Over the past couple of years I’ve developed a real affinity for oysters. So when I heard about CADE Estate’s 3rd annual Oyster Fest, combining fabulous wine with Hog Island oysters and a beautiful outdoor setting, I knew I had to go.
CADE provides a modern and private and setting for tasting wine, perched high atop Howell Mountain in the Napa Valley region. The state-of-the-art facility is actually the first organically farmed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified estate winery in Napa Valley. Architect Juan Carlos Fernandez worked closely with then Winemaker Anthony Biagi to design a building that honors its surroundings aesthetically, ecologically and with the production of superior wines.
That day they were serving four different wines: the 2012 CADE Estate Sauvignon Blanc, the 2010 CADE Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2010 CADE Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2011 CADE Estate Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. I drink mostly white wine, so I stuck to their bright and acidic Sauv Blanc, but the standout amongst the reds was the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, with a full bodied flavor of berries, spice and chocolate (according to a small group of tasters polled).
But let me tell you about the oysters – I think they were honestly the best I’ve ever had, and not just due to the amount of wine I may have consumed. Before I even took a sip of wine I made a beeline to the oyster table and tried a raw oyster with the signature “Hog Wash” (the recipe can be found on their website) and it was amazing. No grit, perfectly shucked, with the right amount of acidity and salty “sea” taste.
Then it was on to a grilled oyster, and can you believe it might have been even better? I hadn’t tried grilled oysters before this, and the combo of the warm oyster and the still bubbling Garlic Chipotle Bourbon Butter sauce (another great recipe on their website) was pure bliss, because, of course, butter makes everything better.
I spent the rest of the afternoon rotating between the oyster table and the wine tasting stations, lounging in the sun and enjoying the view in between. If you’d like to visit CADE Estate, tastings are by appointment only, so be sure to book ahead. For pricing and booking details, visit their website cadewinery.com.
All I know is that I am planning a visit A.S.A.P. to Hog Island's farm (20215 Shoreline Hwy, Marshall, CA) and will bring along some CADE Estate Sauv Blanc to sip on, happy as a clam, er, oyster.