Red Hills AVA, Clearlake, Lake County, California
A small production artisan winery that has quite the property. One of the most dramatic views I have seem from a winery and they had the largest collection of wood boats I have seen, a really nice trip after the busy Sonoma region.
We drove up to Boatique Winery, located “just over the hill” from Napa and nestled on a ridge of the Mayacamas in the Red Hill Appellation of Lake County, to meet with Nahani Bohan, manager, to learn more about this unique wine destination.
Sitting down with glasses of Boatique’s Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc, Bohan explained how she got into the wine industry. “I actually got my teaching credential and Bachelor’s degree downstate. So, I started dabbling in the wine industry by working at restaurants down in Napa.” But Bohan caught the bug, and soon found herself following her sister up to Lake County where she has been working in wineries since 2006. A couple of years ago the opportunity at Boatique opened, and Bohan was excited to “start a new project from the ground up.”
Boatique Winery specializes not only in great wine, but also in vintage and unusual boats. Owners Robert and Mandi Mount didn’t mean to start a winery – they just wanted a home for their boat collection. But the land they bought for boat storage was surrounded by vines planted in the mid-90s, and they had an “a-ha moment” when they realized they could marry their two passions, boats and wines. Thus, Boatique Winery was born.
Boatique, with its high elevation around 2200 feet above sea level and full of volcanic soil, has the perfect vineyard site to grow red wine grapes, as elevated UV levels allow for richer phenolics to develop in grape skins, giving way to more complex wines, in particular their flagship Malbec. They grow their Sauvignon Blanc in the Big Valley Appellation, its rich alluvial soil being perfectly suited to the vines, resulting in balanced and friendly wines, full of juicy fruit flavor.
Patrick Sullivan, winemaker at Boatique, has recently employed the use of concrete eggs, coaxing out the rich minerality of both red and white varietals through this aging method. According to Bohan, Boatique’s “heavy hitter” is their high-altitude Malbec, their “most complex, biggest wine,” that’s both juicy and inky which we found to be a pleasant change from the typical California fruit-bomb.
Also atypical? Their Sauvignon Blanc which shies away from aggressively vegetal flavors and instead relies on rich notes of peach, ripe melon and chalky limestone, followed by a balanced and juicy finish.
Not only was Boatique’s wine delicious, but we found added delights for the Boatique visitor in perusing their astonishing collection of vintage and specialty boats, including a 1949 Ventnor Deluxe Runabout, 1959 Chris-Craft Silver Arrow, 1948 Western Fairliner Torpedo and a 1938 Greavette Streamliner that reside on the winery’s property.
Overall, the sense of Boatique’s wines is that of site specificity and appreciation of varietal preference. All grapes are estate grown, produced by a family owned company with small production (approximately 1,400 cases) with a great attention to detail. Married with the rare, unique boats on site, Boatique Winery makes for a unique tasting experience and we welcome them into the Javi Family.