Walk through the door at Ma(i)sonry
and you won't find the usual faux-Italian or French décor that typifies tasting rooms in Yountville, Calif. Instead, you'll discover a space haunted by gold-plated skulls, abstract sculpture
and giant chrome contraptions that look like the ancestors of the modern spotlight.
A steam-punk aesthetic pervades the century-old stone house, converted in 2007 to a tasting room that doubles as an exhibition space. Various mammalian vertebrae and reclaimed metal sculptures hang from exposed beams and dot the wooden shelves, an ambiance that could be the brainchild of Georgia O'Keefe and Damien Hirst, had they lived together on a 19th
All of this makes for a fascinating place to taste wines from the 14 small local producers whom Ma(i)sonry
represents. Check in at the front desk and head upstairs to one of the quirky rooms in the back. Pass a stack of disembodied men's
shirt collars under a specimen glass and ease yourself into a worn leather armchair. Before ordering your first glass of wine
, drink up the trinkets: a wooden humidor with a Cuban flag carved in to the cover, a paper bird sculpture
made from shavings of Dostoevsky's House of the Dead.
menu includes an array of both pre-selected and customizable flights from nearby wineries. On a rainy Wednesday, the Collector's Flight ($40) is a sampling of four wines highlighted by the 2004 Husic Vineyards Cabernet
, chocolatey with hints of nutmeg and raspberry jam, and the 2006 Rivera Cabernet
, tannic and tinted with a taste of blackberries and green
tea. All are part of a run of 1,000 cases or less.