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May 21, 2008 06:48 AM

Calistoga to Napa - Question


My friend and I are visiting the area (Sonoma and Napa Valley) this weekend and have a few questions. I received fantastic advice last year when I posed a question :).

One day, we have a tour driver taking us around Napa Valley. The wineries do not seem to be too close to each other. However, since I'm not driving, guess it doesn't matter much! Could someone please give me their input on these wineries? I searched and only saw some mentioned a few times. It's of note we are starting in Calistoga. I just want to see if people have a generally positive opinion of these places.

Also, we have an appt for the olive oil tasting at round pond this weekend. I've heard great things but am hesitant to head into that part of the valley - being the holiday weekend. Wondering if I should just steer clear of that area that day..

Von Strasser - in Diamond Mountain District
Tres Sabores w/ picnic
Kuleto Estate

Wondering if we should add a fifth winery to the tour or head somewhere by ourselves upon returning to Calistoga?

Thanks in advance for your time.

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    1. Von Strasser and Failla are both doing great wines and offering very good visitor experiences. I haven't been to Tres Sabores but I like their wines. Frankly Kuleto is more about the property than the wines and it's pretty far out of the way. I'd do Round Pond instead. And yes, none of these properties are particularly close to each other, but if you have a driver and if they rely on Silverado Trail instead of Hwy 29, it shouldn't be a problem. Downtown St. Helena and Hwy 29 through Oakville tend to be the trouble spots. Instead of trying to cram in a 5th stop, I'd just plan to pick up a bottle and head back to your accommodations and enjoy it before dinner. It's going to be busy up here this weekend and wineries that stay open past 4:30 or 5 tend to attract the party crowd.

      1. I'm sort of surprised why you chose those wineries. Yes, Von Strasser makes some good wines, but the others...well, I just don't get it. Kuleto is beautiful but the wines for the most part are only average, and it is a haul -- and I mean a haul -- to get out there. Not worth the drive or the time the visit will absorb.

        Have you done a search on the CH wine board for great Napa wineries? What types of wine do you like? Napa is known for Cabs and Chardonnay, and to a lesser degree Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Sonoma is better for Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. For search terms, use the type of wine you like, and the word "Napa" to search the Wine Board.

        1. I was at the spring release at J last weekend. Some people I got to talking with were talking about Kuletto Estates. They felt it to be a good one. I've never been myself. Pat Kuletto is a partner in the group that does restaurants including Fog City Diner, Farallon, Epic, and Nick's Cove.
          I like Far Niente. It is like driving into a monet painting and the wines are very nice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: KJP

            His house/winery have a fabulous view. Disappointing wines, mostly, not up to the view or good enough to justify the jaunt if it will take a big chunk out of your only day in Napa Valley.

            I love Far Niente, but I think their sister winery Nickel & Nickel is probably the better tasting.