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Jul 29, 2007 06:21 PM

Calistoga Anniversary Weekend: Wineries and Food 'Field Trips'?

My wife and I both grew up in Sonoma County, and we have enjoyed all that the Russian River and Alexander Valleys have to offer. We rarely go to Napa, and could use some recommendations. For a milestone wedding anniversary weekend in August (Fri, Sat, Sun) I have reserved a hotel in Calistoga. I'm looking for wineries with great wine, but also great, romantic scenery. Since we are in Calistoga, I would like to stay at the north end of the valley -- Yountville and above. We really like Pinots, then Zins, and an occansional really good Chardonnay. I realize that this part of the valley is typically known for great Cabs, and the Pinots are found further south towards the bay.
Here were some intial thoughts after reading the boards: Sterling Winery, Miner, Frog's Leap Winery, Robert Sinskey, Cliff Lede, Arroyo Winery. Other recommendations? Other good 'field trips' to fun olive oil tasting or other places in the area? Thanks for the help!

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  1. Your winery selection is kind of all over the valley. BUT, for the most part they are all excellent, especially Sinskey, Lede, Miner and Arroyo. I might skip Sterling but it's not all bad.

    North of Calistoga there is Bennet Lane which has outstanding wines, small producer and Summers which is also very good. Stop in a August Briggs, outstanding producer on the Silverado Trail just south of Calistoga.

    There are a ton a great wineries so just enjoy and have a great time. Oh, happy anniversary.

    1. You're right in the middle of Cab country, but you can find some non-cabs in the area if you look.

      For Chardonnay, try Chateau Montelena. Their '73 Chard put Napa on the wine map when it won the judgement of paris over several french chardonnays.

      Grgich Hills is also in the area, and is well-known for Chards and Zins.

      Nickel & Nickel makes mostly Cabs, but they also have a nice Zin and a super-fruity Pinot. They're by appt only.

      Arger Martucci is a teeny winery in St. Helena and they make a Cali-style Pinot, and an interesting Viogner.

      Sinskey is a long drive (especially if there's traffic) from Calistoga, but may be worth it if you don't mind that. Don't bother with Sterling, unless you're just in it for the disney-esque cable car ride. The wines are completely forgettable.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Thanks for all of the replies so far, especially this one. I was thinking of Sterling for the picnic and 'disney-esque' cable car ride, but I will think about Chateau Montelena instead. Thanks again.

        2. Vincent Arroryo also makes excellent olive oil that they sell at the winery.

          1. I recommend the El Molino winery. Very small. Quirky feature: their cave opens into the family living room! Exceptional Pinot Noir and a unique, developing Chardonnay.