Last weekend, I had the pleasure of going to Napa with my friends Lee and Vince. Our first stop was the relatively new winery owned by basketball legend Yao Ming. We had so much fun that I’m going to devote my next few articles to our adventure.
Visiting Asian-owned Wineries
We started our day by visiting two Asian-owned wineries, Yao Family Wines and Kieu Hoang Winery. Why did we visit these wineries? First, to pay tribute to Lee and Vince’s Asian heritage. Second, so that Lee and Vince could introduce me to Yao Family Wines, a winery they have grown to really like. Third, to honor Kieu Hoang Winery for the generosity they showed by donating $5 million to San Jose flood victims.
Following the Asian-owned Wineries
We finished our day by visiting Artesa, one of my favorite wineries, and having a light dinner at Farm at Carneros, a lovely restaurant with a delightful outdoor patio.
My Napa Blog Series
I’ll devote this blog article to our experience at Yao Family Wines. I’ll devote next week’s article to our experience at Kieu Hoang Winery. I’ll devote the following week’s article to our experience at Artesa and Farm at Carneros.
About Yao Ming and His Winery
According to Yao Family Wines website, “In November 2011, Yao Ming, global humanitarian and recently retired NBA star, announced the establishment of his new Napa Valley wine company: Yao Family Wines. The Company launched its first brand – the YAO MING Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – in December 2011. The Company launched its second brand – the NAPA CREST Napa Valley Proprietary Red Blend – in September 2013.” Both brands’ Cabernets have received critical acclaim.
The Tasting Experience
The tasting room is very inviting. For starters, there is a life-sized cutout of Yao Ming that we were excited to take pictures with. Yao is 7’6”, which is unimaginably tall.
Around the tasting room is fun basketball memorabilia, along with very cool wine pieces.
Our server, Shia Wu, was a lovely woman who moved from NY to Napa recently because of her love of wine. She is learning a lot about wine, both at the winery and through classes she’s taking locally. We really enjoyed our time with Shia.
We also enjoyed meeting David Sayre, one of Yao Family Wines’s wine makers. He told us all about the different vineyards Yao Family Wines uses. It was very interesting and very impressive.
Hitting a 3 Pointer with Yao Ming Wines
I tried 3 wines and bought 3 wines! In basketball speak, I hit a 3 pointer! Here’s what I tried and bought, along with my commentary on 2 of the wines.
2016 Napa Crest Sauvignon Blanc
Here are my live tasting notes on this beautiful wine.
2016 Napa Crest Rose
This is a blend of 68% Merlot and 32% Cab. Sorry that I don’t have any live tasting notes for this wine. I loved the wine’s acidity and the strawberry and watermelon notes.
2014 YAO MING Cabernet Sauvignon
Once again, here are my live tasting notes.
I didn’t mention in the video that this Cabernet is very age worthy. I am going to do my best to lie the bottle I bought down for a good 5 years.
Our trip to Napa was the essence of the wine country lifestyle, something I talked about just a few weeks ago. If you haven’t visited Yao Family Wines, I highly recommend you do so. I think you will love it.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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The Napa Crest Rose sounds delicious. Right up my alley!
I just finished the bottle tonight. It was amazing.
Are we tasting the Yao Ming Cab this Sunday, or have you decided to give it some time to “grow up” even more? 🙂 Thank you for sharing, this will be something to plan for our next trip to Sonoma-Napa. The production volume of this winery must be ginormous, taking into account the popularity of its owner…
I’m going to lie that puppy down for 5 years – if I can be disciplined enough 🙂
Great sharing of a cool experience and excellent and elegant wine.
I can’t wait for you to check them out.
What a fun time that was! Yao Ming Wine totally scores in my elegant class of wines and I definitely look forward to our next trip back.
I can’t wait!
How lovely to bring the spotlight on Asian winemakers in Napa! The wines at Yao Family Wines sounds delightful & something for me to check out next time I get myself to Napa. I like your tasting videos too! Thanks for sharing!
Yao Family Wines is delightful!