Palmaz Vineyards, 2017 Riesling “Lousie” | Napa Valley
Gayot | Written by Dirk Smits | January 4, 2021 | Original Article
Riesling was officially first planted in California in the town of St. Helena in 1861. Back then, it was known as “Johannisberg Riesling,” a reference to Schloss Johannisberg –– one of the oldest Riesling producers in Germany. In the 1960s, Riesling was one of California’s most popular grape varietals but was pushed out by Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the ’70s onward. Today, Riesling is mostly grown in California’s cooler regions, especially in the Anderson Valley, Santa Barbara, Monterey and higher elevation vineyards in Sonoma and Napa Valley.
There, in 1881, young Henry Hagen arrived and founded Cedar Knoll Winery at the foot of Mount George, where the Palmaz Vineyards and family reside today. Hagen would become one of the true pioneers of the Napa Valley. His noteworthy wines were featured at the San Francisco Opera House, and Hagen even won a silver medal for his brandy at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. In 1895, Hagen died, leaving behind 450 acres of vineyards. While Cedar Knoll is lauded for its wines and spirits, Hagen’s descendants didn’t share his passion. With the arrival of Prohibition in 1919, the property’s winemaking endeavors were abandoned until Dr. Julio Palmaz (co-inventor of the balloon-expandable stent) and his family purchased the property in the late 1990s and set about restoring its former glory.