Wine tasting in Napa Valley
I am a wine lover and I am bring some friends from Wash. State to Napa. What wineries are worth visiting. I dont care for the boring tours of winemaking, but rather prefer the quaint and beautiful wineries that sell or offer high quality wine in a pretty setting.
One of the best tours is Del Dotto. Absolutely a blast, barrel tasting in the caves and the wines are wonderful. Love the Cabernat Franc! I think they sellit in the futures. I have not been to their new location (they have two) but my appt is already made for June. Tastings run apx $45-50 per person.
Also, Schramsberg has another great tour, the history, the caves, and it is a beautiful location.
A friend just got back and highly recommended Duckhorn (we have that booked as well) Actually he is from Washington State!
have a great time
We'd be coming from Healdsburg to do Del Dotto--if there for the day, what are other close must do wineries for pretty settings and high end (less commerical) vineyards?
Also what restaurants are close for dinner b/w Terra, Ad Hoc, Redd...
Is Caarneros Inn close enough to go for a cocktail to enjoy the views?
Here's the deal....
Definitely go to Joseph Phelps. That was a good wine tasting and killer setting. Go in the morning if possible. We went to Terra Valentine in the Spring Mountain District, that was really cool as well. Spring Mountain District is up in the Mtns outside of St. Helena. Very nice setting. We went to Duckhorn also. Pretty nice but not great. Mumm for Champagne was ok. Everyone talks about Shramsburg, but you need to check the times for the tours. Unfortunately, we weren't able to sync up.
Sinsky and Del Dotto get lots of good reviews as well. Don't bother with Niebaum Coppola or Rubicon or whatever it's called now. Too expensive to just drive on the grounds. Have heard that Silver Oak is also nice.
I went to Del Dotto with a large group and we had a great time. It isn't scenic like a lot of wineries - you're inside the caves the whole time - but they will give you as much wine as you can handle. Not cheap though. We went to Pineridge after Del Dotto and had Oakville grocery deliver sandwiches to us there for lunch. Pineridge has a few picnic tables where we were able to eat lunch and drink the wine we bought inside (Oakville has great sandwiches, and having them deliver to a winery can be a big time saver - they just charge something like $10). After Pineridge we finished the day with sparkling wines at Mumm. Mumm is in a beautiful location.
Stay away from Highway 29! I belong to Joseph Phelps wine club and I agree with the recommendations. If you are driving from Healdsburg, there is also an Oakville Grocery location near the town square. Caymus is also a recommended stop. Both charge $25.00 per tasting and both are by reservation and Caymus can be reached via the Silverado Trail. In some of the tourist magazines you can find discount coupons for Joseph Phelps. They are closed to the public the weekend of May 16, 17 and 18. I live in Santa Rosa so I visit the Dry Creek and Russian Valley wineries more frequently than Napa since some of them are only a 15 minute drive from my home. Some of the Dry Creek wineries are located in some spectacular settings; Passalaqua, Lambert Bridge, and Armida.
My recommendation is to skip really touristy places such as Mumm and Duckhorn because you don't get a very authentic experience. Also, places that require appointments are great because the tasting room isn't ridiculously full.
Do not miss Caymus. Elyse is great for red wines it has easy access off of highway 29 but far away enough to feel secluded. If you want a great setting for sparkling wine Domaine Carneros is exquisite though touristy, but you sit down and have table service so you don't have to fight the crowds. Last but not least, McKenzie Mueller has been one of my favorite experiences. Mrs. McKenzie was waiting for us in the parking lot, took us to a back room (no formal tasting room) and proceeded to let us taste 12 wines. It was quaint and highly enojoyable. The last two are in Carneros and I strongly advise that you go there, at least for the view.
I've heard great things about Del Dotto and Fleury which I will make plans to go to this coming weekend so I'll keep you posted.
Definitely get off Hwy 29. Personally, I love the scenic location of Hess Winery on Redwood Road. It's beautiful and quiet, and you can tour a very nice American Art gallery within the winery.