Napa / Sonoma - unique, non-touristy, cult, good value?
We are visiting Napa / Sonoma on Labor day this year, and we are seeking suggestions for wineries that are relatively unique, non-touristy, or serious cult favorites but are still a good value for tasting fees.
We primarily like cabs and pinot noirs, but zins and merlots are okay too. We have been to the area before and have tried Rubicon, Pride, Spring Mountain, Joseph Phelps, Keenan, Arrowood, among others, but we want to try hidden gems away from the typical tourist stops. Also looking to spend ideally less than $20 a person on tasting fees.
So far, we are looking at Smith-Madrone and Heitz (for Martha's Vineyard). Any other suggestions? Are there any cult wines that offer a reasonably priced tasting (most places seem to be $50 a person)? Schoolhouse looked interesting but they are closed that day.
Some suggestions, none of these are "cult" in the Hundred Acre way. I don't remember the tasting fees for any of these being crazy:
In Healdsburg, I would try Valdez wines. I really enjoy them.
In Russian River, Freeman Pinots are solid and I don't remember a huge tasting fee.
Sojourn in the Sonoma square has excellent Pinots and Cabs.
Adastra not too far away from Sonoma square has excellent wines.
Stonestreet in Alexander Valley has solid Chards and Cabs.
I like Corison a lot. Larkmead doesn't have the best hospitality but their wines are solid.
Trespass makes excellent wines (at the bottom of Spring Mountain) - they have a very basic facility, but it is among the vines and they are very friendly.
I recommend the following: In Napa, Corison and Bell for Cabs, Elyse for Zin, In Sonoma, Merry Edwards and Red Car for Pinot, I also agree with the recommendation of Valdez. Happy tasting!