Volker Eisele Napa Valley Gemini White 2013

Light yellow color; jasmine, fresh corn, citrus on the nose; pear, lemon, yellow apple, papaya, minerality, suggestion of oak on the palate.

Blend of 80% semillon and 20% sauv blanc from the Chiles Valley in Napa. Crisp, clean, good acidity; good food wine, nice tang and mineral notes on the finish. Medium weight—heavier than sauv blanc thanks to semillon; nice complexity and can evolve with age, thanks particularly to the semillon.

The winery started in the mid-1970s by Volker Eisele, a German who came to California to earn a sociology degree at Cal-Berkeley and fell in love with the nearby wine region. Eisele was a pioneer in adopting organic farming techniques in his vineyard. The estate grew grapes for the first decades; he did not begin bottling under his label in 1991. Voler was very active in the Greenbelt Alliance, Napa Valley Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Grape Growers, and Sierra Club. The Napa Valley Farm Bureau named him “outstanding agriculturist of the year” in 2008, citing his 30-year career as a grape grower and his commitment to land preservation and conservation. Volker Eisele died in 2015 at age 77.

Today, Volker’s widow, Liesel (a landscape architect), and his son Alexander and Alexander’s wife Catherine operate the vineyard and winery. Daughter Christiane pursues a career in medicine, but finds time to help out at the winery. Veteran winemaker Molly Lyman now runs the cellar operation, succeeding long-time wine maker John McKay (a pioneer of sur lie aging in Napa). This bottle is among the last of McKay’s efforts. The vineyard crew includes four generations of the Jose Nevarez family; Jose arrived on horseback when the vineyard started in 1974 and members of his family—three generations—have worked the vineyards and been foremen of the operation ever since.

Volker Eisele Napa Valley Gemini White 2013 is a sophisticated, excellent wine with rich, deep, admirable roots in Napa. Well worth a cork pull, especially for an elegant, refined meal. $25-28

Volker winery website

Other photos: Volker Eisele, Volker Eisele vineyard and winery

Volker Eisele Napa Valley Gemini White 2013
Volker Eisele
Volker Eisele vineyard and winery