Here at the SKI offices we don’t need a lot of persuasion to sample wines for this monthly column. So when we found out that Priest Ranch Winery produces delicious wines aimed towards outdoorsy types, we were all in.
Priest Ranch co-founder and director of winemaking Craig Becker grew up in southern California but moved north for college in search of a more well-rounded outdoor experience—namely better mountain biking. After a few stints in the winemaking biz, including one at Robert Mondavi, Becker assumed the helm at Priest Ranch, attracted to the vineyard’s diverse hillside vineyards with elevations ranging from 800 up to 1,600 feet.
This unusual range in altitude allows the Napa Valley winery to produce about 10 different wines, only four of which are sold nationwide. The rest are exclusively available at the vineyard—a great reason to plan a Tahoe ski vacation with a side trip to wine country. We sampled Priest Ranch’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon ($50) and 2017 Grenache Blanc ($22) and found both to be solid contenders for wine aficionados.
Read more: Viva Vino
Priest Ranch's Cabernet was a particular favorite among our staff, a surprisingly easy-drinking yet full-bodied red with a pleasing earthiness rounded out by notes of chocolate and black cherry. An ideal après sipper around the fireplace after a powdery day on the mountain, or really just about anytime you're in the mood for a delicious red.
The Grenache, too, did not disappoint, boasting refreshing hints of citrus complemented by notes of melon and honeysuckle. You’ll want to reach for this bottle post-corn-skiing as your season winds down in the spring.
For more info on either of these wines or to check out what else Priest Ranch has to offer, check out the Priest Ranch website.
Stay on topic: Booze of the Month December 2018 - WhistlePig Rye Whiskey