“There are three tastes in every glass of wine. The taste of terroir—the place, the footsteps of the farmer, everything that goes into it. The taste of the varietal. And, the most important thing, the taste of the spirit of the company around the glass.”
- Julie Johnson, Owner & Winemaker
Tres Sabores is a small winery and farm in Rutherford at the heart of Napa Valley. Owner and Winemaker Julie Johnson got into wine through ‘love and osmosis,’ having moved to Napa Valley to co-founded Frog’s Leap Winery in 1981 with her then husband. In 1987, Julie and John purchased the Rutherford property that would later become Tres Sabores. All of the property’s grapes went to Frog’s Leap until 1999, when Julie felt inspired to see what the fruit could do on it’s own—outside of a blend. She explains, “I came up with this crazy idea to hire three winemakers, Rudy Zuidema, Ken Bernards and Karen Culler. Then I divided the Zinfandel part of the vineyard into three parcels and gave each of them carte blanche to go ahead and make their own cuvée. The idea was to see what the true taste of this vineyard’s terroir was.”
In 2001, Julie began making wine herself (as part of the trio of Zinfandels), by 2003 the three ‘cuvees’ were combined to a produce a single estate Zinfandel and by 2005 Tres Sabores had a full portfolio of wines and Julie was making them all—and loving it.
Julie’s philosophy both in the vineyard and the winery is rooted in respect for both the environment and health, “I take personal responsibility for the question, ‘Where does our food come from? That includes wine.” The Tres Sabores vineyard was one of the first in Napa to become certified organic, in 1990, but beyond ‘organic’ Julie believes in cultivating biodiversity that reduces farming inputs.
The Tres Sabores dry-farmed estate is a thriving ecosystem with olive and walnut trees, pomegranates, lemons, roses, buckwheat and other peripheral plantings, all intended to draw in beneficial insects and native critters. Julie also raises guinea hen and sheep, who help with composting, and a family of golden retrievers who greet visitors. Like a pastoral retreat in the heart of Napa, you can’t help feeling a world away when you visit Tres Sabores, and drinking Julie’s wine, you won’t want you leave.
Classic aromas of blackberry and black pepper are joined by dark chocolate, vanilla, and herbs. With a sumptuous texture, this is a well-balanced Zin from ‘Cabernet country.’
Bursting with flavors of blackberry, boysenberry, cherry and plum, this intriguing blend also displays earthiness, a dash of pepper and has a smooth, approachable texture.
With aromas and flavors of white nectarine, guava, citrus and a hint of sage and minerality, this wine is refreshingly crisp and complex.