Trefethen

Heart of the Family. Soul of the Estate. 

A family-owned producer of distinguished estate wines for over 50 years, Trefethen Family Vineyards has always been guided by a unique dedication to sustainable farming, thoughtful winemaking and gracious hospitality. The majority of Trefethen’s nearly 600 acres are found on the Main Ranch Vineyard, located in Oak Knoll – about midway between Yountville and Napa – a cooler district in the southern half of the Napa Valley. The other property is the Hillspring Vineyard, on the low foothills of the mountains just to west of Oak Knoll. Trefethen produces mainly Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Riesling. However, it farms a total of nine grape varieties, the others being Malbec, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and Pinot Noir. (The other varieties are either used for blending, released in special bottlings or sold to other wineries).  

Eugene Trefethen, an engineering company executive, purchased the historic, but run-down property in 1968 as a post-retirement hobby. When his son, John, suggested replanting the vineyards and founding an estate winery, the idea was considered foolhardy at best. Back then, the Napa Valley was an isolated community with more prune and walnut orchards than vineyards, and only 20 wineries were in existence. But the estate happened to feature a standing winery building from an earlier era, which added credence to the idea that wine would be both history and future. As it turned out, John and his wife, Janet, caught the new Napa winemaking wave, and their energy propelled Trefethen Family Vineyards into becoming one of the top new wineries of the 1970s. Indeed, in 1979 the 1976 Trefethen Chardonnay was declared “The Best Chardonnay in the World” at the Gault Millau Wine Olympics held in Paris.

Since the mid-2000s, the third generation of Trefethens, John and Janet’s children, Hailey and Lorenzo, have taken charge. 50 years has given this family an intimate understanding of their vineyards, from the soils and microclimates of the various blocks to the varietals, the clones and the rootstock. With this knowledge, they can continue to create new blends and reserve wines made from superior blocks of the very best vines and build on a legacy of estate grown wines of remarkable quality and integrity. 

Wine Maker

Bryan Kays

Country

USA

Region

California


Photo Gallery



Wines from this Winery


TREFETHEN

Eshcol Chardonnay is as lovely as Trefethen’s signature Chardonnay but available at a lower price. But Eshcol is no typical second label. It’s a 100% Napa Valley wine, sourced entirely from Trefethen’s Main Ranch - the same vineyards that produce the grand vin. The difference between Eshcol and Trefethen Estate Chardonnay is that it is produced from younger vineyard blocks, fermented in stainless steel (as opposed to barrels), and aged in neutral rather than new oak barrels. This is a fresh, well-balanced wine that emphasizes fresh green apple and citrus flavors with only a minimum of toasty, vanilla oak notes. 

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¥4,290 (incl. tax)
TREFETHEN Dry Riesling Estate Napa Valley

Acclaimed for decades as among the best in California, Trefethen’s dry Rieslings evoke the structured, minerally Rieslings of Austria and win awards for being so fresh, fruity, tangy, and pleasurable. Sadly, it comes from one of the last Riesling vineyards in the Napa Valley. But is there a more food-friendly wine? One that’s able to complement Japanese, South, and Southeast Asian cuisine, as well as all manner of salads, seafood, chicken, pork, vegetarian, raw, grilled, or creamy dishes? Indeed, you would be surprised to see how it holds up to steak! Whether with a meal or as an energizing aperitif, this bright, zingy, and mouthwatering wine will cleanse the palate and liven the spirits. 

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¥5,060 (incl. tax)
TREFETHEN Chardonnay Estate Napa Valley
TREFETHEN
TREFETHEN Merlot Estate Napa Valley

Trefethen's estate at Oak Knoll is an ideal terroir for Merlot due to its moderate climate, alluvial soils, cooler nights, and long growing season. With over 50 years of experience, the Trefethens produce a poised and elegant Merlot that is layered and complex. The 2019 growing season featured a wet winter followed by a challenging growing season that alternated between warmer and cooler days. But the grapes were harvested in mid-October after a warm and sunny September. Made with 11% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec, this Merlot delights with a nose of ripe raspberry, cherry, and plum as well as flavors of black cherry, boysenberry, and a long, juicy finish. It pairs well with Italian cuisine and savory dishes with roasted mushrooms. Decanter scored it 90 points, noting its charming fruit, vanilla, toast, and cocoa with refreshing acidity.

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¥8,140 (incl. tax)
TREFETHEN Cabernet Franc Estate Napa Valley

Even though Cabernet Franc features in Cheval Blanc, the Premier Grand Cru Classé from St. Emilion, most people know it as one of the components of the Bordeaux blend - if they know it at all. Outside of the Loire region of France, it is rarely bottled as a varietal wine. However, this early-ripener thrives in the cool climate of the Oak Knoll District. Because their Cab Franc produces a wine with exceptional structure, delicious red fruit, and enticing earthiness, Trefethen believes it deserves top billing. If you are looking for an elegant and versatile red with somewhat lower alcohol (13.5%) than the typical Napa Cab, then give this a try. For food, think dry cheeses, lean or cured meats, and earthy veggies like squash, mushrooms, and onions. 

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¥9,460 (incl. tax)
TREFETHEN

The 2020 Dragon’s Tooth is an intense blend of 53% Malbec 34% Cabernet Sauvignon 8% Merlot 5% Petit Verdot, sourced entirely from the winery’s estate in the Oak Knoll District. Like many Napa wineries, Trefethen has long added a dash of Malbec to their Bordeaux-inspired reds. But after noticing how fine their barrels of Malbec tasted year after year, they decided to showcase the variety in more of a leading role. The blend is named “Dragon’s Tooth” because of the obsidian shards, black volcanic glass, that lie scattered like dragons' teeth amongst the rows of Malbec vines. About the 2020, Jeb Dunnuck noted, “It has more blue fruits, some leafy herb, graphite, and mineral notes, medium body, good overall freshness and purity, and a lengthy finish. It displays the vibrant, pure, fresher style of the vintage while staying concentrated and balanced.”

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¥10,560 (incl. tax)
TREFETHEN Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Napa Valley

The elegance of Trefethen’s Estate Cabs is an expression of the terroir at Oak Knoll, where summers are distinctly cooler than “up valley.” On the other hand, the gravelly soils in this section of vineyard radiate warmth throughout the nights, producing a wine with lovely dark berry fruit, spice and savory notes, firm tannins, acidity, and structure. Lower alcohol than your typical Napa Cab makes this wine less about luxury than accompanying a fine meal shared by family and friends. The 2019 is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 2% and Merlot. Wine Enthusiast described it as “Varietally correct and classic in style… a dry, elegant and demure red, brimming in well-integrated notes of currant, clove, and dusty dark chocolate. Blueberry compote adds a touch of richness to an otherwise balanced affair.” Serve with beef - especially dishes made with mushrooms, fresh thyme, or black pepper.

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¥11,440 (incl. tax)
TREFETHEN

A rich, structured, and elegant wine with power, balance, and beauty, HaLo – Trefethen’s flagship – is named for the family’s third generation, Hailey and Loren. This estate Cabernet Sauvignon is produced entirely from the estate’s Hillspring Vineyard, where Cabernet vines grow on gentle slopes, rocky soils, and slightly warmer conditions than those at the winery at Oak Knoll. Deep, rich, complex, and multi-layered, the wine is known for earthy flavors and aromas that hint at the oak forest surrounding the vineyard. About 2018 HaLo, the winery writes, “Our most rare and beloved Cabernet Sauvignon is smooth and fresh. Aromas of ripe raspberry with notes of pepper, bay leaf, and a touch of sasparilla. On the palate, this is a dark, dense wine, with layers of plum and raspberry, and notes of baking spices and tobacco. The finish is sustained and powerful.” The Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine calls 2018 HaLo “an altogether delicious, show-stopping glassful even now despite being structured to age for a very long time, but those succumbing to its early charms would be wise to hide a bottle or two away lest they miss the added pleasures that only time can bring. The structure and tannins suggest that HaLo is a wine to put down for future celebrations, so be sure to decant when drinking young. Beef and lamb dishes would go well with HaLo, especially when enhanced with thyme and mushrooms. 

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¥49,500 (incl. tax)