Trefethen Family Vineyards celebrated 50 years this year! To celebrate in style, some of the top wine writers in NYC gathered at Corkbuzz Wine Bar with Janet and Lorenzo Trefethen and Kevin Zraly to taste some incredible wines.
John and Janet Trefethen met in the 1970’s and got married. This is when they also started to really improve Trefethen Family Vineyards, come 1973. What’s amazing is that during this era (in the 70’s) Trefethen also won the best Chardonnay in the world, ranked #1, and beat the French, which back in the day was almost unheard of, especially for an American wine! The Trefethens are still to this day producing some incredible wines, especially Chardonnay, Riesling, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
During this tasting, I had the pleasure of tasting wine older than myself! Their first vintage of dry Riesling was 1974, and during our tasting, with Janet and Lorenzo we had the opportunity to try the 1988 Dry Riesling. This wine is still so full of acidity and has just a bit of oxidation on the nose; almost like sherry wine. Its beautiful amber color is what you will notice first, followed by those attractive older wine aromas and flavors. We also had the opportunity to taste the 2016 Dry Riesling as well, which is lovely and refreshing with stand out acidity, citrus flavors, and a nice finish.
After the Riesling tasting came the Chardonnays. We started of course, with some incredible vintages including the 77′, 85′ Library Selection, 91′ Library Selection, 05′, 11′, and 16′. All were very different due to age and the weather during that vintage, however, the 77′, 91′, and 16′ really won my heart. The 1977 Chardonnay is full of cooked fruit and smoke aromas, with a hint of salty sea spray. On the palate, the oceanic quality really followed through along with nice fruit and acid still present.
After the beautiful Chardonnay and Riesling flights, it was time to taste some of the Cabernet Sauvignons. Trefethen Cabernet is how I first discovered this winery because I was working as a Wine Director at a restaurant in NJ, and they had the Cabernet on the list. Upon the first sip, I knew this was a winery I could get on board with. I had the pleasure of tasting another incredible cabernet lineup with Janet and Lorenzo, which consisted of the 79′ Library Selection, 86′, 99′ and the 06′, 11′, and 15′ vintages. 1979 is an “oldie but a goodie” with meat, licorice, spice, and cedar notes. For its age, this wine did show a nice amount of meat characters, but at the same time, it is so elegant, and beautiful. Luckily after three years of drought and floods, 79′ was a blessing for a vintage, according to Trefethen! In 1986-1999, phylloxera was very present, so experimenting in the vineyards was important to continue healthy vine growing. Between all of the Cabernets, my favorites were the 79′, 86′, 06′, and the 2015 vintages. If you want to check out some of their reds now, 2015 is what’s on the market and available to order online.
Trefethen Family Vineyards have won many awards, and the wines always score high points. The quality and care that they put into their wines are what they are known for, as well as their welcoming hospitality, passion, and famed Napa, California location. If you find yourself out in Napa, be sure to book a tour and tasting!