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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  Napa Itinerary - really rough draft!

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Author Topic:   Napa Itinerary - really rough draft!
posted 02-21-2011 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Ok, it's settled then! Napa on Friday, San Fran on Saturday, then Sonoma on Sunday. We love doing some of the tourist things in San Fran and we miss a couple of restaurants there too. My wife loves Sam's and we both think Uncle Vito's is in the top 5 pizza places we have tried (great NY style crust and lots of garlic!)


posted 02-21-2011 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Damombo,

I was just thinking of you. I saw a winery over in the Dry Creek area named Teldeschi that I was not familiar with. I went to their website and to their wines, which include many Zins, and the first description I read said it was "JAMMY".

I have never been up to Hess but I guess I will have to make the trip one time. It is just in a part of the valley that I don't visit. When I do go, I will also stop at Hendry. About a year ago, I attended a wine dinner here in Chattanooga that featured Hendry wines. If I remember correctly, they were pretty good. Have you been there?


posted 02-21-2011 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
We try to visit the Napa side on weekdays and save the Sonoma side for weekends. Just seems less crowded that way. I'm also careful about plotting out our visits so that we don't do a lot of backtracking or left turning across traffic - that's particularly true for Route 29 in Napa Valley, especially on weekends.

I love the drive up to Hess from Napa -that winding road is something we don't have much of here in flat Houston. One time, after leaving Hess, we took Mt. Veeder road over to Oakville Grade, on our way the Cakebread - simply gorgeous views. We stopped to take pictures along the way - a really beautiful drive.


posted 02-21-2011 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message

I just read on Trip Adviser lately that if you are going to take one day to go to SF, do it on a Saturday. The Valley is buzzing, SF all of the business people have left. Sounds like pretty sound advice. UNLESS, you are doing some special tastings and tours that may not be available any other time except the weekend. Personally, I have seen enough BIG cities and I would opt for the tastings.


posted 02-21-2011 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks to both damombo and Hawkeye! I hope to have my wineries list tonight, then try to figure out where we are having lunch and dinner!

Hess is high on my list just because it looks like a beautiful place. Grgrich may work out well because they seem to be open early. The last time we were there, it was crowded, probably because they are right there on the main strip.

I have another question for y'all...it looks like Friday and either Saturday or Sunday will be reserved for wine country. We want to get to San Fran for a day. Any preference for Napa or Sonoma on Friday versus Saturday/Sunday? I was assuming Napa would be busier on the weekend, but I realize the whole area will be. Or will both Napa and Sonoma be equally busy on the weekend?


posted 02-21-2011 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
We have visited all but 3 of those listed (Markham, Rutherford Hill, and Rutherford Ranch)...
Hess is a pretty property and the drive there is beautiful and worth it. The wines were nice, in fact we were in their wine club for a while.
Peju was fun - and we enjoyed most of their wines.
Grgrich and Fransiscan we visited once and knew we didn't need to return. Merryvale, too - Nothing "wowed" us.
Raymond we visited maybe 6 years ago - enjoyed their wines but we haven't been back - not because I wouldn't want to, just haven't managed to fit them in.
Clos Pegase, like Hess, has some interesting art work. We enjoyed tasting there (the staff was a hoot - but this was 2-3 years ago, so staff could change)
Dutch Henry was interesting for one visit - I wasn't impressed with the wine, but my hubby thought it was good.
Frank Family used to be a blast, but since moving into a fancier, classier tasting room, the thrill is gone The wackiness and off-beat fun are not so evident. Wines vary - we've loved them in the past but last visit, in September, didn't impress.
Rombauer blew us away our first visit - loved the Merlot (which we are not normal huge fans of) and the view was lovely. Staff excellent. Went back a year later and were disappointed. Oh well... would probably return to see what's what this time.
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars we visited years ago, before we had worked our courage and price point up to their level So we split a tasting, and quite honestly, by the time we were there, my palate was blown away for the day.
We were members at Clos Du Val for a couple of years around 5 years ago. Enjoyed their wines, but eventually our palates developed away from their style of wine making.

So there you have my experiences at this list - and you can tell that I think all wineries are worth a stop at some point! Some you can tell pretty quickly if you will ever need to come back, but that is totally subjective and up to you.
Of the ones that Hawkeye suggested, I would add my enthusiastic recommendation for Chiarello. We wandered into the Napa Style store in Yountville last February and saw the tasting bar and gave it a shot. They are now one of our favorites! I found out the the winemaker's name is Thomas Brown and we are now actively searching out any wine he has a hand in - the man knows our taste in wine like he's a brother!

and as a side note - yep, UT fans here! But only since our kids went to school there. Before that, not so much, because we both went to U of H and are Cougars at heart. Yep, Hawkeye and I are both UT fans, just different shades of orange (mine is a jammier shade) HA!


posted 02-20-2011 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
I can see nothing wrong with your selections given your criteria. One thing I would suggest is that you drop the ones that you can purchase at home because you are familiar with them. Select some that you do not know and if you find you like their wine, ship some home. Part of the excitement about making a trip to wine country is when you return home and start receiving those wonderful wines you purchased and each time you open a bottle you can relive an experience.

If I were to add some it would probably be in Yountville. You have a whole bunch of tasting rooms within walking distance. You have Girard, Jessup, Hill family, Chiarello, Corrnerstone, Hope & Grace, Ma(i)sonry to name a few. Even though you are in the middle of Cab country, the offer other varietals as well.

Whatever you decide, it will be right for you. Go and enjoy and take home fond memories. Cheers!


posted 02-20-2011 09:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
I have made some progress, but my list is still too long. My criteria has been to choose wineries I am familiar with, either by having tasted their wine, or seen in the store, and adding others that were recommended by friends, forum posts, and websites. I am also sticking with ones that don't require an appointment. I also don't forsee us wanting to take any tours, with the exception of maybe an interesting cave tour. As far as the wines, we are open to both reds and whites. I am more interested in only the Zins when I head over to Sonoma.

So here is my first cut for Napa, just for fun. Feel free to comment, but I won't be offended if you don't. I am just getting this list out there so I can clear my head a little. I tried to put them in a logical order based on the map.

Clos Pegase
Dutch Henry
Frank Family
Rutherford Hill
Rutherford Ranch
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
Clos Du Val

And hopefully I will squeeze in some time to stop at the Wine Garage. (Lunch will happen when it happens!)


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