Teachworth Carneros Pinot Noir

Teachworth Carneros Pinot Noir (Photo by the brand)

Teachworth Napa Valley

In the early decades of commercial wine production, Napa Valley was not so Cabernet-Sauvignon-focused. Other grapes, including Pinot Noir, were grown extensively. As the region became smarter and figured out which varietals worked best, Cabernet Sauvignon, better suited to the warm climate of Napa, rose to the top. However, in the cooler climes of Carneros, that sliver of Napa Valley straddling Napa and Sonoma, Pinot Noir thrived. It was here that the Teachworths sourced Pinot Noir grapes for their 2019 Teachworth Estate Carneros Pinot Noir.

In 1995, Walter and Joan Teachworth bought land in the Diamond Mountain District in northwest Napa Valley, spending years developing the 40-acre vineyard that was initially nearly inaccessible. The work was monumental, requiring them to build access roads, rock retaining walls, and plant vineyards. The project required seven years to complete, and in 2002, Teachworth Estate was born. Today, the property is owned and operated by their children, Chris and Laura Teachworth.

Varietals

Prior to bringing Taylor Boydstun on board as their winemaker, the Teachworths produced three Cab Sauvs sourced from two separate blocks of a 2-acre vineyard sitting between 700-1000 ft. elevation: one from each block and an estate bottle combining both blocks. Taylor convinced them to abandon the block-designated bottlings to focus on the estate Cabernet, believing it was the strongest expression of the terroir, having aged the best. Under his skillful management, they grew the label to include the Carneros Pinot Noir (reviewed here) and another Cabernet bottling using sourced fruit as a “foil” to their Diamond Mountain District Cab.

Teachworth currently produces approximately 600 cases per year, a drop in the sea of Napa wines, but what they do produce is spectacular! As if the wine wasn’t enough, a visit to Teachworth is an experience in and of itself. The gorgeous gem of a property is nestled in the forest, and once you arrive, you’re invited to venture onto a deck with stunning vistas for tasting in what feels truly like a “secret garden.” Unfortunately, in 2020 the Teachworths lost their personal home and wine library to the infamous Glass Fire, but thankfully, they survived and are moving forward.

Tasting Notes

The 2019 Teachworth Estate Carneros Pinot Noir is aged 18 months in 30% new French oak. It pours a pale ruby color in the glass, with aromas of sweet spice and earthiness. The light-bodied Pinot Noir showcases more earth and spice than fruit. On the palate, cinnamon, oak spice, and baking spices permeate, but there are notes of red cherries and even plums present. Tannins are light, and the finish is smooth.