Congratulations to Brendel Wines on their new tasting room in Downtown Napa!
The 1st Street location is a prime spot in town, directly across the street from The Archer, the most prominent luxury hotel in town. Brendel won’t have to work hard to compete with other tasting rooms farther down the block, as they are the perfect first stop of the day or the last stop of the evening.
The shopfront and the interior have a black-and-white color palette with splashes of neon pink from either backlit bottles of rose or neon signs boasting fun mantras.
The main tasting room has an open floor plan with the bar along the wall and a large communal seating area in the middle. There is a second, more private area in the next room and a tiny, closet-sized private salon adjoining. This little room was my favorite element. The eclectic decor and seating arrangement with two plush chairs and one swivel chair reminded me of a vintage soothsayer’s salon. A great place to take a group of friends for a good glass of wine and deep conversation.
The grand opening party was quite enjoyable. We were greeted with a splash of frizzante rose in a souvenir GoVino. DJ Luigi (of the Mario Bros.) pumped jams while the Statue of Liberty served deviled eggs. In line with the Halloween theme, Edward Scissorhands played on the back wall, and Psycho played in the second room. To quell the insanity of buzzed, hungry partygoers, there was a luxurious charcuterie board at the back of the main room and Los Agaves catered with their outstanding tacos and agua fresca.
Brendel Wines Tasting Notes
The experience was quite enjoyable, but how was the wine? Pretty good, actually. My mom contemplated buying a Cooper’s Reed Cabernet bottle. My favorite was the bubbly rose. I think I’m finally coming into my sparkling wine era as I sip French Champagne while writing this.
Frizzante Rose: Fairly light, lovely and fuzzy mouthfeel. Beautiful pink color that matched the neon on the wall. White nectarine, orange, lemon, honeycomb on the finish
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Not the typical Napa cab – leaner, less tannic and less jammy. Not really old-world either. Distinctly blueberry but balsamic on both the nose and palate. Cedar and smoke with an unusual minty characteristic. Not well balanced, flat and lacking structure with poor integration between oak and fruit flavors. “Reserve” is notoriously unreliable in the U.S. wine market, as the term is unregulated and could mean anything. I’ll hazard a guess that in this case, it means longer oak maturation hinted at by the oxidation (vinegar notes) and heavy oak flavors.
Cooper’s Reed Cabernet: According to the barkeep, “Cooper’s Reed” refers to the type of barrel it was matured in – a large format secured with reeds. Much better integration than the Reserve. Richer black fruit flavors, black currant, black plum, smoke, wet leaves, tobacco. Stronger structure with fuller body, more prominent tannins and higher acidity. Smooth, medium finish.