and wine businesses in Napa Valley and San Francisco, most notably Gott’s Roadside and Joel Gott Wines.
Calla Lily Ultimate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (SRP $65)
The Ultimate Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc; 6% Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot. Intriguing notes of blueberries, plum, cinnamon, thyme, and sage exude from the glass. The palate is layered and concentrated with notes of black fruit, cocoa, and spice. This is a classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon done right. Only 1032 cases produced.
Calla Lily AUDAX Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2015 (SRP $120)
AUDAX, meaning “bold” in Latin, is Calla Lily’s barrel-selection reserve wine made as a tribute to the pioneers of Napa Valley, many of whom settled in Pope Valley. The bottle and packaging are luxurious and elegant. This is a wine that needs to be enjoyed in a high-quality Bordeaux wine glass, for the best experience. AUDAX is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon; 4% Merlot; 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec and is energetic and vibrant.
There are quintessential notes of dark fruit, oak, chocolate, and dried flowers. There is a wonderful tension between the fruits and tannins. The finish is rich, spicy, and seductive. This Napa Cabernet is extremely well-balanced and elegant. You can drink now, but the wine will continue to evolve in the bottle, making it a perfect wine to cellar. There are only 134 cases produced.