Yountville Tasting Room

Jessup Cellars has earned a loyal following for its ultra-premium wines and a word-of-mouth reputation for having one of the friendliest Yountville tasting rooms in all of Napa Valley.  On a recent visit, they certainly lived up to this reputation!

I made a reservation for myself and friends to enjoy the Jessup Cellars Classic Wine Experience; a guided tasting with a pairing plate.  I was the first to arrive and was warmly welcomed by a member of the Jessup Cellars team. I decided to browse around the front of the Yountville art gallery & tasting room prior to being seated.  A beautiful wine bar curved around one side of the room.  The team informed me they often use this bar to welcome guests who might not have a reservation!  If they have room in the gallery for a seated tasting, they always offer this option, but for times this isn’t an option, the bar is happy to welcome walk in guests.  Recently Jessup Cellars posted to their social media “Walk-in tastings are back on the menu. Reservations are still recommended for seated experiences, but spontaneity is the spice of life, and we’re here to accommodate you”.

While most Napa wineries request you make reservations, it is wonderful to have a Yountville tasting room like Jessup Cellars that welcome and accommodate guests that happen to pop into town without a reservation.  Starting to see that how this “friendliest tasting room in Napa Valley” reputation came to be.

As I continued to explore the front of the gallery, I spied great gift items to help commemorate your time in the Napa Valley including beautiful wine bottle candles, cutting boards, the coolest Bart Bridges Yountville hat,  cozy blankets, gourmet dog treats, dog leashes and so much more.

A view of the tasting bar at Jessup Cellars.
Flat brimmed hat with Yountville Patch featuring champagne classes
Shelf featuring retail products for sale at Jessup Cellars
A basket of colorful gourmet dog cookies shaped like wine bottles with the Jessup Cellars logo

A warm welcome for all guests

When my friends arrived (3 human, 2 canine) I soon saw that Jessup’s reputation for friendliness extended beyond humans.  Our canine friends were greeted with a hearty hello, pats and treats.  They were welcome to dive into a fluffy dog bed filled with toys and pick out one they liked for their visit.  The canine crew tails were wagging with joy as the human companions were escorted to a beautiful wooden table set in the middle of the gallery. 

The art gallery adds a whole other layer to the wine tasting experience, but somehow, you still feel as if you are sitting at friends dining room table.  I suspect this tied to that friendly reputation, which our host Whitney quickly lived up to.  She warmly introduced us to Jessup Cellars and gave us an overview of our tasting experience.  She cheerfully greeted the dogs (Oliver & Teddy) and shared with us stories of her own dogs, all while educating us about the wine and food we would be experiencing.

A small white dog has a yellow squeaky toy
A view of Jessup Cellars Gallery Room with tasting table set up
A jack russell terrier is greeted by a staff member at Jessup Cellars
A wooden table set for 4 with wine glasses and small food pairing plates

Wine Tasting with a Pairing Plate

Our tasting experience took us through five wines:  Chardonnay from Los Carneros, Rougette, Zinfandel from Alexander Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and Juel. The Chardonnay welcomed us with honey & creme brulee flavors and a warming vanilla finish.  This wine goes though 100% malolactic fermentation, but still had a nice acidity on the finish. It paired beautifully with both the orange-honey roasted almonds and the Capricho de Cabra goats milk cheese featured on the pairing plate. 

The next wine, Rougette is a fun blend of co-fermented Grenache and Carignan.  Red plum and nutmeg greet you on the nose, and the palate is dry with lovely acidity and rich tannins. Rougette is extremely food-friendly and paired well with both the chocolate, a 72% dark chocolate from Anette’s in Napa and the Holy Cow, a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese.

Next up was the Zinfandel from Alexander Valley.  The fruit comes from 130 year old vines, which lends to a more concentrated flavor.  A fun twist, the wine was aged for 15 months in used Chardonnay barrels and blended with 15% Petite Sirah.  I am a big Zinfandel fan and I could imagine it pairing well with a variety of spicy foods.  It paired seamlessly with the Majorero Pimenton goats cheese.

A plate with chocolate, cheese and nuts, wine glass and Jessup Cellars Menu
Adorable White Dog with red bow tie
A plate with chocolate, cheese and nuts
Adorable brown and white dog peers at the camera

Whitney described the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as a “cab crowd pleaser” and our crew certainly agreed.  It was fruit forward, approachable and ready to be enjoyed now, but I could also imagine tucking it away for a few years and revisiting for a whole new experience.  Whitney informed us that wine maker Rob Lloyd focuses on 100% Cabernets at their sister property, Handwritten Wines (also located in Yountville) but for Jessup, he focus on the “art of the blend”.  This blend was 83.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.9% Petite Verdot, 3.6% Petite Sirah, 3.2% Cabernet Franc.  It paired beautifully with the Barely Buzzed, a unique cheddar rubbed with espresso and lavender.

Our final wine of the day was Juel, a treat for our group, as it most often poured for Members of the Wine Club.  It was a beautifully crafted blend.  Well balanced with firm tannins, moderate acidity and a full-bodied mouthfeel. Fruit forward on the palate, the wine had flavors of black fruit, citrus blossoms, mulling spices, and cinnamon.  The blend on this vintage was 44.4% Merlot, 39.1% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.4% Petite Verdot, 6.4% Cabernet Franc, 3.7% Petite Sirah.  It paired expertly with the Snowfield Aged Cheddar and my final sip with a bit of the chocolate was the perfect end to this experience.

As we made our purchases and exchanged our goodbyes with Whitney, both human and canine visitors were clearly thrilled with the experience we had at Jessup Cellars.  The dogs got one last treat for the road and as friends parted ways, we agree we should make it back to Jessup Cellars soon!  We hope to see you there!

Jessup Cellars, Open Daily 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
6740 Washington Street, Yountville CA
(707) 944-5620