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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  February 2011 Trip

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Author Topic:   February 2011 Trip
posted 01-18-2011 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
TLovesWine, Here is another place for Pinot.
http://www.sojourncellars.com/ I had thought it was RC reauesting info about Pinots but it was you instead. They have 4 new Pinots releasing in January.


posted 01-16-2011 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi TLuvsWine,
You will have no problem finding outstanding Chards around Napa AND Sonoma. Most will be oaked, but some un-oaked. You will also be able to find some Syrah scattered around. Now you get to your Pinot and you become pretty limited in the Napa area. Signorello on the Silverado Trail shows a Pinot, but we have never tasted it but will in March. Girard in Yountville has a tasty Pinot and an incredible tasting room. Do their wine and food pairing for a great time. Ask for Eric to be your server.

The Reynolds Family Winery on the Silverado Trail shows several Pinots in their lineup. We have not tasted them but plan to in March.

Elizabeth Spencer Winery on the Rutherford Road lists several Pinots and even a Syrah. Again, we will be tasting them in March.

In Sonoma, Ramey shows a couple Syrah's. Steven and Walker Trust Winery shows several Pinot's. Also, while over in Sonoma, try some of the outstanding Zins of Wilson, Mauritson, and Passalacqua along the Dry Creek Road. While in that area, visit Papapietro Tasting Room for some very good Pinot that we HAVE tasted.

Armida Winery, south of Healdsburg lists several Pinots along with Syrah. Again, we will be tasting these in March.

Go into Healdsburg and taste at Williamson tasting room for a real treat. The fee is ZERO for a wine and taste (it is not enough to be called food) but it compliments the wine very well. It is a fun place, also.

I believe most tasting rooms are what you make them. If you are in a fun mood, they will accommodate you. If you are just in a tasting mood and don't want to be bothered, they will accommodate you. It is what you make it.

If you would like a nice experience, make an appointment at Chase Family Winery on the south edge of St. Helena. Jeff Blaum the manager is very knowledgeable and takes you from the vines to the bottle . . . and what a bottle, they make some of the best Zins around. Email Jeff at jeff@chasecellars.com and tell him the guy from Tennessee sent you.

Have a great time and be sure to let us know what you do and share your experiences. You don't need to break down the wine into smells, tastes, etc., most of us on this board cannot do that . . . just tell us that you like it and why.

Some of the above wineries are by appointment and some just walk in. You can go to their websites and check them out to see if the fit your fancy.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 01-16-2011).]


posted 01-16-2011 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
There are a couple of books out there that focus on 'off the beaten path" wineries in both Napa and Sonoma.
I think its the Lonely Planet travel series that offers Napa: Off the Beaten Path and then there is a cute little hardback called Back Lane Wineries of Napa Valley that has terrific information. The only thing is that I don't know when the last publish date is so it could have some outdated info, but its worth a look.
An unexpected but very helpful reference for the small gems is the SF Chronicle. I haven't used it for a while as I have more experience with the area now but when we were just starting we really valued the tasting room reviews in the Wine section of the Chronicle.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 01-16-2011).]


Junior Member
posted 01-10-2011 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLuvsWine     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for all of the responses thus far!

As far as the type of wine I like - I do not have a specific preference. I enjoy Chardonnay, Syrah, and Pinot, but I'm not limited

As far as where I am looking to go - we are open to anything. We are staying in Napa, but will obviously be venturing around. I would love to find a special place off the beaten path! I'm just trying to get an idea of where we want to go so I can plan. I like to make itineraries for a trip...


posted 01-10-2011 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message

My wife & I are also still novices and really inexperienced when it comes to tastings and evaluating the depths of the wine.....we just know what we like and don't like.

Some places that we have had great experiences in Napa:

Chateau Montelena in North Calistoga. Christina was absolutely great there. She took time with us and made us feel at home.

Castello di Amorosa in St Helena. Impressive property...will probably be crowded. We met a couple from Alabama as well when we were at the bar and started up conversation. The pourer didn't get short or start ignoring us.....instead he kept pouring & pouring & pouring. Brought us chocolates to pair up with the wines and just got involved with all of us. Great experience there.

V Sattui. Owns the Castle as well. Someone said it best in another post: go there for the deli and not the wine or the tasting experience.

Cakebread. Always had a good time there.

Grgich Hills. Great people behind the counter...always have been friendly, insightful, and pleasant.

Hope this helps.


Petite Syrah
Junior Member
posted 01-10-2011 10:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Petite Syrah     Edit/Delete Message

Are you looking for wineries off 29 or Silverado Trail? Or... are you game to go off the beaten path to a few great tasting rooms that treat you like one of the family?


posted 01-09-2011 11:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi there 'T' and welcome to the boards. I'm up late tonight so I'll see if I can help for now and leave the really experienced Napa visitors to be more specific.
Though we are really Sonoma folks, we have visited in Napa and I will say that dealing with inexperienced winetasters is something that the servers are accustomed to and usually handle very well. Our very first wine adventure was in Napa and we had NO idea what we were doing, but we found that simply being "up front" with our servers was the best way to get thoughtful and helpful advice regarding the wines and the whole tasting experience. They don't really seem to take to the folks who come in spouting a bunch of wine jargon as well as they do the folks who ask genuine questions with honest curiosity.
We had really wonderful experiences at Silver Oak, BV and Franciscan...all of those servers were really super kind to us newbies and made great suggestions about how to taste a flight and what "notes" to look for in the wines. The fellows at BV were particularly thoughtful- even doing some blending and spending extra time with us to help explain different nuances of some of the wines. These are all big producers of course, but at the time that was all we knew to try and it worked well for us. We did go to other facilities, but those were the 3 that still stand out (years later) as being really helpful and without that snooty attitude that some of the Napa houses have the reputation for.
If you've been tasting around Lodi, then you already have a feel for what to do...the process is the same everywhere and spitting is definitely not frowned upon.
I suspect that you will find tasting fees in Napa County higher than around Lodi ( isn't that Amador County?) and the tasting rooms will probably be more crowded, especially on weekend days. There are some places that offer discount coupons both online and in town- the visitor center and the newstand freebie publications such as Wine Country This Week are very good sources. If your lodging has a conceirge, definitely take advantage of those services because those are the folks who can really help you plan a great first visit. Because they know the staffs and vintners they can steer you toward appropriate places to suit your tastes after talking with you for just a few minutes. We were so glad to have had that little perk because the conceirge at our hotel was able to steer us to some smaller producers where it wasn't so crowded and to provide complimentary tasting tickets and other discounts; you don't pay extra for that service so take advantage of it if its available.
Hope this helps a little. Hawkeye, Cabgirl, Damambo - well most everybody on here- is really more familiar with Napa than I, but maybe this will get you started. If you want to branch over to the Sonoma region during your visit, I may be able to help with more specifics over there.
By the way, if you could tell us what types of wine you like, it would help with making suggestions for where to go.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 01-09-2011).]


Junior Member
posted 01-09-2011 10:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLuvsWine     Edit/Delete Message

I am currently planning a trip to Napa in February and I'm having some trouble deciding where to go. I have read through a large majority of posts, which has helped, but wanted to see if there were some "can't miss" places.
It will just be the 2 of us. We are from the Lodi area and taste there often. We are by no means experienced, but enjoy tasting and meeting people.
I noted, and agree with Hawkeye's comments regarding friendly tasting rooms. Because we are inexperienced, I would like to go to some welcoming places that will not look down on us.
Any help you can offer would be great. We plan to be there Feb 12th through 15th.

Thank you in advance!


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