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Apr 10, 2009 06:12 AM

Need Advice on Napa Wineries

My husband and I will be in Napa for 3 full days May 25-27 and need help planning our tasting. We love old world reds, and would love to do no more than 2 wineries a day. We're hoping for a mix of small vineyards and maybe some larger ones with stunning scenery/architecture. We're staying in Yountville and are just looking for great experiences. Thank you!

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  1. I suggest going to the SanFranciso Bay Area board and do a search there of wineries, There's plenty of info of what you are looking for there.

    1. Here are a few ideas.

      For interest and architecture: I've never been a fan of V. Sattui, but they now have a new property called Castello di Amorosa, which is certainly worth seeing.

      Chateau Montelena is beautiful and the wine is famous too. Jarvis is completely built underground and is rather unusual. Great but rather expensive wine.

      A lovely, small winery is Stony Hill. By appointment only, but worth the effort. White wine only.

      If you wish to learn the basics, Mondavi still has one of the best educational tours in the valley.

      Sterling's wines are not the best (their reserve wines are usually head and shoulders above their regular bottlings though), but the view from up there is one of the best.

      Have fun!

      1. My absolute favorite tasting in Napa is Karl Lawrence. You need to contact them to set up a tasting. They may also taste you on the Sequoia Grove stuff.

        Others I enjoy include:
        Etude (Carneros)
        Del Dotto (expensive, but a great experience)

        1. If you are looking to taste delicious wines, there are MANY in the valley, and I would imagine the recommendations are as varied as the persons making the suggestions.

          I lead tours in Napa and Sonoma, and some of my favorites, for all three: Quality of wines; beauty of winery; friendliness of staff, include Trefethen, St. Supery; Domaine Chandon; Honig; Chimney Rock, Grgich Hills.

          Niebaum-Coppola has so-so wines, but the property is spectacular, and you might like to tour it. Beringer also has a spectacular property. I wouldn't go to Sterling.

          Since you prefer to do two wineries in a day, I would schedule one for each morning and one in the afternoon, and go elsewhere for lunch each day.

          I would make appointments with the wineries you choose beforehand.

          1. Shelbyk-

            We just returned form a week in Yountville. We stayed at the 4 Sisters Inn.

            For Dining: Bouchon for your morning coffee is a must. Restaurant Redd is great for dinner and Michael Chiarello's new place Bottega is very good. Bistro Jeanty is fun.

            Winery Stops: You mentioned that you like Old World Reds, which can be almost the complete opposite of most of the red wines produced in Napa. That being said I like:

            Hartwell and Midsummer Cellars (both on Silverado Trail)
            Fallia (great tasting of Chard & Pinot, also on Silverado Trail)

            Far Niente (nice tour)

            Up in Calistoga I highly recommend a tour of Schramsberg for some bubbles and a great tour. They demonstrate the technique of "sabering". Have lunch or dinner at Solbar in Calistoga. The chef is the former Sous at Gary Danko.

            If you are looking for that hard to find bottle, stop in Vinoteca wine shop in Calistoga.

            Stop in Hydro for a great tap beer. I know you have only a few days, but you must drive over the Oakville Grade to sonoma. The drive is spectacular.

            Have a great time!!!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: tito

              tito, have you ever gone across at Calistoga? We did, were happily surprised to find The Petrified Forest!

              1. re: ChefJune

                Yes, it is a great drive through knights valley into alexander valley. We go out twice a year....god i love that place. If you are into food and wine there is not much better (except France or italy).

                I agree with jonasblank on Storybook.....great zins that are not in the usual napa style. My last visit there i got the "hard sell" on the wine. They were very forward with the fact that I did not purchase.

                As far as aacharya comments, I do agree that sonoma is a great place tp visit. It is a little more laid back. Healdsberg is great, 5 miles one way and you are in dry creek (zin heaven) 5 miles the other way and you are on westside road (pinot land).

                If you pass through alexander valley, be sure to stop at the Hawks tasting room. Nice unoaked chard and some single vineyard cabs that i feel will put them on the map one day.

                But if you have never been to napa and you have only 3 days, staying in napa is a good call.

                go take a mudbath at calistoga hot springs, get a massage, have a great time!!!