This ancient Chinese scholar’s gate, a traditional emblem of respect, honors the MacDonnell family patriarch.
Even in a valley built mainly for grown-up fun, the pleasures on offer at Napa Valley’s 468-acre Round Pond Estate stand out for their variety and exquisiteness. The views of the Rutherford district and Mayacamas Mountains from the upper-floor dining terrace rival those anywhere in the valley—and after lunch you can stroll through the lush garden from whence it mostly came. The property features an active olive oil mill. You’re well served to sign up for a private tasting, which will include pressings from both the Spanish and Italian varieties grown on-site, as well as wine vinegars and citrus syrups. But it is, of course, the wine that matters most. The family-owned operation has long produced desirable bottles, but, in 2012, brother-sister duo Miles and Ryan MacDonnell debuted the Gravel Series, cabernets that honor their (figurative) roots. The Vow (dedicated to their siblings), the Secret Garden (for their mother) and the Scholar’s Gate (like the edifice shown here, on the property’s grounds, an homage to their father) are paragons of California winemaking and worth the trip alone.
Originally published in the January/February issue of Silicon Valley