AWG Correspondent

Elizabeth Smith

Ackerman Family Vineyards Photos

Ackerman Family Vineyards Review

Regions: Napa Valley AVA, Coombsville AVA, California

Reviewed: February 8, 2017 by Elizabeth Smith
Published: August 17, 2017

I am sure that during my commutes around the city of Napa, I have passed the Ackerman Heritage House at 608 Randolph Street before. However, on this rainy February day, nothing was more inviting as my co-workers and I entered by way of a back door, thanks to Kristie, our host and brand marketing manager at Ackerman Family Vineyards. Our immediate reaction was amazement at the lovely welcome sign and warm and inviting kitchen. Over the course of five years, from 2010 to 2015, Lauren Ackerman breathed new life into this house with her estimated $2 million in renovations, restoring it to its circa 1888 Queen Anne Victorian roots.

The tour and tasting at Ackerman Family Vineyards for guests actually begins at the front door of the Ackerman Heritage House and ends in The Aviary, which has also been restored. The tour of the house, accompanied by a glass of 2015 Lloyd Cellars Prescription Chardonnay, Clarksburg (unoaked, $20 per bottle), is nothing short of amazing, with stunning décor and furniture that is true to the late 19th century down to the smallest of details. I was particularly fascinated with the upstairs bedrooms, bathrooms, even a chandelier. We had not even begun the tasting and I was already smitten.

We descended the stairs, walked outside, and into The Aviary for the Aviary Tasting ($65 per person), which begins with the aforementioned tour and concludes with the tasting of three red wines, including one under the Lloyd Cellars label. Ackerman’s winemaker is Rob Lloyd, formerly of Rombauer, who makes wines for his own label, Lloyd Cellars, as well as Ackerman. The cabernet sauvignon for the Ackerman family of wines come from the Ackerman estate, 11 acres planted, in the Coombsville AVA, the appellation’s first California Certified Organic Farm (CCOF) since 2009. They also source some sangiovese from vineyards owned by Benessere in the Saint Helena AVA.

The Aviary tasting began with the 2013 Lloyd Cellars Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($50), which is included to satisfy those guests who may prefer pinot noir to cabernet sauvignon. If you’ve never had wine from the Santa Rita Hills AVA of Santa Barbara County, you may be surprised by the depth and intensity of the aromatics, fruit, and spice of this wine.

The second wine we tasted was the 2013 Alavigna Tosca ($50), a distinctive blend of 60% estate cabernet sauvignon and 40% Benessere sangiovese. This was the most interesting wine of the tasting. While cabernet sauvignon dominant, it is the sangiovese in the blend that rises to the top of my nose and palate, with its prevalent rusticity, earthiness, and bright red berry flavors. However, the cabernet sauvignon provides a contrasting, supportive foundation of dark fruit and tannins.

The final wine of the tasting was the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Ackermans’ Coombsville AVA estate. A 100% cabernet sauvignon from their Stonehaven Vineyard, it is organically farmed, spends two years aging in 100% French oak, and then another two years in the bottle prior to release. The aromas and flavors are well integrated after extended bottle time making this wine ready to drink upon release and for years to come. It is a dark wine both in color and on the palate, displaying an elegant and refined interplay of black fruits, spice, and cocoa, a befitting conclusion to this elevated tasting experience at the gorgeous and historic Ackerman Heritage House.

Address & Contact Information: 608 Randolph Street Napa, California 94559. Telephone: 866-334-8857, email:, website: Tasting Hours: By appt. 10:00-4:00.

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