2002 Kelham Vineyards Merlot – The 5-year wait is over!!


 “There might be a little dust on the bottle…….just one of them thangs that gets sweeter with time”…

Five long years ago after only a few months of dating, I dragged my slightly-reformed Corona and Crown-loving hippy boyfriend to the rolling hills of the most gorgeous place in the United States, if not the world known as The Napa Valley to drink lots and lots of wine!!!! I have been to Disney, Hawaii, the Carribean and many other lovely places, but nothing, I mean nothing compares to the wonders of what Napa holds.  A co-worker had just gotten married in Napa earlier that year and had lots of suggestions of wineries and vineyards to visit.  The best way to visit Napa is to consult all your friends who have been there and get suggestions on where to go.  Of course, we all love and appreciate the Big Guys, but some of the best wines that you will ever drink come from vineyards that you may never see outside of Napa.   A lot of the smaller boutique wineries require appointments for their tastings, but you get the awesome experience of getting to meet the families that pour their life literally into their wine.  One of those amazing little vineyards was Kelham Vineyards.  It was our very first stop in Napa when we arrived.  We got to sit in the living room of their family home and share our tasting with the son of the proprietors.  The 2002 Merlot from Kelham Vineyards was the first bottle we tried and he told us we needed to wait at least 5 years to open our bottle for it to achieve maximum greatness.  Well, this year marked the 5-year anniversary of our trip and Drew and I decided we were going to open it and enjoy it on Christmas Eve.   Oh, how it was so worth the wait!!!  The wine was phenomenal.  I know you know that I love my Napa Cab and as the reviews on Cellar Tracker confirm, this wine was kind of like a “Cabernet in Merlot’s Clothing”.   I would agree with the other reviews that it deserves 90  points.



10-years in the making made for one of the smoothest wines I have ever had.



We always keep the corks from our nice bottles and date them.



Time to pour this beautiful vino!!



We put a Ninja Turtle movie on for Bear, lit the fire, turned on Family Stone and enjoyed our evening with our bottle of wine and some snuggling on the couch.



Cheers to 5 years, my love!!! I can’t wait to visit Napa again and add more memories to our wine rack.  (sorry about the lipstick stains on the glass)




We visited Napa in December which is generally their rainy season, but we had excellent weather.  While we didn’t get to experience the beauty of the grapes on the vine, we were lucky enough to enjoy the miles and miles of Mustard that grows as a cover crop during the winter months.





At the gates of Kelham Vineyards on our way in for the private tasting.  The grounds at Kelham are spectacular!!!!  It is situated at the base of the Maycamas Mountain Range.



I got this shot of a bunch of grapes still left on the vine after the harvest.  I still don’t know what I’m doing most of the time with my photography, but I definitely didn’t then and happened to luck into a cool shot.  Everyone got prints of this pic for Christmas that year.



We look like such babies!!! Hard to believe it’s been 5 years.

Other Vineyards we visited and highly recommend:

Storybook Mountain – This was our absolute favorite and we tell everyone we know that visits that is an absolute MUST!!! It is so romantic and majestical!  That bottle of wine didn’t make it a month after we got back, but we have since received 2 more bottles from friends who visited and can’t wait to break one open.


Schramsberg Sparkling Wines – Located in Calistoga, it is home to the oldest hillside vineyards in Napa.  The caves are unbelievable and after learning of the sparkling wine making process, I will never take a bottle of bubbly for granted and therefore feel compelled to consume it quite often to show my appreciation.


Elizabeth Spencer Wines – This was one of the coolest spots we hit.  Elizabeth Spencer sources grapes from several vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma to make their wine.  The tasting room is in the old Rutherford Post Office building that dates back to 1872.


Jessup Cellars – This tasting room was located in the coveted town of Yountville home to Napa’s finest restaurants.  Jessup creates small production, handcrafted wine that is TO DIE FOR!!!!  Our 2004 Table for Four didn’t make it past Christmas that year.

Pina Napa Valley – This is located along the Silverado Trail and the family is rich in Napa’s history dating back to 1856.

Merryvale – This was our last stop while in Napa.  The tasting room feels like you are at a cozy oak bar.  Their building was the first winery built in Napa after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.  The Merryvale Starmont Cab is one of my favorite go-to wines and we currently have a bottle of ‘Profile Napa’ Valley on the wine rack in rotation to drink in a few years.

Oakville Grocery – This is obviously NOT a winery, but it is one of the most necessary stops while visiting Napa.  After a full day of tastings, this is the place to stop and grab some gourmet sandwiches and cheeses and bottles to sample from all the local vineyards.  We picked up a bottle of  the now wildly popular Plungerhead Zinfandel, but at the time had not made it’s debut east of the Mississippi and we held onto the bottle in hopes of one day finding it again.  Thanks to Oakville Grocery, we are now lifelong fans of the amazing Saddleback Cellars wines by Napa’s “King of Cabernet” Nils Venge.


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