When asked how he unwinds, the flour + water GM, Essam Kardosh can think of few things better than hitting the road and exploring some of the best wineries in the country. A dedicated oenophile, Essam oversees the wine list at flour + water, and was happy to share some tips on a few of his favorite spots in Napa Valley.
Enjoy a scenic drive through wine country as you make your way to Rutherford. Owned and operated by Nils Venge, Saddleback Cellars was established in 1982. Known as the King of Cabernet, Nils has been making some of the finest cabernets in the region for over 30 years. In partnership with Dennis Groth, the 1985 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon was given 100 points, the perfect score by Robert Parker, Jr. This was the first time a Californian wine had ever received a perfect score.
Essam enjoys Cabernet Sauvignons from Saddleback Cellars as they show a lot of character, while reflecting the best qualities Napa has to offer with a distinctly Californian taste.
Honig Vineyard & Winery
A very short distance from Saddleback Cellars is Honig Vineyard & Winery. It’s a great place to stop at the end of your trip to Napa as the outdoor seating area is one of the most enjoyable places to round off your day with a fine sauvignon blanc and a selection of cheese, bread and salumi packed from salumeria as a picnic. The 64 acre ranch in the heart of Rutherford was purchased by Louis Honig in 1964 and has remained a family owned and run business since then. By the late 1980s, Honig Sauvignon Blanc was found in most fine restaurants in California and the success spurred the production of small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Founded in 1862, the Schramsberg Vineyards are one of the oldest wineries in Sonoma. The Schramsberg estate is tucked away in a very quiet patch of Calistoga, surrounded by beautiful redwoods and lush greenery. Once you arrive, you step into a different world that couldn’t be further away from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco.
The Schramsberg estate is tucked into the densely forested slopes of Diamond Mountain, a few miles south of the town of Calistoga, and is home to the oldest hillside vineyards in Napa. It totals 218 acres with 43 acres planted to vines.
Schramsberg has also played a role in world history. The Blanc de Blancs was used for President Nixon’s 1972 “Toast to Peace” with China’s Premier Zhou Enlai. Schramsberg’s sparkling wines have been served at official State functions by every U.S. Presidential administration since.