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May 28, 2007 12:20 PM

white wine in napa. . . off the beaten path

i'm planning on heading up to napa to do some wine tasting after the holiday crowds clear out. we've been up there a number of times so we've done the basic stretch so we're looking to try something new.

the additional kicker is that although we both drink red wine (mostly on the lighter side, cab sav rarely), we prefer white. we drink alot of new zealand sav blancs and are looking for a place where we might encounter a wine or two that approximates this. do these places exist in napa? we've previously been to and enjoyed: krug, grgich hill, cakebread. are there places off the main stretch that we've missed?

thanks a ton! :)

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  1. Get an appointment at Stony Hill. They've been making chardonnay there since the early 1950's.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Paul H

      Duckhorn makes our favorite Sauvignon Blanc. It's a lovely spot too. I think it is nearer St. Helena. I recommend it very highly.We drink more white then red too.

      If you want to try the wine-I think they serve a half bottle at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville, The food there is excellent-great for lunch.

      I am envious-have a wonderful time!

    2. Keep in mind that *no* Sauvignon Blanc produced in Napa will be exactly like an SB from Marlborough. That said . . .

      Duckhorn's SB is indeed very good. The wiery itself is much better known for its Cabernet and Merlot, but the SB is worth the trip.

      Another fine Sauvignon Blanc is produced by Araujo, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Musque and a touch of Viognier.

      This is also true of Spottswoode, minus the Viognier.

      Groth Sauvignon Blanc is also worthwhile.

      One of my favorite Napa SBs is St.-Supéry.

      Another that shouldn't be missed is Honig.

      And one shouldn't overloook Frog's Leap, which helped put Napa SB back on the map since they started in 1981.

      The recommendation of Paul's to visit Stony Hill is a great one. This is NOT your fat, oaky Napa Chardonnay. Since the late 1950s, Stony Hill has made excellent Chardonnays that develop and age beautifully (unlike most Napa Chards).

      Smith-Madrone, high up Spring Mountain, produces an outstanding dry Riesling that is, IMHO, a must buy.

      Chappellet has long made a dry Chenin Blanc that will surprise and delight.

      Hope this helps . . .

      1. Not really NZ SB like, you could go up Spring Mountain and taste the Chardonnays and Rieslings of Smith-Madrone, and then to Crocker and Starr in St. Helena and taste the Sauvignon Blanc there (which is truly excellent, by the way). If you're going to be near Yountville you can check out Mason -- they make a very good SB for the price.

        1 Reply
        1. re: whiner

          Both Zin1953 and Whiner are on the money (as usual). Charles Krug used to make an OK SB, but it's not as good as it has been in recent years and the above recs are better than what you'll find there. I'd follow their advice exactly, and include Smith-Madrone for the Riesling, Chateau Potelle for the view, and possibly Pine Ridge for the Chenin Blanc-Viognier.

        2. Consider Smith-Madrone on Spring Mountain - besides a quaffable Chardonnay, they make the valley's BEST Riesling.

          Most wineries do either a Sauvblanc and/or a Chardonnay so you won't have a problem tasting whites at most places you'll stop.

          1. try Chateau Potelle, it's off of the Oakville Grade about 3 1/2 miles from 29, I think on Dry Creek - you'll see a sign post and I'm guessing they have a web site
            while not a NZ equivalent it's good and the place is fun and a good picnic spot