With Your Summer Burger, Try This Napa Cab

With Your Summer Burger, Try This Napa Cab
Courtesy of Mike Gluckman

There is no better pairing for your cookout than this.

When is the last time you bought wine on Tuesday night cheaper than the last time you bought it on Saturday night? When was the last time you poured wine with a burger, it was thought to be a good match. This notion is no different from so many other long-held wine “wisdoms.” It's time to retire that notion. In addition to sourcing pedigreed meat, grilling it just to rosy perfection, and stacking it up on a gourmet bun with exotic condiments, pickled bits, and precious produce, each messy bite deserves a sip of something wonderful. Google Maps starts guiding you toward Napa once you add that well-structured Cabernet Sauvignon is beef's best friend, regardless of its form. A region known for producing deep-structured Cabernets that are complex, dark-fruited, and well-structured.

On one of these mountains, I found my new favorite burger wine this week. Denise and Stephen Adams are coaxing serious beauty from their 80-acre, biodynamically farmed Adamvs Estate with the assistance of viticulturist Michael Wolf, consulting winemaker Philippe Melka, and winemaker Alberto Bianchi. 

When the property became available back in the aughts, they called Melka, a French-born winemaker and soils expert by training. He saw potential in the range of elevations between 1,500 and 2,000 feet, a variety of exposures and aspects, and five distinct volcanic soil types, from iron-rich red to white ash. Moreover, he recommended making three reds, to fully reflect the geology and geography of the region. He assured them he would do just that.

The Best Napa Valley Cabernet You Haven't Tried
Courtesy of Forbes

This week, I used Adamvs Quintvs Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain $220 for my burgers. With a serious backbone of tannin and plush, juicy fruit, the complex, structured Cabernet Sauvignon at the estate combines all five of its distinct soil types to create an elegant, balanced wine. Violets and forest floor aromas dominate the nose, followed by graphite and lavender. Because of the cool mountain elevation, grass-fed beef retains its fresh acidity and has notes of savory minerality and wild herbs. Mint-infused blackberries and plums complement challenging burger additions, such as bacon or melty cheese, with a savory depth.

The winery name has a story to it, though it is only tangentially related to the fact that it contains the name of the Adams. Adamvs in Latin means “born from our red earth,” according to Denise Adams. If you visit, you will drive a 1961 Land Rover or a 1967 Land Rover up to the top of the property; the model will depend on which one is on hand at the time, and the vibrant red earth can be seen between the rows of vines.

It was actually more than a brand name that was born from this land. When the Adams started building a new winery and tasting room, San Francisco–based architect Kurt Melander was tasked with finding inspiration on the property to create a space where guests could taste their wine. In his wanderings, he found fallen Cyprus trees all over the place, and proposed a hospitality center based on them. 

Guests have described the Cyprus House as being like being inside a sculpture, with its stunning, cantilevered glass structure, clad with cross sections of Cyprus trunks, and topped off with an artful, historic agricultural shed roof.

Considering this vineyard is the Adams' second estate, it might seem odd for them to be adopting such a modern wine hospitality approach. On the Right Bank of Saint-Emilion, the pair restored the Grand Cru Classé Château Fonplégade. However, Denise Adams finds it symbiotic to move between the properties and cultures. Both sides of the pond have exchanged visits, and Napa Valley vineyards converted to biodynamic agriculture after visiting their French counterparts.

The Adamvs Visit is open by appointment to members and potential members, and you can taste our wines with charcuterie and homemade goodies. For your next cookout, I recommend getting a bottle of the 2016 Quintvs. It is true that there is a waiting list, but it isn't that long. It might still be possible to get a late-summer burger. The biodynamic property produces honey and jam.

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