St. Supéry

St. Supéry

We read in Wine Spectator recently that the family that founded the St. Supéry winery is selling it to the Chanel company.  Chanel is best known for perfume, of course, but it already has winery holdings in France.  We can only hope that the new owners continue the excellent tasting experience in the winery’s St. Helena location.

As you pull onto the property from Napa valley’s Route 29 you see a large white clapboard house on your right.  It’s called the Atkinson House.  St. Supéry has restored the house, both inside and out, and it is open to the public by appointment.  It features a living museum of a late 1800 vintner’s life.  This historic old home is an archetype of what anyone would expect a prosperous St. Helena farmer to live in…a century ago.

The Atkinson House belies the handsome building that contains the tasting room.  The main tasting room itself is modern and airy with windows that overlook the vineyard.  They also have a lot of merchandise for sale.


The Atkinson House at St. Supéry  (photograph courtesy of St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery)

Most of the time, we recommend that visitors just belly up to the bar to get an overall sense of what a winery produces.  This is certainly true at St. Supéry, where the tasting room is capacious enough even to accommodate weekend crowds.

As we have written elsewhere, there are some good reasons to take special seated tastings.  [See By Appointment Only]  At St. Supéry, the special tastings are well worth considering.  They have several, including a wine and cheese pairing and a class that they call Aromatherapy with a Corkscrew, which we haven’t tried.  We did take and highly recommend their Vineyard to Glass tour.  An experienced sommelier hands you a glass of wine and then escorts you outside to walk through the vineyards.  St. Supéry places great emphasis on terroir, and when you can see the ground and the vines where the wine you are tasting comes from, you really understand the inherent relationship among dirt, sky, water and wine.  If you go, don’t miss the exhibit of the different soils in their vineyards.

The tasting room employees we have encountered were welcoming and knowledgeable at St. Supéry.   In addition to the people, the architecture reinforces the pleasure of a tasting.  The gallery on the upper floor is usually worth a look, as well.

In the past we have bought St. Supéry’s Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  We especially enjoy their Bordeaux blend, which they call Elu or “the Elect” in French.  Elu should definitely be included in any tasting.  Make sure to see the bottle, because the label is especially attractive.

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