Goosecross Cellars: Transformation of a classic

Goosecross Winery is one that has along history in Napa Valley, beginning in the 1970s as grape growers and evolving in the 1980s as winemakers.

Today, a new Goosecross has emerged, carrying on the tradition in a modern style.  In 2013, the winery was purchased by Christi Coors Ficeli, who, ironically, comes from a beer family.  (Yes, that Coors.)

Goosecross Napa Valley

Thoughtfully paired lunch!

On a particularly magical fall day, I was invited to experience the new face of the winery.  Driven to making wines with a sense of place and style, the current winemaker, Bill Nancarrow, honed his skills at both Paraduxx and Duckhorn before spreading his wings.  From a Duck to a Goose, Nancarrow specializes in Bordeaux style wines, with a smattering of other offerings.

The evolution of the style of wine at Goosecross was a slow one.  It’s history is long, and before the change in ownership, it was a bit of an odd duck, with a rustic barn, hidden treasures, and decaying reputation.

Trying to avoid a revolution, but rather encourage evolution, much of the original equipment (and the juice contained in it) was transitioned to Ficeli in 2013.  Even with a slow change, some things have been revolutionary; the best example is the use of concrete eggs to make Riesling.

Being creative with the concrete and stainless steel, Nancarrow has created something unique, and unlikely to be found outside of these four walls.  We were fortunate enough Goosecross estate vineyardto taste two versions of this wine in tank, as well as the not quite final blend.  From 46 year old Riesling vines, which are completely dry farmed, and fermented with native yeast, a concrete egg and a stainless steel version were crafted as base components for the the finished wine.  I can’t wait to try it in bottle!

As we sat down to lunch, we were greeted by the 2013 Chardonnay.  With no malolactic fermentation, this is a rare treat.  Procured from the Curato Vineyard in Carneros, this floral and citrus driven wine had touches of apricots and honey. The lack of battonage played nicely against the 40% French Oak, to add caramel and texture.

 

Next the 2011 State Lane Merlot, which is Estate Grown.  Even in a difficult year, this Merlot is everything I love about the varietal, and none of the sad, woody, bitter Merlot that made me run from it so many years ago.  Gorgeous rich banking spices, cracked peppercorn, and a hint of cigar box match the lean body with blue and black berries, plums, and leather.  The cooler influence of the vintage kept this wine lively, and only 30% French Oak barrels kept the wood from being too pronounced.

 

Lastly, (not entirely, but lastly with lunch) the 2011 State Lane Cabernet Sauvignon.  With an enticing chili pepper spice note, the full aroma encompassed my senses with wood smoke, blackberry, and ripe red currents.  The hint of mineral on the finish was a clean refreshing sensation in a very enjoyable wine.

 

Goosecross Cabernet FrancFinally, as we enjoyed the newly built deck behind the tasting room, we were able to enjoy the 2012 Cabernet Franc.  One of my favorite varietals, I am always excited to try a new one.  This did not disappoint!  Rose petals, raspberries, and white pepper floated out of the glass, while dark cherries, dried lavender, and chocolate coated my mouth with a burst of happiness.

 

Goosecross Napa Valley is located in Yountville, about 10 minutes north of Napa.  Hidden away on a side road just off of Yountville Crossroad, you might miss it, but this is a destination worth seeking.  Open from 10-4:30 daily, it’s a well worth a detour.
A special thank you to everyone at Goosecross for a wonderful experience, and to Lisa Klink-Shea from Creative Marketing for hosting!

3 comments

  • Allan London

    Being a party that was very close to the founding and operations of Goosecross Cellars from 1983 through 2015, this article continues to prove that bloggers are not journalists and lack the professionalism of "fact checks" before publishing.

    In well documented fact, Goosecross grew in case production, club membership, sales, and profitability since 1995. In fact, the value of the "reputation" of the winery and powerful loyalty of its customer base led to the highly profitable sale of the winery for more than double the industry standard at the time (more than 20 times EBITDA — the average being 12 times).

    Why fabrications or "spins" need to be told such as this will remain a mystery for posterity. Those that worked 7 day weeks and 12+ hour days to make Goosecross great for over 30 years deserve the dignity and courtesy of fact checks.

    • winebratsf

      Allan,

      Perhaps you should read the articles before you reply. In no way did I comment on the previous in carnation or disparage the former ownership – or staff. Furthermore, the facts in evidence, were posed by the new ownership, and were editorial opinions based on a personal experience.
      Writers of all kinds, whether they be bloggers or journalists, deserve as much respect and dignity as you do for your service to the winery.

      I have nothing but respect for a winery that can be prosperous for over 25 years; however, equal respect is due to the new owners who are working hard to put their stamp on the business.

  • Bob Rydell

    " It’s history is long, and before the change in ownership, it was a bit of an odd duck, with a rustic barn, hidden treasures, and decaying reputation." …….all of the wines mentioned here (positively) are from the pre-Ficeli era… the era of supposed decaying reputation.

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