Tucked into the mountains off the Silverado Trail is Palmaz Vineyards. This was Paul’s lucky day as he got to go wine tasting with 5 beautiful women. He was our driver for the day and a good sport about it. We didn’t even give him grief for driving past Palmaz the first go-around.

Julio and Amalia Palmaz purchased this vineyard in 1997. Julio is a medical doctor who attended medical school in Argentina and completed his residency at US Davis.  He is a pretty famous Doctor…he invented the Palmaz Coronary Stent.  One that sits in Paul’s artery as well as Dr. Palmaz’s.

When we arrived at the vineyard we drove up to level 3, parked the car, walked up the steps and was met by Brad.  Usually one of the family members gives the tour, but they were busy, so Brad who is from South Africa via Texas, was our lucky guide for next the few hours.

Palmaz is a gravity flow winery. That means minimum intervention throughout the entire wine making process.  All the sorting and processing is done in the caves.   See the press to the right, flows through the floor into the tanks which are on a conveyor. Then are moved to the barrels two floors below. Everything in the winery is electronically monitored. Besides wine geeks, they are technology geeks.  They even had a iphone app made so they can monitor the temps in the tanks no matter where the are.

After the tour and riding in the elevator many times we moved on to the tasting in Florencia’s office.  She is Dr. Palmaz’s daughter.  She did stop in after her tour ended to grab a few things before going to lunch.  She chatted with us for quite a while.  A lovely woman.  One thing I should note, we never felt that we were customers, we felt that we were part of the family, and they were giving us a tour of their beautiful home.

The tasting was a food/wine pairing.  We began with a Southwest Chicken Salad on a Sweet Red Apple Slice paired with their 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay “Amalia”.  The Cardonnay is cold fermented underground (in the ladies room – I might add- yes there is a story behind that) and aged sur-lies for 7 months in French Oak.

Now we moved onto the reds which began with the 2006 Palmaz Vineyards  Cabernet Sauvignon which is 100% Cab paired with Smoked Magret Duck Breast Wrapped Creme Cheese, Fig Preserves and Chives. A magnum of this was purchased for the wedding on Sunday.

Then paired with an assortment of Artisan Cheeses and a Dark Chocolate Cabernet Truffle we tasted the 2005 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. This Cab was blended with 3% Cabernet Franc. You could taste the spice of the Cab Franc on the finish.

We ended the pairing with a Shortbread Cookie with Goat Cheese, Mango and Marcona Almonds with a 2009 Napa Valley Muscat Cannelli “Florencia.”

If you are traveling to the Napa area you must set up an appointment with the Palmaz family.  You will not be disappointed!