Quintessa is one of Napa Valley’s great estates, the creation of Chilean couple, Agustin and Valeria Huneeus. Located on the eastern side of the Rutherford AVA, the estate was previously owned by San Francisco restaurateur George Mardikian, who bought it in the 1940s with the dream of making wine. He wasn’t able to carry out his vision during his lifetime, so after his passing, when it came time to sell the estate, his family wouldn’t let it go to just anyone. They wanted someone who would honor George’s dream. Having fallen in love with the property at first sight, Valeria Huneeus was that someone. Convincing Mardikian’s family wasn’t easy, but she finally gained the their trust and was able to purchase the property along with her husband in 1990. They named it Quintessa after the five hills and microclimates found on the 280-acre property.
Valeria and Agustin implemented a sympathetic development of the property, planting only 170 of the property’s 280 acres. The land had never before been planted, and was therefore never subject to the detriments of mechanical and chemical farming — common practices in Napa during the ‘70s and ‘80s. This gave the Huneeuses the advantage of starting with a clean slate. The vibrant, healthy soils, spread across valleys, terraces, hilltops, foothills, and riversides were planted in 26 blocks, each specifically matched with Cabernet Sauvignon (129 acres), Merlot (26 acres), Cabernet Franc (7 acres), Petit Verdot (4 acres), and Carmenère (4 acres).
From the 26 vineyard blocks, over 40 lots are vinified. The finished wines are polished, classy, and fine, with lovely depth and concentration, all the while maintaining a sense of balance and harmony. They are typically Cabernet-dominant blends, with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenère, and Petit Verdot playing supporting roles. The offerings are superb year in and year out, demonstrating just what it takes to be considered among the best in Napa.