2649 Townsgate Road
Westlake Village, Suite 200
NABU Wines in Westlake Village has been breaking down barriers since its doors opened. Named for the relationship owners Greg Barnett and Jeff Bailey have with vineyards in the Malibu Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA) and Napa Valley’s AVA, the winery is the first to produce varietals from both areas.
“When you visit NABU, you’re visiting the full-production facility of the Malibu wines off the mountain,” said Barnett,who was recently named president of the Malibu Hills AVA. “It’s the only tasting room we have so far, so you get to taste both our Malibu and our Napa wines.”
That unique marriage is what inspires Barnett,a graphic designer and music promoter by training. “I’ve been making wine for 18 years,” Barnett said.
On Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., the winery features live music bringing in local singers, songwriters and bands along with area food trucks. Additionally, Pitfire Artisan Pizza of Westlake Village provides delivery to your table if you order from the winery.
Barnett’s skills as a designer have not gone to waste in the winery’s interior and the light, open and airy feel with a large quartz-topped bar is as inviting as it is attractive. On the wall is a dart board suitable for shooting a few rounds and Barnett even keeps a couple of acoustic guitars available in case the muse descends while sipping.
It is the wine, however, that keeps people coming back. The live music is a draw, of course, as is the convenient location. But Barnett and Bailey focus on the boutique, small-batch nature of the wines they make chosen from vineyards that they hand-select. That attention to detail along with weekend live music and food have garnered NABU a best wine bar award in the Los Angeles area.
For full disclosure, I’ve known Barnett since our teenage years and as a certified sommelier, I volunteered to help do tasting notes for the wines, so I’ve tasted through a number of the vintages.
The 2016 Malibu Coast Chardonnay is full of lemon fragrance and pear, apple and citrus and a nice vanilla core.
The winery produces a blend called 140Founders Blend, an homage to Barnett’s and Bailey’s friendship and partnership which began via Twitter 140 characters at a time. It’s 60 percent cabernet sauvignon and 40 percent Merlot, a Bordeaux blend that’s rich and deep purple with great cassis and dark fruit and berry flavors.
The 2015 Merlot from the St.Helena region of Napa has dark plum and berry flavors, excellent mouth feel and finish.
NABU is open Thursdays 5-9 p.m., Fridays 5-11 p.m., Saturdays noon-11 pm and Sundays noon-6 p.m. Live music with by the glass or bottle pricing with local food trucks happens on Friday and Saturday evenings from 8 p.m. until closing. Tasting includes six wines for $20 and is a mash-up of the Malibu and Napa wines.