Bottled Up

Have you ever feared being stuck in a small crowded elevator…well last night that fear was my reality! My friend Chef Dave Martin and I were on our way up to a Newton Wine Tasting on the roof at Hudson Terrace when we mistakenly took the elevator. Things were moving along just fine until all the sudden the elevator came to a shaking halt! Dave, myself and 8 other people were trapped in very close and steamy quarters for what seemed like an eternity! About 25 minutes later we were saved…each of us had to be lifted up from the elevator shaft out of a small slit at the top of the door. Boy did we all make an entrance! I do have to admit that I remained collectively calm and somewhat humorous during our little crisis which was a surprise to me, as I for sure thought I would have a meltdown if I ever found myself stuck in an elevator.

Once we finally made it up to the roof terrace and took some deep breaths of fresh air, we were ready (very ready) for a glass of the Newton wine! Dave and I started with the Unfiltered Chardonnay which was delightful. I am usually not a California Chardonnay fan, but I found this one to be perfectly balanced with the right amount of oak to acidity. The Chardonnay was paired with a shot glass full of rich and creamy lobster bisque, and a smoky seared scallop with red pepper and zucchini slaw.

We then moved on to the Unfiltered Merlot, which was paired with a mushroom ravioli served in a veal demi-glace sauce topped with duck breast (I gave my duck to Dave since I’m still only eating fish). The pairing worked nicely, although the demi-glace was a bit too thick and hearty for the delicate ravioli. The Merlot, was full-bodied and had notes of plum, chocolate and truffle, and a long. Another nice wine from Newton!

The third wine we tried was the Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon, it was dynamite! It was elegant, earthy with hints of cherry and cassis. It was paired with a beef tenderloin (again gave mine to Dave) with a colorful stack of grilled vegetables. As I was enjoying my glass of the wonderful Cabernet, I was introduced to Su Hua Newton, owner of Newton Vineyards. She is a spunky woman with a flair for life, but takes her wine very seriously and has been known in the past to declassify her wines if she isn’t happy with them. Su Hua prefers to make her wines unfiltered so the natural fruit characteristics achieved in the vineyards are preserved and the wine is reflective of the region’s terroir.
Su Hua Newton (center) with Myself, Dave and our Elevator friends

After sharing a few laughs with the fabulous Su Hua, I moved on to the last wine of the evening: The 1994 Puzzle! It is Newton Vineyard’s iconic Bordeaux Blend, made up of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, and it is amazing! The wine burst in my mouth but rounded out like a cashmere scarf on my tongue. This is the type of wine you want to enjoy after a long day at work while reading a trashy novel! The Puzzle was served alongside the dessert course, which was an average chocolate torte of some-sort with berries. I honestly would have just preferred the Puzzle on its own or maybe with a small piece of aged Gouda.

Just as a few rain clouds started to gather up above we said our goodbyes and were on our way…down the stairs, you must be crazy if you think I would try to get on that elevator again!

Newton has definitely captured my attention with their wines and their lovely owner. I look forward to sampling more from their collection.

If you would like further information about Newton Vineyards, their website is:

If you are interested in visiting Newton, they offer Tours and tasting by appointment only Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00am to 2:30pm. Price is $35 per person.

Newton Vineyard
2555 Madrona Avenue
St. Helena, California 94574
Phone: 707.963.9000

1 comment:

  1. hey Em! Loved your review and will defintely have to check those wines out!