Ashes & Diamonds

Anyone heard of or tried these wines? Stumbled across an article linked through Terroirist. Owner is Kashy Khaledi, son of Darioush Khaledi.

Looks like they’ve brought in some strong winemakers (Steve Matthiasson, Dan Petroski, Diana Snowden Seysses) and are catering to the younger crowd (at least younger than me!).

Was just at the winery a few weeks ago. It’s owned by Darioush’s son but other than the relation the wineries and subsequent wines couldn’t be more different. The wines at Ashes are the polar opposite to just about everything else being made in Napa these days - lower alcohol, fresh and super food-friendly. The whole approach is targeted at drawing younger wine drinkers into the valley with their laid-back, hipster vibe. I picked up a mixed case of their Bordeaux white blend and their multi-vineyard cab ($45 and $65 respectively). Their single vineyard wines are a notch above but go for about double the price. If you like old school Napa wines or are in the AFWE crowed, these wines are definitely for you.

I read in an interview that Steve picked earlier for this label than his own Matthiasson label. I like Steve’s wines, but they’re already on the lean end for my comfort zone… still, I think it’s an interesting label and it looks like the owner put some serious investment into a new label that isn’t a new cult style points chaser.

Funny thing regarding that article is that my low-key wine (they normally drink Apothic and various Kirkland wines, but do like good wine - just usually when it comes from my cellar when they visit) cheesehead parents were in Napa the week of the Ashes & Diamonds grand opening. I saw a post on Facebook the day before about the Grand Opening the day prior and suggested my parents check it out as there was nothing in their schedule that afternoon. They went and enjoyed it, and are actually in the picture of the Grand Opening gathering in the article. So now I can tell everyone that my mom once appeared in Vogue! neener

They also visited Corison (thank you, Cathy), David Arthur (thank you, Laura), Silver Oak (thank you, Nate) and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Based on this thread, and the Vogue article, I stopped by the property this afternoon. Denny described the experience very well. Right on St. Helena Highway (just after it stops being 29), so very convenient to Napa, and just behind Don Giovanni’s, so prime real estate. Distinctive property with a mid-century feel, targeting a younger crowd it seems, and it stands out from the faux villas. Snacks are very good (I met Ethan, the chef - really nice guy). Wines are definitely on the AFWE side - lighter in style, lots of acidity, and full of flavor. Right up my alley. Interesting that their estate vineyard is cab franc and merlot, with a bit of whites (don’t remember what) that get sold off, and not cab.

Tasted five wines.

2015 Blanc No. 1 - SB/semillon blend made by Matthiasson. The semillon really tames the perfume and sweetness of the SB, making for a tasty and unique white.

2015 Vin de Table and Grand Vin No. 1 - both cab franc/merlot blends (same ratio of 80/20), but made in different styles, one was free run juice, while the other was a heavier press. Both made by Petroski. I preferred the VdT more - a bit more rustic and interesting, while the GV had more green pepper, which I don’t like as much, but both were quite tasty.

2014 Cab Franc - made by Matthiasson. Not 100% CF - I think there is merlot? in it. Not being much of a fan of this variety, I didn’t love it, but it was definitely lighter and fruitier than other CFs from CA that I’ve had.

2015 Cab Rancho Pequeno - made by Petroski. Delicious, on the lighter side, but still quite powerful. A more laid back and restrained style of cab. Not cheap at $125, but it holds up to the competition quite well.

Definitely worth a stop.

Spot on, Marc. The Vin de Table and the Blanc were the ones I enjoyed most in relation to the price and I felt were the best representatives of the wineries overall style and direction. That being said all the wines are very good and are really a breath of fresh air for Napa Valley. Nice to see someone taking the chances and going against the grain instead of going with the flow and chasing the big wine, big points model that is the norm in the region.