By Annie Sliman

When my husband Gary, and I arrived at Maroon Wines in August, we were incredibly surprised and pleased to see the vineyard gates are right next door to the Napa Valley Country Club. We like to golf as much as we like to taste wine. The Maroon Wines entry gates opened with a warm, welcoming feeling as we drove up and up the long drive. This winery is the perfect setting to relax, visit and taste some of Napa’s most delicious handcrafted wines.

Maroon BottlesPaul Maroon, the winery owner, greeted us with several bottles of wine in his arms. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon, just the three of us, sipping wine and relaxing in the middle of his charming, rustic courtyard. We tasted many of the Maroon Wines while we took in the view of the sprawling 35-plus acres of vineyards. This was by far the lengthiest and most personal tasting experience we have had in two years. We really got to know each other, which really enhanced our wine tasting experience.

The 2012 Maroon Pinot Noir has bright fruit aromas of strawberry and cherry, very nicely integrated with hints of vanilla oak. There are wonderful dried floral and cola tones on the nose as well. The palate is round with a medium body and moderate tannins framing the wine. The acidity is vibrant and lends the wine a freshness that nicely counterbalances the roundness of the palate. I rarely drink Pinot Noir, but Maroon’s Pinot is now in my collection. I have to say it won’t last for long.

_N8J2083My husband claims the Malbec is his favorite of the Maroon Wines. That speaks volumes for Maroon Wines, as this was their very first Malbec, according to Kelly Darter, who is the vineyard general manager. Originally a common blending grape and one of the five main Bordeaux wine varietals, Malbec is now known as the principal red grape of Argentina. It began appearing as a grape variety in its own right in the Napa Valley in the 1990s. The Malbec grape typically ripens midway through the growing season and produces small, intensely colored fruit. Maroon’s 2012 Malbec comes from 10-year-old vines, which are carefully farmed on the northeast slope of nearby Howell Mountain. The wine is big, dark and inky, with aromas of plums and dark, ripe berries. This is a rustic wine with powerful fruit. On the palate, the wine is rich and round, with a long, wonderful finish.

My favorite is the 2012 Maroon Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This Cab was harvested from Maroon’s home vineyard in the Coombsville District of Napa Valley. It is a little cooler in the southern end of the valley, and the winery uses this specific geography to ripen the grapes slowly and evenly. This wine is then aged in French oak barrels for 30 months. The resulting wine has the rich, alluring aromas of dark fruit and balanced oak. On the palate, it’s bold, showing dark fruit flavors, nicely balanced with rich and creamy oak tones. The finish is long and lingering and absolutely superb.

We bought a few cases of all three different varietals. Enjoying them over the next months will remind us of the wonderful time we spent with Paul Maroon at his beautiful winery. Maroon Wines is located at 3565 Hagen Road, Napa, California. Call 707.257.3040 or visit