napa wineries to visit.. posts are dated... help!!
Hi looking at where to go.. already on the list is Hess and Clos Pegase..for the art.. Cakebread and Artesa... thinking of Chandon on the way back to the airport.. We are looking for not just the wine but the whole experience.. art maybe.. arch yes.. nice.. great tour maybe..
has anyone been to the Culinary Instittute? we are doing Martini House and Terra.. I see the burger place place... Taylors??? was just in Bon Appetit..other ideas for St Helena for not a big lunch.. want to save up for dinner!!
We did the "Tour of the Palate" at Hess a few years ago and definitely thought it was well worth the $20 or $25/pp fee that we paid for the tour and tasting. However, I see now that they've upped the cost to $35/pp during the week and $40/pp on weekends.
Not sure it's worth the $40/pp charge, but we had a lot of fun chatting with the chef who personally presented the wines and tasting plates in a private room near the art gallery. We also enjoyed our guided tour after our tasting.
We made reservations for a party of three and ended up joining another group of three, so there were only six people on our Saturday morning tour. But again, this was almost three years ago.
We also enjoy taking visitors to view the terrific art collection at Clos Pegase, but we're not fans of their wine. Very close to Clos Pegase is Sterling Vineyard. Again, not fans of their wine, but they have a great tour where you can learn a lot about the actual wine-making process and on a pretty day, it's a lot of fun to ride the tram up to the winery.
Second the vote for Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen. We love Pablo's oysters, the frito misto and their stuffed peppers.
It is only my opinion but I - along with a friend who has lived in St. Helena for 30+ years and who knows the valley, knows the wineries, knows the to-die-for homes, etc. - we found the whole experience at Castello di Amoroso laughable, even embarrassing. I would never send anyone there. There are so many truly beautiful wineries to visit, why would you waste your time and money on something built to feed a HUGE ego. But it is only my opinion.
Some other wineries to consider:
Darioush: A "Persian palace" of a winery, unlike anything else in the valley. Controversial, but surprisingly tasteful. Good wines too.
Casa Nuestra: If you want a taste of the "old Napa" (as in, not glamorous or slick), check out this hippie-style winery. Excellent Chenin Blanc--if there's any left. You can feed the goats too. (appointment required)
Castello di Amorosa: Way over-the-top (but apparently, amazingly authentic) replica of an Italian castle. Eight levels of art- and antique-filled rooms to explore.
Taylor's is great for a low-key lunch--you can bring your own wine for $5/bottle.