Whitehall Lane is a 62-acre estate in Rutherford, Napa Valley. It was founded in 1979 by two entrepreneurs, who later sold it to a Japanese businessman. In 1993 it was purchased by Tom Leonardini Sr., a San Francisco wine retailer. The Leonardini family upgraded the estate and it is today run by Tom and his adult children. Whitehall produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and dessert wines.
Carneros AVA, also known as Los Carneros, is at the southern end of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys at the top of the San Francisco Bay. The 8,000 vineyard acres are mostly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both of which thrive in the district’s cool, marine climate. Carneros became an AVA in 1983 and it has attracted foreign wine companies along with local producers. It has been especially appealing to European producers of sparkling wines including the giant Spanish cava producers Codorniu and Frexinet, and the French Champagne house Taittinger. Codorniu in Carneros is called Artesa, and Frexinet’s Carneros brand is Gloria Ferrer. Taittinger calls its Carneros winery Domaine Carneros. The European producers also make still wines in Carneros.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.