Fifth-generation Napa natives, Maggy and John Kongsgaard began their endeavor in the 1970s planting The Judge vineyard on their family land near Napa. The inaugural Kongsgaard wines came in 1996. Now, Kongsgaard produces The Judge, Chardonnay, VioRous, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in their underground winery—a cave dug into the volcanic rock, high on the eastern rim of the Napa Valley where they have planted a spectacular mountain vineyard. These intensely farmed, shy-bearing vineyards and Kongsgaard’s traditional low-intervention winemaking produce powerful, graceful wines—vivid expressions of vineyard and variety. Production is limited to what Maggy and John, with their son Alex, can make with their own hands.
The property is 150 acres of which most is still is in its natural state – rugged and often steep hillsides. Only five acres are currently planted – to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and Roussane.
The Red Aiken loam soils on the property are unique as these are the southernmost extension of the red rocky iron-rich volcanic soils that make up the ground in the hills above the eastern part of Oakville and Pritchard Hill. It is unusual to see huge red-stained boulders lining the vineyards in this part of Atlas Peak – this is more akin to what we’ve seen on Pritchard Hill further to the north. Directly to the south of Kongsgaard’s property, the hills drop in elevation dramatically and the soils in contrast at the lower elevations are fairly white, composed of a volcanic ash-like material called tufa.
Cru Classe, White
United States, Napa, North Coast