#MerlotMe More with Napa’s Peju

As we cautiously consider moves further from home, wineries with expansive lawns and trees  like at Charles Krug and gracious gardens like at Peju will be precious places to visit.

Napa Valley’s Peju offers one such retreat with its distinctive 50 foot tower designed by renowned Southern California architect Calvin Straub which graces the label’s estate-bottled Peju wine.

In the Before Time, I visited the copper roofed, stone-faced tasting room tower at Peju Winery which offers to visitors in the Bofre and After Time a soaring ceiling and a mezzanine, and a large, open room lit by a massive, antique stained glass window dating back to 1906.

On our spring 2019 visit, we enjoyed the gardens as we strolled in to taste and back out again.

Owner Herta Peju guides the planting and pruning; she enjoys getting her hands in the dirt!  Last night I even dreamed of planting tulips with her!

She also loves cooking and says she prefers to pair their Merlot with rabbit ragu while her husband Tony pairs it with pizza which we were about here during Women’s History Month as their daughters are also involved with the business; read more here.

“Balance Movement” is a multi-media sculpture fabricated from steel by Philip Dizick. Its geometrics reminds us who we are and where we come from by activating emotions that stimulate inter-dimensional stages of consciousness

The gracious garden plantings include perennials like roses and dahlias along with colorful annuals alongside “Willow Creek” with a footbridge, fountains, and footpaths leading visitors through the gardens to the works of sculptors Welton Rotz and Philip Dizick making it welcome spot to wine all year around.

With regards to the 2020 Glass Fire, the Peju winery and vineyard properties were spared. They suggest you help in the following ways:

1. Purchase and drink Napa Valley wines. After the struggles of 2020, the entire community could use the support.

2. When you purchase online from PEJU and Calmére Estate Winery during the month of October, we will donate 10% of proceeds to the Redwood Credit Union 2020 Fire Relief Fund.

3. Want to donate directly? Please click here.

4. Visit us! “Blue skies, along with optimism have returned to our beautiful valley,” they say.

They are OPEN; appointments required. To review COVID safety protocols, please click hereAll tastings will be held outside to adhere to state guidelines. Curbside Pick up is also available 7 days a week, please call 707-963-3600.


  • Cheese Board
  • Green Beans
  • Roasted corn on the cob
  • Fresh fettuccini with mussels
  • Lamb chops with rosemary and garlic

2016 Peju Merlot Napa Valley
ABV 15%; SRP $40 (sample for my review)
95% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Sirah

In 1983, Tony and Herta Peju purchased thirty acres of Rutherford vines in Napa Valley. Nearly forty years later, Peju as well as their sister winery Calmere is family-owned and operated with daughters Lisa and Ariana.

We’ve written about Peju Merlot here in 2019 paired with rabbit ragu and pizza and here paired with savory squash soup, salad, grilled cheese sandwiches and here paired with salmon and tritip...

Color: Very dense, maroon, rose rim, this is not a watery rim, there is a lot of color there

Nose: Herbs, menthol, cherry, cherry mint and chocolate, the richness of a dark chocolate, very interesting intense nose; surprisingly the alcohol does not come through on the nose.

Palate: Rich wine, Napa rich, powerful.

This is not a meek Merlot.

Velvety tannins: this is not a satin sheet, there is definitely texture there. The fruit is predominately cherry, with pepper on the back of the palate, spicy like a black crusted pepper steak at the back of the throat.

Pairing: Think big wine, big cheese, ever so yummy with blue cheese, would be great with a rib eye steak topped with blue cheese. Also fantastic with the richness and the funky rind of our triple cream brie:  Loves the richness and the flavor of the Delice. Great with the salt cured olives.

Rich wine for rich foods.

Fantastic with the Red Leichester cheese. Such a great cheese on its own; with the right wine it is perfection. So rich it knocked the lamb chops with lots of garlic and rosemary out of the ball park, yet elegant enough that I also liked it with the garlicky mussels and pasta.

Happy #MerlotMe Month! Cheers!

PS Need more Merlot? Check out this post from earlier this month with Sonoma’s Selby and Columbia Valley’s L’Ecole No 41 paired with a three meat loaf! Coming up: merlot from Napa’s Duckhorn paired with lamb shanks and Sonoma’s Longboard paired with rack of lamb!



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