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Feb 24, 2011 07:07 AM

Two Days in Napa: Where, what to taste?

Every spring we travel to a different part of wine country to eat well and taste wines. Past years we've had amazing trips, including Russian River, Paso Robles, Santa Cruz, Anderson Valley. . . This year (end of March) it's Napa. Will you share your top three (3) winery recommendations based on tasting experience and wine quality? We prefer smaller wineries unless you tell me something grand I shouldn't miss. Feel free to recommend a specific area, appellation, wine variety, restaurant , hotel, or pitstop as well. (I searched for a link on this topic with no luck. Any links welcome too.)

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  1. 1) There should be tons of recs in a search here for Napa wineries.
    2) Here are some of my recs:

    Stony Hill
    Cliff Lede
    Hope & Grace (tasting room in Yountville)

    and that only scratches the surface.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Midlife

      Failla is a fantastic winery in St. Helena on Silverado Trail, the winemaker is fantastic and well known. Also, second Schramsberg, great tour and fantastic sparkling wine.

      Make sure to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, even a snack at Solbar at Solage, you can't go wrong. Not far from Failla either.

    2. I was in the Napa valley during our stretch of 60 degree weather a couple of weeks ago. I was welcomed warmly and had excellent wines at Robert Sinsky and at Plumpjack.
      Have a great time.

      1. Thank you, all. Great suggestions to follow up on. The Napa threads I found were all older, without recent updates. That's why I posted this. However, from one thread I got the names Elyse, Vincent Arroyo, Darioush, Regusci, and Castillo di Amarosa. Any comments on these or above appreciated. Once I pick my wineries, I'll plan the itinerary. Thanks!

        6 Replies
        1. re: pickypicky

          Well, what kind of wines do you generally like? I always suggest Sinsky and Corison .

            1. re: wolfe

              Thanks, wolfe. Now I know what to avoid! (The Napa Wine Train!) :-)

            2. re: pickypicky

              Darioush is a spectacular stop if you like looking at Persian architecture. Their wine, however, is HOT with alcohol and over-extraction. I find it pretentious and not very good.

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                I had the same experience - love the place, dislike the wine . . .

              2. re: pickypicky

                This might be a little late for you, but if you find yourself in Napa on a Friday evening, check out the JV Wines and Spirits website, specifically, the Tasting Room listings. They have a Friday tasting for $5 where you get to meet the winemaker and all the friendly locals. It is from 5 - 7 p.m. Chef Diane prepares snacks that complement the wines presented.

                Some tasting are more elaborate than others. Last Friday was "Pigs 'n Pinot" for $15. If we tasted every pinot offered, we would land up in the hospital, never mind the jail!

                Everybody in the crowd is friendly, some more opinionated than others!

              3. Alpha Omega on Hwy 29 never disappoints. Don't be so harsh on the Wine Train. Try the sunset run. You will fall in love all over again.

                2 Replies
                1. re: NapaSpy

                  I was deeply unimpressed with Alpha Omega - what do you like there?

                  For the OP, I love Chappellet. Agree that Darioush is spectacular looking but not so great for the wine.

                  1. re: artemis

                    Great diversity of opinion!

                    My take:

                    Schramsburg for the setting, 19th century caves and structured tastings of sparkling wine is a must.

                    Darioush. Unlike some, I hate the architecture (Disney's Persepolis) but enjoy the Merlot. Not washed out and boring.

                    Alpha Omega. Make sure you taste the ERA proprietary red from the barrel. Fabulous.

                    HDV from Hyde Vineyards on Trancas in Napa. Small and intimate with the very best Chardonnay in the Valley.