This was one of the more difficult posting, categorically speaking. I have been driving by Conn Creek‘s facilities every day for almost two years and met a delightful sales rep of theirs at the Premiere Napa Valley tasting. But I did not realize that their sister winery was Villa Mt. Eden so going to Conn Creek also means going to Villa Mt. Eden. Apparently there is also a bit of confusion which I had learned earlier that Villa Mt. Eden is not associated with Mt. Eden Vineyards.
I have actually had the advantage of tasting some older Conn Creek offerings from the late 1980s and early nineties that I found quite intriguing. They have been in business since the early 1970s and produce Bordeaux varietals. The Villa Mt. Eden sister winery branches out a bit more with Zinfandel and Syrah offerings. Their websites indicate two separate winemakers; Mike McGrath for Villa Mt. Eden and Jeff McBride for Conn Creek.
Oddly, there is little information on the Villa Mt. Eden site about its genesis and I am terribly curious about the affiliation and integration between the two wineries. Two winemakers? I imagine that in close quarters, there is much more of a team effort between the two, but I am saddened there is not more information about why there are two separate labels with different winemakers.
Conn Creek Winery
2003 Sauvignon Blanc – From the Tall Trees Vineyard, Napa. Delicate and lovely with lemon peel, a touch of citrus, and clean floral notes. All this adds to a more orange flavor in the mouth that is easy and not astringent. $18.00
2001 Cabernet Franc – 75% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. I believe this bottle might have been opened the day before as it showed distinct oxidized qualities of dust under the black cherry. $25.00
2001 Merlot – Tight cherry and blueberry just hide a tease of cocoa on the nose. The mouth entry is tight with mostly mineral tones. $25.00
2001 Cabernet Sauvignon – Unexciting offering of cassis and cherry with spice that seems slightly out of balance. I can’t put my finger on it, but there was no integration in the few flavors that I could discern. $25.00
2001 Anthology – 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petite Verdot, and 4% Malbec. Dried cherry and dried floral aromas show at first, but are quickly overwhelmed with hot, medicinal qualities. Not as full-bodied as anticipated, herbal flavors overwhelmed the fruit. $50.00
Villa Mt. Eden Wines
2004 Chardonnay, Grand Reserve, Bien Nacido, Santa Maria Valley – 100% malo shows a classic offering of dark fig and rich melon with buttery tones. Fruit forward in the mouthfeel, a bit of stone fruit brightens the mid-palate and a tangy finish surprises. $23.00
2002 Pinot Noir, Grand Reserve, Bien Nacido, Santa Maria Valley – Candy shop aromas of sweet raspberry and tangy cranberry. Medium-bodied in the mouth, mineral qualities seem to overwhelm what fruit existed in the nose. Thins a bit, showing a metallic finish. $23.00
2001 Zinfandel, Mead Ranch Vineyard, Napa Valley – Pale red color conflicts with the port-like nose of spicy toffee and chocolate. Port-like integrated aromas show hints of blackberry and the mouthfeel is firm and structured. Spicy cinnamon finish. $25.00
1999 Syrah, Grand Reserve – from the foothills of the Sierra mountains in Nevada County. Aromas of vanilla and ground coffee with a tease of wood. Odd. Jammy mouth entry is tight that never evolves. $23.00
2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Tall Trees Vineyard, Napa Valley – Aromas of some spice and dark fruit and then mostly dusty dark chocolate. The flavors are at first jammy but finish with green olive. $15.00
Conn Creek Winery/Villa Mt. Eden ~
8711 Silverado Trail ~
St. Helena ~ CA ~ 94574 ~ 707-963-9100