- Rating: 95 out of 100
- Tasting Fee: $40 or $60, depending on Tasting (or Free with 2-Bottle Purchase)
- Accepts Reservations: Recommended, but not necessary
- Reservation Required: false
Napa, CA 94558
If you asked me to name one person in Napa who has a truly inspiring story of achieving his or her dreams, Rolando Herrera is one of the first names that comes to mind. From immigrating to California from Mexico at age 15, to washing dishes at night while in High School, to starting at the bottom as a harvest laborer at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, to eventually making it to Cellarmaster, to winemaking at Vine Cliff and eventually becoming Director of Winemaking at Paul Hobbs Consulting (Paul Hobbs is a very famous name in the wine world), Rolando has always made the best of his situation and continued to grow. It is only natural that he started his own label (Mi Sueno means “My Dream” in Spanish) with his wife Lorena and continues to tackle new challenges. The wine quality is excellent and well worth the visit. It’s so good that you’ll forget about the fact that you aren’t at some grand estate. Heck, I didn’t even remember to take a picture! But I did remember to buy some wine…
I’d heard of Rolando Herrera in the background at wineries I’ve visited (e.g. he consults for Baldacci Vineyards), but it wasn’t until I had a bottle of his Mi Sueno Cabernet that I decided I needed to pay this man’s winery a visit. After all, every famous winemaker I know who started their own winery has always put out good product (e.g. La Sirena, Favia, Rivers-Marie, Arcudi, etc.). Luckily for me, I didn’t have to drive all the way into Napa to enjoy his wines. The winemaking facility and his tasting room at 875 Bordeaux Way are only a mile from each other and both offer tastings. Since I was in the mood to walk and try other wines this evening, I decided on the 875 location.
Pulling up to the place, it strikes you as an outside mini-mall for wine drinkers. There is a rectangular astroturf yard in the center where you can pull up a table to enjoy your purchased bottles and it even has Cornhole set up. The architecture is well done but relaxed and the atmosphere is neither sluggish or too energetic. An oasis to enjoy wines away from the crowds and the traffic of Napa. The number of choices may seem intimidating, but Mi Sueno should be your first visit while your palate is fresh - no question. Just walk right in, grab a table, and pick the tasting you are interested in. Mi Sueno is the larger production brand while Herrera are his elevated bottlings. Regardless of which tasting you pick, it is free with a two-bottle purchase, which isn’t hard because both tasting menus are really good.
I decided to treat myself with the Herrera tasting and it was totally worth it. Those bottles can be purchased onsite or you can sign up on their website to purchase them as well: https://store.misuenowinery.com/Wines/Herrera
- 2016 Herrera Perla Chardonnay ($70)
- Lemon-green in appearance, high acid, mellow yellow fruit, straw, and brioche on the nose. The acidity is high, the body is medium(+) with good weight, and the palate is complex with notes of lemon, orange zest, white flowers, some butter (makes me think partial MLF) and vanilla. It’s funny how the ripeness doesn’t hit the stonefruit and tropical fruit levels of its peers though it has similar ABV and intensity. I really liked this Chardonnay and walked away with a bottle to blind taste friends on $75-range Chardonnays.
- 2015 Herrera Seleccion Victoria Malbec ($95)
- This smells like a top-class Argentinian Malbec. The nose is so pretty in both its aromatics and its flavors. Everything is floral, candied, red fruit, high acid, and really smooth. If you don’t like candied character in your wine, this is likely not the wine for you, but if you do and don’t want the sugar hangover, you are really going to love this wine. I just cannot stop gushing over how pretty this wine is. If it didn’t stain your neck with its inky color, you could use it as perfume…
- 2015 Herrera Valeria Petit Verdot 2015 ($95)
- To me, the Italics Petit Verdot has set the bar for this varietal in Napa. But this wine is on par with that bottling. I’d love a blind tasting with both to choose my favorite. The fruit and body are powerful, the earthiness of the varietal is clear, and everything integrates so smoothly, with high volume tannins that are very smooth at this young age. This wine will age beautifully, but is also drinking near a peak right now. I got a bottle because it’s a rarer varietal wine in the area and has been executed so well by Rolando.
- 2015 Herrera Seleccion Rebecca Cabernet Sauvignon ($140)
- This is a great, structured, but easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon that has flavors between black fruit, red fruit, cinnamon, cocoa, and leather. All of that is integrated very smoothly and drinks really well right now. Among the best balanced Cabernets I’ve had in terms of its flavor profile and its finish, which just seems to go on… I do still think that this could use some more time to integrate, but once it does, watch out. This bottle is going to surprise some people in the premium wine category.
- 2016 Herrera Seleccion Lorena Cabernet Sauvignon ($155)
- A blend of sites that the winemaker won’t reveal. A little closed on the nose and palate right now; it will need some years in the bottle to unwind. The acid/tannin profile is complex as you can tell there are components with different feels to them. It has a lot of potential, but I can’t really see where it’s going at this point, unlike the Rebecca. I’d want to revisit this wine in a few years, but I know it’ll be impossible to find this bottle at that point. The tannins are a bit more present too and need time to mellow.
Reading through my notes and remembering the experience, Mi Sueno was very impressive to me. I would love to revisit, only this time at their winemaking facility so I can get a tour, ask more questions, and gain more insight as to what drove Rolando’s winemaking style. Until then, I will just have to enjoy the wines I purchased and live vicariously through you if you decide to visit them as well. Cheers!!
Rating: 95 out of 100