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Apr 1, 2013 06:59 PM

help with napa itinerary Pride Mountain/Spring Mountain/Hall/Cliff Lede/Far Niente/Hess

Hi there, I'll be visiting Napa for a full day on Saturday, and then potentially Sunday morning before I fly home. We are staying at the Andaz Hotel and want to hit Parduxx and Duckhorn as part of our wine club membership.

I'd like to add two more wineries and have narrowed down the list to the following. Which ones are can't misses? I realize the geography is all over, so I have them at least grouped together. I was thinking one more on Saturday and another on Sunday morning would be reasonable.

From combing through the board, I have Pride Mountain and Spring Mountain as the front runners, but would love to hear everyone's suggestions.

Thank you!

Pride Mountain & Spring Mountain

Hall on Rutherford (in between Parduxx and Duckhorn)
Cliff Lede (next to Paraduxx)

Far Niente, is it too stuffy/high brow/touristy?

Hess, is the art collection worth it, or again, more touristy?

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  1. For me, Hall is worth it for the art - as is Hess - moreso than for the wine.

    Far Niente is great for the atmosphere, but other than their botrytis-affected wine, I'm not a huge fan.

    Cliff Lede is another one that does little for me...

    Of all, I would head to Pride on Spring Mountain (not Pride Mountain).

    Where are you eating?

    1. I'd be tempted to stay on that stretch of Silverado Trail, between (or near) Duckhorn and Paraduxx.

      That opens up
      Mumm for late-disgorged and DVX bubbly (Carrie can tell you more) -- love the patio here
      Frog's Leap (right at Rutherford Cross/Conn Creek and Silverado -- wonderful spot) -- exemplary
      Quintessa (extraordinary 2007 and 2008 Cab), unusual building.
      Conn Creek (some really beautiful wines from different districts in Napa Valley)
      Shafer (will need a reservation), Syrah and Cab -- their Relentless wine was declared the Top Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator last year.
      Goosecross (legendary Chardonnay)
      Silverardo (wonderful Chard and Cab, excellent patio and views)
      Pine Ridge has been pumping out very nice wines for many many years -- both red and white. They produce a good number of vineyard-designate wines so I'd opt to do the reserve tasting, or one regular tasting and one reserve.

      I'm not a fan of Cliff Lede wines (I think they're very high in alcohol and out-of-balance) or Hall Wines. I love the building and view from the Hall Winery high up in the hills above Auberge du Soleil (they have another location on Highway 29 next to Dean & Deluca), but the wines are over-ripe and out-of-balance to me.

      In contrast to Carrie, I think the wines of Far Niente are elegant and beautiful -- a non-ML Chard, elegant Cabernet, and late-harvest wine called Dolce (like Sauternes, affected by botrytis). It's not stuffy a bit -- the winery was founded by down-home Oklahomans. It is elegant and classy, but not not snobby. The winery is beautiful -- the building, the grounds, the landscaping, the vintage car collection, and so forth. The guest treatment is friendly and first-class, a la Ritz-Carlton. But it can be tough to get a reservation or the tasting might be a bit expensise for you. So you might want to stick with the wineries on Silverado Trail, unless...

      ...You were going to the Hess Collection. This is an absolutely extraordinary place. Contemporary art collection of the highest order, two tiers of wines (the reasonable "Hess Select" and an upper tier called Hess Collection that shows the beauty of the Mt. Veeder AVA). I'd make the drive to Hess if had the time. It's memorable, especially if you like contemporary art and museum-going.

      Pride is stunning -- one of my favorites all around. It's a bit of a drive up Spring Mountain to the top but well worth it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine

        Thank you so much, Carrie and Maria! I've read a lot of your posts on Chowhound and appreciate your suggestions! I was able to get a reservation at Far Niente, but after thinking about the price and 10a only availability, I am thinking about removing it from the itinerary. Shafer is closed on the weekends. :( Removed Clif Lede per Maria, and added Pride and Hess.

        My schedule now looks like the following:

        SF night prior
        -wait in line to try to get in walk in/same day reservation for State Bird
        -drinks later at night at Local Edition

        10a Pride tasting, will pick up food and eat there afterwards
        12:30 Duckhorn
        2 Paradux
        grace's table happy hour (per Carrie's previous posts)
        bottega for dinner. Maria, I know you are not a fan, but I had a great experience the last time I was here

        Will try to see Hess the following morning.

        Do I have more time to add in on more winery on the first Napa day? Any places I can pick up food in the morning prior to getting to Pride at 10? Otherwise, I think my schedule is almost set!

        Thank you!

        1. re: lakerblues

          <<Any places I can pick up food in the morning prior to getting to Pride at 10?>>

          I like Sunshine Market in St. Helena -- at Highway 29 (Main Street) and Spring St. Look for the Wells Fargo.

          1. re: lakerblues

            You misunderstood. The happy hour at Grace's Table is good because of the food: half-price appetizers that will fill you up on a budget. They don't have cocktails. I seriously doubt you will want dinner after.

            Bottega (which I also don't care for) *or* Grace's Table. No need to do both.

            As Maria suggested, consider adding Mumm; it is near Duckhorn and Paraduxx and would be a nice way to finish the day.

            1. re: CarrieWas218

              Got it. I will add Mumm, and now I have a full itinerary. Thank you!

        2. At Spring Mountain, we had a prescheduled tour and tasting, and I must say the views from up high were the most beautiful I've ever seen in Napa Valley. Winding up the mountain was terrifying!

          Far Niente was also a wonderful experience. The grounds are gorgeous.

          We visit Cliff Lede every year. There is an orange tabby named Caesar there I like to stop in and see.

          I realized I haven't mentioned the wine. I love Far Niente, Spring Mountain and Cliff Lede cabs and Cliff Lede has some really interesting blends as well. If I have to drink a white, I'm likely to reach for Spring Mountain sauvignon blanc.