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Destination I Do
Friday, October 30, 2009

Wineries with a Haunting Past

Words by Jennifer Stein
Words by Autumn Millhouse

Mysterious clattering, ghost sightings and spooktacular wines are guaranteed at Frank Family Vineyards and Flora Springs Winery. Two historical wineries boast a colorful past dating back to the 1890’s when Napa Valley was a hideaway for the flamboyant characters of San Francisco’s wealthy elite.

At that time there was a ferry that ran from San Francisco up to the Napa River to the Napa Mill, where Napa River Inn is now situated and also rumored to be haunted with confirmed ghost sightings by guests. From the Napa Mill people took a stagecoach up valley where they could gamble, fraternize and indulgent their hedonistic pursuits at private homes that later became wineries, such as the Frank Family property. Rumored suicides, lost loves and abandoned wineries during the prohibition period have fueled many haunting rumors in many Napa Valley wineries.

Granted, the fear of seeing dead people thankfully hasn’t kept wine drinkers away from sniffing, swirling and sipping award-winning wines. Therefore, in celebration of Halloween toast to Frank Family’s and Flora Springs haunted pasts while drinking two of my favorite varietals.

Frank Family Vineyards - 2007 Zinfandel, Napa Valley- (NEW RELEASE)
Our 2007 Napa Valley Zinfandel has a scarlet color with a dark purple hue. The aromas are vibrant, opening with juicy black cherries, raspberry, candied ginger and cinnamon sticks. Further depth evolves as aromas of blackberry pie, spice cake, white peppercorns and grilled figs emerge. The palate is abundant and layered; up front it is loaded with ripe fruit, chocolate and roasted nuts, followed by a chewy richness where dried fruit and sweet Asian spiced short ribs are uncovered. The structure is outstanding with complex tannins that provide exceptional weight and a long lingering finish.

Flora Springs Winery – 2007 Sangiovese
Sangiovese is known throughout wine world for its engaging bouquet and bright acidity that matches with a wide range of culinary preparations. Red fruit accents of cranberry and raspberry are evident on the nose and palate, and complimented by hint of blueberry for added complexity. Paul uses older neutral barrels and a shortened aging regimen so as not to mask the elegance and freshness best exhibited by Sangiovese.

For more on Autumn Millhouse and her book Romantic Napa Valley, An Insider's Guide for Couples, click here.

Autumn Millhouse is an award-winning travel writer who specializes in wine, food and romantic getaways. She is also an international trekker who has wined and dined across the globe from Barcelona to Beijing . A self-proclaimed “hopeless-romantic” and author of Romantic Napa Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples, Autumn also has a bi-monthly column called Love Vines published in Napa Valley Life Magazine. She resides in Napa Valley where she cultivates her wine and food relationships with top chefs, winemakers and a slew of other foodies. Besides, sniffing, swirling and sipping wine daily, Autumn is currently working on her next travel book Romantic Sonoma Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples.

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