We have been huge fans of Robert Craig Winery since its first vintage back in 1992. Founded by Bob Craig and his wife Lynn, the winery is nestled amongst a beautiful vineyard atop Howell Mountain in Northeast Napa Valley and it is actually the highest-elevation winery on Howell Mountain. Robert Craig Winery is primarily known for producing quite literally “elevated” Cabernets of distinction so if you love wines made from mountain-grown fruit, we feel no winery does it better than Robert Craig Winery.
Robert Craig Winery – The Story
Bob Craig has long been a lover of wines made with mountain-grown fruit. In fact, Bob was a key player in the formation of the Mount Veeder and Spring Mountain Appellations and began farming on Mount Veeder in 1979. Today, although rooted in the winery’s Howell Mountain estate, Robert Craig Winery produces amazingly expressive wines from the Mount Veeder, Spring Mountain, Diamond Mountain, Napa Valley, Sonoma Coast and Howell Mountain Appellations. Almost all of the fruit is grown in vineyards with some serious elevation all the way up to 2,300 feet and all of the vineyards from which Robert Craig Winery sources its fruit produce very low yields per acre. In fact, approximately one half the yield of the average Napa Valley vineyard.
Over the years, Robert Craig Winery has transitioned from around 25% estate-grown fruit to now over 85% estate-grown for their annual production of approximately 9000 cases. While the wine portfolio has broadened, the focus of the winery has remained what Bob Craig set out to do: introduce people around the world to the unique intensity of mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignons from the Napa Valley.
Robert Craig Winery – The Wines
Generally speaking, Robert Craig Winery wines are made in a new-world style which embraces the intensely flavored mountain fruit of Napa Valley, while allowing the unique expression of each vineyard’s characteristics to shine through. The wines are boldly elegant and complex, structured within a framework of low pH, high acid and high (but well-integrated) tannins and they are definitely structured to age well. With the exception of the Napa Valley Cabernet, Robert Craig Winery wines are from a single vineyard and every effort is made to ensure they are reflective of their uniqueness. Stephen Tebb joined Robert Craig Winery in 2008 as winemaker and since his first full vintage in 2009 he has been fine-tuning the wines with a non-interventionist approach to winemaking. Stephen’s goal is to find a balance in the glass, a perfect interplay between fruit and tannin, acid and alcohol and he has been quoted as saying that “when unity is achieved, it’s like a symphony.”
Although Robert Craig Winery is focused on Cabernet Sauvignons, the winery also produces an excellent Merlot from Howell Mountain, a wonderfully crisp, bright and mineral-laden Chardonnay from Gap’s Crown Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast, and a juicy Rosé (currently made from Grenache) named “La Fleur Craig.” They also craft a dense Zinfandel, from the Black Sears Vineyard on Howell Mountain, which is structured with a “velvet glove” of volcanic minerality, floral and fresh herb notes, along with well-integrated hints of spice. Their most recent creation, “Côte de Craig,” is a limited-bottling Rhône-style Grenache/Syrah blend made from grapes grown in Candlestick Vineyard on Howell Mountain, with flavor components of leather, new tobacco and white peppercorns.
As we mentioned above, we have been loyal fans of Robert Craig Winery for many years and enjoy the entire portfolio of wines, so picking favorites is a tough challenge. Luckily for us, we have a large library of Robert Craig wines in our home cellar so we don’t really have to face that decision frequently. If you are new to Robert Craig, we especially encourage you to try the Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon, all of the mountain Cabernets (Mount Veeder, Howell Mountain, Diamond Mountain and Spring Mountain), the Merlot and the Chardonnay.
Robert Craig Winery – The Tasting Experience
Visits to the Robert Craig Winery itself on Howell Mountain are very limited and by appointment only due to permit restrictions. Fortunately, the winery has an easily accessible, intimate and friendly Tasting Salon in downtown Napa open daily by appointment from 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am to 4 pm on Sunday. All of the wine tastings in the Salon are seated, with various settings including a comfortable tasting bar. The cost for the tasting experience is $25 per person.
Robert Craig Winery – Location and Contact Information
The Robert Craig Tasting Salon (aka “Bar Craig”) is located at 625 Imperial Way in downtown Napa, adjacent to the Napa River. It is less than a block from Soscol Avenue, and not far from either River Terrace Inn, the Westin Verasa Hotel or Oxbow Public Market. The Tasting Salon can be reached at (707) 252-2250, extension 1 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book appointments directly through the Robert Craig Winery website here.
Robert Craig Winery – Nearby
If you plan to visit the Robert Craig Tasting Salon, you can also see our recommendations for other wineries and restaurants in the area such as Alexis Baking Company, Compline, Gran/Eléctrica, Napa Valley Bistro or ZuZu by clicking here. Or, you can follow the drop-down menus above to see our Favorites by Wine Region for elsewhere in the Napa Valley, or other wine country travel destinations.
We, the Two Guys From Napa, highly recommend that you plan a visit to Robert Craig Winery to enjoy another wonderful tasting experience in the Napa Valley. Cheers!