I’m excited to share a fresh notion in wine tasting encounters: Trinitas Cellars at Meritage Resort.
To locate Trinitas Cellars, head south of central to the Napa Corporate Park office buildings. One can’t help but feel she’s taken a wrong turn because there are no vineyards in sight. But then this is not about the vineyards, it’s about what comes from the vineyards.
This area has been established as the “Crusher Wine District” as it sits near the grape crusher statue at the entrance to the valley. This group includes up-and-coming, urban and current vintners.
When you arrive at the Meritage Resort, walk through the lobby, back outside past the pool and bocce court. There, separately tucked into the vineyard-covered hillside are the tasting room, caves and spa. This tasting room area is open until 7 p.m.
You can also go up a notch and book a reserve tasting in the library, located just a couple of streets away. A golf cart shuttled us to this building, which seemed to be just an office complex but was a surprisingly understated yet interesting reception area. We were escorted into the library with a gorgeous expansive table that could comfortably seat 14 guests. Yet, with only three of us at one end of the table, the room still felt intimate.
There are multiple tasting profiles to select from in either venue.
The tasting experience in the library is wonderfully personal. You’ll feel like you’re visiting a boutique winery, even though there are approximately 25 wines in their 20,000-case repertoire.
Warm, genuine, creative, with a quick and clever sense of humor, Garrett Busch is the proprietor and CEO of Trinitas. His family owns the Meritage group of luxury hotels.
What did I like? Every one of the wines I tasted (no, not all 25).
Prices range from $20 for 2013 rose to $135 for 2007 Amarone Reserva imported from their partner property in Valpolicella, Italy. There are Bordeaux-style blends, reds and whites, zinfandels, mantaro and petite sirah from Contra Costa, pinots from the Carneros, chardonnays from Napa Valley, dessert wines and red blends.
I like the fact that tastings range from $20 for five wines to $55 tasting limited release wines with artisan cheeses. Private and reserve tastings can be customized when booked in advance allowing guests to enjoy the specific varietal of wine on their wish list.
I particularly like it when things are uncommon. This was the case with their 2010 sauvignon blanc. Still bright and full of character with a subtle tropical hint and nicely balanced acid.
I could not put my finger on what was so interestingly uncommon about this wine — perhaps it was Russian oak barrels. These are rare and Trinitas uses them in creating some of their white varietals. What’s the difference between Russian and French oaks? It’s the tighter grain of the wood from Russian oak, due to the much colder temperatures of the region.
Their “Mysteriama” blend is just that, a mystery because it changes with each harvest. This is a vibrant, fun and just darn good wine.
The 2013 Estate Meritage offers great longevity and the subtle mocha style finish is gorgeous.
My finale was the Amarone, the most elegant and delicate big giant wine my lips have touched in a long while. It’s a “wow” on my personal list.
The Busch family approach on sourcing fruit is also to my liking. Rather than select fruit that might require manipulating the wine for end results, they focus on finding the right vineyards that work for them. In doing so they cull fruit from Napa, the Carneros, Contra Costa, Mendocino, El Dorado, Rutherford, Knights Valley, Oak Knoll, Yountville and Coombsville.
Trinitas was founded by Garrett’s parents, Tim and Steph Busch. A number of years ago Tim became a member of the Papal Foundation. A private visit with the pope can not only be a personal spiritual gift, but calls for a gift to be given to the Holy Father. Typically, this is a special Bible or rosary. In 2012 Tim created a cabernet franc as a gift for the first pope from the Americas.
The first bottle of “Cabernet Francis” was given to the pope, who shared it over lunch. After lunch Tim received a call from the pope’s office offering a “grazie” and a request, “the pope would like more please.” I understand the pope’s enthusiasm: This wine was jammy and chewy.
The “Faith Collection” also includes “RatZINger” Zinfandel and Revelation, a port-style dessert wine, among others.
Garrett and his wife, Betsy, are co-proprietors of Trinitas. Both are proud graduates of Notre Dame. Trinitas Cellars takes pride in being the founding members of the Notre Dame Wine Academy, a program highlighting many wonderful wines being produced by Notre Dame families.
Wine is meant to be fun, and it’s easy to see that the Busch family has fun, while making seriously good wines. Winemaker Kevin Mills came aboard in 2007.
Trinitas is Latin for trinity. Good things happen in three’s here. The big three for selection of vineyards is sun, soil and humanity. To complete the trifecta, Betsy gave birth to the “Trinitots,” Remington, Reagan and Jameson Busch. Their due date was March 3.
Trinitas Cellars is at 875 Bordeaux Lane, Napa. Info, TrinitasCellars.com.