Day 4

LaSalle Grill Does Napa

Round Pond Estate, Groth, Far Niente

Casey Dvorak

April 6, 2022

We again started at 10:00 a.m. today. A short drive south down the valley on the Silverado Trail brought us to Round Pond Estate in Rutherford. Round Pond started as a grape grower providing choice fruit for some of its neighbors in Rutherford and Oakville. While this is still an important part of their operation, they have transitioned to dedicating most of their vineyard to the production of their own estate wine.

Guy Barstad is the maître d’ and he showed us great hospitality. We toured the wine making facility and the barrel room They have a glass-walled portion of their barrel cellar where they can manipulate the ambient temperature. This is where select Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay undergo malolactic fermentation; you know this as the creamy or buttery texture some white wines have. They grow a myriad of grapes at the vineyard including some Italian varietals like Sangiovese and Nebbiolo; 50% of their plantings are reserved for the production of “Kith and Kin” Cabernet that you can find at LaSalle Grill.

Next stop, Oakville! Groth and then Far Niente.

At Groth we did not have a lot of time, but we did get to walk the barrel room and we got a little history on the founder, Dennis Groth. Before opening the winery in 1982, he was an accountant in the city and then he worked for Atari. Pretty neat.

Just down the road is Far Niente. It’s one of the older properties in Napa, and it is on some premium land. Far Niente was the first vineyard from the Nickel & Nickel family. Purchased in 1979, the building is a three-story gravity-fed winemaking facility built on the slope of a cave-filled hillside. Words don’t do it justice.

Our tasting room was in the center of the caves and the shelves on the walls around us housed their library collection featuring every vintage of Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Dolce they have ever made. They also have a massive garden on the property and a museum of classic cars!

Another day of gracious hospitality! Every tour and tasting experience adds to the body of knowledge we’re bringing back to take LaSalle Grill’s extensive expertise to even higher levels.