One of Napa Valley’s first Cabernet Sauvignon houses, Freemark Abbey's legacy dates to 1886, when Josephine Tychson, Califorina's first female vintner, established the region's 16th bonded winery. The hand-built stone winery is celebrated today for crafting classically structured Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from pedigreed sites in the Rutherford AVA, including the Bosché and Sycamore vineyards. With the foresight to cellar wines for aging, the winery has one of the region’s most extensive wine libraries. Fun fact: Freemark Abbey was one of 12 American wineries selected to participate in the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting – the only winery with both a red and white wine chosen to compete.
Renowned Rutherford Dust
The Rutherford AVA, nestled within the Napa Valley AVA, is considered one of the world's finest winegrowing regions. Warm sunshine and morning fog allow the grapes to ripen slowly while preserving their acidity. The great winemaker André Tchelistcheff coined the term “Rutherford dust” to describe the fine, dusty tannins found in red wines from here.
Within the Rutherford AVA, Freemark Abbey’s Sycamore and Bosché vineyards lie atop the coveted Rutherford Bench. The Bosché Vineyard’s deep, gravelly soils strike the perfect balance between water retention and drainage for the grapes. A seasonal creek raises the water table in spring, providing water and nutrients for new growth. The water table drops later, stressing the vines and intensifying dark cherry, black currant, cinnamon, cedar and clove flavors in the wines. The Sycamore Vineyard abuts the Maycamas Range and has rich clay loam soils. Wines sourced from here exude black currant, dark chocolate truffle, mushroom and forest floor aromas and express sweet black cherry on the palate. Cabernet Sauvignon wines produced from these two vineyards can be cellared up to 30 years.
A Continuity of Excellence in Winemaking
In 2020, after a 40-year esteemed career as head winemaker at Freemark Abbey, Ted Edwards chose to take on an Emeritus role, handpicking Kristy Melton to succeed him as head winemaker. Kristy, who held prior winemaking roles at Clos du Val, Bootleg, Kendall-Jackson and Saintsbury, has earned a reputation for crafting wines with structure, finesse and age-worthiness. Named by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as a “Top 40 under 40 Taste-makers” and by The Drinks Business as a “Top 30 under 40 Winemakers to Watch,” Kristy displays a palpable passion for her craft. She says that every day, when she passes by the photo of Freemark Abbey’s founder, Josephine Tychson, she vows to do her best. We’d say she’s surpassing that promise.