Napa Valley Trip
- bigskymind May 6, 2007 02:03 PM
I'm going to Napa in mid-June and have beocm eoverwhelmed by all the choices: where to stay, where to eat, what to drink, what vinyards to hit. I would very much welcome any guidance. I'm going middle of the road re: cost. Meaning, I hope to pay in the 200s for a room, will pay for a good meal, etc.
You'll want to check out Ceja Vineyards. The place is comfortable, welcoming and beautiful, not to mention the wines - outstanding wines! Viansa has matured since I found them 9 years ago and their wines are now something to have. Viansa is a bit more touristy - but their Arneis is worth the drive over. Viansa is one of the few vineyards up in that area (maybe in all of California) producing Arneis.
I heartily agree with Ceja and respectfully disagree about Viansa. Please don't go there; instead seek out a much more enjoyable winery in Napa (Viansa is in lower Sonoma). The Arneis doesn't justify the visit.
BigSky, the winery and resto options are thoroughly discussed on this board. The info is already here -- just set aside the time, use the search window and do some reading.
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Yeah, there are a ton of options in Napa for food, wine, etc. Depends on what you like really. We like Paraduxx and Pine Ridge for wine tasting and Cindy's Back Street Kitchen is a great little place in St. Helena to grab lunch or dinner. We have some reviews and what-not here: http://www.uncork29.com/blog/
If you don't know which wineries you like, I suggest you try to get to at least six or more each day to find out what you like. Starting with a champagne house is always good: Schramsberg (high end bubbly), Chandon (beautiful room & good bubbly), Mumm (best patio, great photography & some good bubbly), or S Anderson is another good option. Then pick up a six pack of bottled water, a good loaf of bread, some cheese, maybe some olives and snack as you drive between wineries. Don't waste time on lunch, but look forward to an excellent dinner! Frequent quality snacks and plenty of water (and not loading up at each winery) will help you navigate Hwy29, Silverado Trail et al with a legal BAC.
Realize that you must pay a bit more to taste the "reserve" or "library" wines at each stop, and that you almost certainly will not get a chance to drink the superstar or cult wines in a tasting room.
Save Merryvale for your last stop - they're open later than the other tasting rooms.
The only wineries I visited where I could not find wine I liked are Peju, St Clement (but their Oroppus was delicious and expensive) and V Sattui.
I like Raymond and Flora Springs enough that I'm in their wine clubs, and I'm going to a winemaker's dinner with Mr & Mrs Raymond this Saturday.
Napa is overwhelming, but only by experiencing it can you discern what types of places you enjoy. Planning you second trip will be much much easier.
Try 4 wineries per day MAYBE 5 but not 6, you will find yourself rushing when you should be relaxing and enjoying yourself at a slow pace. PLUS you want to be able to stop for lunch.
Pride Mountain and Terra Valentine have very tasty wine and beautiful views of the valley; Sterling, Chateau Montelena and Clo Pegas all offer tours of their architectually pleasing properties. V. Sattui is great for lunchtime because they have a gourmet deli and lovely picnic area. V Sattui just opened a new winery in an actual Italian castle he had built over the last 10 years in Calistoga. It is AMAZING to visit. Let me know if you want any other recommendations and I can let you know where you can taste for free.