I first met Annie Favia in 2018. She put Coombsville on the map for me, literally, by walking me through its vineyards in the cool bay fog of the early morning.
She entreated me to touch the cold vine leaves and take the volcanic soils into my hands. This was to feel exactly what grounds and guides this sub-appellation of the Napa Valley.
Coombsville, granted its AVA in 2011, is a special corner of the wine world, steeped in bucolic charm. It begins the Napa wine trail to the southeast of the town, sitting just to one side, as if cautious to protect its privacy. The millions of visitors driving north to Napa see it through their rear-view windows – if they see it at all.
Scroll down to see Clare Tooley MW’s tasting notes and scores for five Favia wines
Recently I tasted with her again in the shade of the London plane trees beside the old stone-walled Prohibition winery atop a cool and Petrus-sized barrel cellar. Annie and her husband Andy Erickson renovated it and made it their home.
Their homestead lies in the heart of Coombsville, surrounded by vineyards with views stretching up to the east-side mountain range. This is where Annie cultivates herbs and flowers for her organic tea range, Erda.
A farmer’s daughter, she tends the Beatrix Potter-like potager bursting with squashes and leafy greens. This is all under the watchful eye of Chester the cat who keeps the rabbits at bay but warmly welcomes tasters.
Wildflowers and Blue Grama grasses ripple in the breeze that lifts the heat and is a marker of this corner of Napa. This is a place where nature thrives and rejuvenates in verdancy. One could linger here and be refreshed. It is a place of reverie.
That is until you taste the Favia wines and realise profoundly that there is nothing folksy, whimsical or artisanal about their range. Crafted with character in abundance, but honed to the highest standard; immaculate, considered and concentrated.