Winery Visit: Seavey Vineyard

Seavey came highly recommended by some folks we trust who work at other tasting rooms in town so I finally booked an appointment to give them a try. I can’t say I was blown away by the experience. Everything from booking the appointment to the actual tasting wasn’t one of the better times I’ve spent in Napa.

My first contact with the vineyard came in the form of an e-mail requesting an appointment. Soon after I wrote with a date and time, I got a call back from a very aloof woman. I felt as if she was acting as a sort of wine bouncer trying to see if I could put my money where my mouth is. I totally and completely felt as if she was sizing me up over the phone in an attempt to make sure I could afford to buy their wine. While I certainly hope this was unintentional, it left me with a sinking feeling before I even set foot at the tasting room. Apparently I was deemed worthy to step into their hallowed winery because my appointment for two was confirmed.

I opted for the Vintage Tasting at $60.00 per person (one fee waived with each 3 bottle purchase or wine club sign up). Tasting fees are getting ridiculous and Seavey’s is no exception. My experience was worth nowhere near what they charged me, and this of course left a bad taste in my mouth — no pun intended.

I was sent an e-mail with detailed driving directions and instructions. Save these to your phone or print them out because your cell phone will not work. We drove deep into the Napa farmland and past old barns, rickety fences, and lots of trees. Follow the directions to the letter and even when you think you’ve gone too far, you haven’t!

We arrived about 5 minutes early to an empty tasting room and nobody in sight. We had secured the very first appointment of the day, so I was a little surprised that we beat the employees to the punch! After waiting nearly 10 minutes after our scheduled appointment time, we were finally greeted by a friendly little terrier dog and our tasting hostess.

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We were given a quick walkaround and mini tour of the winemaking facility and the property, learning just enough info about the vineyard practices and family’s history. It was interesting without getting too technical and I never felt like I was overloaded with information. Most winery tours give me that glassy-eyed feeling, but Seavey’s was about 75% interesting, which is far more than I can say for other wineries.

 

After the brief tour we were taken upstairs in a historic stone barn from 1881. We sat in a former office loft and had a seated tasting. Four wines were poured, including three current vintage wines and one library wine from the cellar. We did not get to pick which wines were on offer, it’s just the luck of the draw.

Our tasting consisted of a 2008 Caravina Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2013 Merlot, a 2013 Caravina Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2012 Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon.

Across the board, the wines failed to excite me. I had such high hopes for this vineyard and I was disappointed. Perhaps they didn’t put their best foot forward on the day of my visit? Who knows. I will say the library wine knocked the others out of the water. This led me to believe that Seavey wines needs quite a bit of time in the bottle.

I also must point out something that I never complain about — the size of the pours. The pours here were so ridiculously tiny that I found it extremely difficult to properly evaluate the wine. I’m not here to get drunk, but there was so little in the glass.

The tasting experience was a little bit awkward because our hostess was sitting at the table directly across from us, but I think she got the hint and went downstairs for a little while so we could discuss our thoughts.

We ended up purchasing three bottles of the 2008 Caravina. I wasn’t thrilled with the wine but we figured it would be nice to have at least one tasting fee waived. Wineries truly are doing themselves a disservice by pricing their tasting fees ridiculously high. What’s even worse is that now I have three bottles of wine that I didn’t even really enjoy and that I’m not looking forward to opening. All this does is serve as a reminder that I felt like I “had” to buy the bottles, and when I see them in my cellar it stirs up a negative connotation. I do think the requirement of buying a half case of wine for two people to have a complimentary tasting is absolutely ridiculous. Was the experience worth $120 for a couple? No way.

I realize everyone’s tastebuds are different but I’m just not a fan of Seavey. Check it out if you are looking for an expensive off the beaten path experience in Napa. You won’t find bachelorette party limos out here.

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