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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  1st Visit Plan

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Author Topic:   1st Visit Plan
kibbonie
Junior Member
posted 05-30-2011 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kibbonie   Click Here to Email kibbonie     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for all the input. I will definately change some plans based upon your responses. I appreciate your help, and will be sure to write a review after we return.

IP: 67.174.1.9

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-29-2011 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hawkeye here with another 2c worth on Sonoma.

On day 2 you are doing a lot of driving after Armida. From there you go up to Mauritson. While there, why not visit Wilson with many award winning Zins and Passalacqua for several varietals. I am not as enamored of Stryke as Yesilovewine, I thought their Zins left a lot to be desired and lacked enough body for me.

Don't pay any attention to the banter between me, Damombo, and Yesilovewine, the days get long and we just need something to help pass the time.

Have a great trip and remember to post about your experiences.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 05-29-2011).]

IP: 173.247.8.79

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-29-2011 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
HMMMMMM, do I feel some chain-pulling going on here????? Again?
Well, here's to you guys....

Kibbonie,
Are you staying in the town of Sonoma or elsewhere in the county- it makes a difference in the planning process. For example, your jaunt between Ledson and Gary Farell is a solid 30 minutes, possibly more...there are several equally good, possibly better wineries between, depending on your interest.
Personal assessments of the ones you've listed:
Ledson: we like many of their wines and have been club members there. Most of the servers are really great and with over 70 wines on the tasting list its hard to leave without finding something you've enjoyed.
J- one of our least favorite visits ever. We had the unfortunate occasion to be served by a young man who was totally ignorant about the wines and who was not adept at service in general. Not sure if this affected our impression, but we didn't care for the wines. That said, in the meantime I have been told over and over that the "only" way to taste at J is to make an appointment for the Bubble Room pairing experience.
Armida: Can't say enough good things here, we had an exceptional tasting and find we like the wines a lot. The grounds are lovely and the people are too.
Mauritson: Another personal favorite. Tends to be EXTREMELY crowded on the weekends, so if you can manage it on a weekday it would be better. They are known for the Rockpile Zins they produce, with good reason, but they also make a very good sauv. blanc
Stryker: We have loved Stryker for a long time, but our last 2 visits were not as good as before. The tasting room staff on those visits just wasn't up to the standard of our previous experience. We love the wines, again the zin in particular, but they also make a very good Cabernet.
As an aside, in case you didn't know, Gary Farell was sold to one of the conglomerates about 2 years ago and the things I have read about it since the change have not been very positive. There was an especially interesting commentary on it by one of the writers for wine pages.com who had tasted there before and after.
Damombo is correct though in saying that its all relative- wine tasting is a really personal experience and so go with your gut, not on any one person's say so.
If you would say where you're staying in Sonoma and what your wine preferences are I might be able to make some suggestions for grouping more efficiently.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 05-29-2011).]

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 05-29-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

damombo
Member
posted 05-29-2011 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Shoot - I'd be on either side if they want to add me to a payroll!! If she has that figured out, she needs to tell us how to get in on the action
She is a passionate Sonoma supporter, you are a passionate Napa supporter, and I spilt my time pretty equally between the two - and we three keep as many wineries in business as we can! Good for all of us - keeping the economy of California booming!!

IP: 96.8.187.200

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-29-2011 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Join the crowd!!! But, I love her to death for her passionate defense of Sonoma. I feel as passionately about Napa. Do you suppose she is on the Sonoma payroll?

IP: 173.247.8.79

damombo
Member
posted 05-29-2011 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Oh Hawkeye - you are so like me that I NEVER think that! It's that Yesilovesmesomewine girl that confuses me sometimes

IP: 96.8.187.200

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-29-2011 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Damombo,

Glad you are back with the living. I am insulted to think that you might not like the wines that I do. I thought our palates were pretty much on the same level.

IP: 173.247.8.79

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-29-2011 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Kibonie,

WOW, what a tall order . . . quality of wine? I would guess that would change with each person that tastes. What I like, you might not like and vice versa.

But, here, I will give it a try.
Truchard would be your logical first stop on your drive from Sonoma. We have not tasted here, so can give you no direction.

Jarvis is east out of Napa. You must have a reason for wanting to visit this winery as it is really out-of-the-way. We have not tasted here but I understand their wines are excellent and on the high end. Please give us feedback on Jarvis after you visit.

Darioush would be a logical stop after Jarvis. Another that we have not tasted so can give you no feedback. Personally, I would skip Darioush and go over on Big Ranch Road and taste at Robert Biale (appointment) for some world class Zinfandel.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars or Stag's Leap Winery? There is a BIG difference. The Wine Cellars make some wonderful Cabs that we like tremendously.

Baldacci . . . one of our all time favorites. They make some Cabs that are out of this world. A logical stop after Stags' Leap Wine Cellars.

Opus One. We have never tasted here, I just refuse to pay what they ask for a tasting. I understand that it is a cult wine. As a suggestion for a different winery, you might try Sawyer (next door to Cakebread) where they have one of the best Merlots that we have tasted. Also, a very nice Cab and Chard.

Cakebread. Some good Cabs and other varietals.

A suggestion . . . you might consider making an appointment at Chase Family Wineries. This is one of those small wineries where you get very personal attention. At the south end of St. Helena on Sulpher Springs Road, the make outstanding Zins from the 100 year old Hayne Vineyard which is one of the vineyards that Helen turley Brown sourced grapes for her famous Zins. Jeff, the winery manager will give you a tour beginning in the 100 year old vineyard and take you on to an amazing tasting.

These are in logical order. You are passing a lot of world class wineries so if you find some extra time, just pull off and stop at one.

Day 5, you are traveling a long distance today.

Hall Rutherford is one of the nicest tastings that you can do. It is getting there, up a long winding road that you begin to wonder if you will ever get there. But, when you do, you are on top of the world. Their cave tasting is elegant as are their wines. This one you will enjoy.

By Phelps, I am assuming that you mean Joseph Phelps. We will be tasting there for the first time in October but have had their Cabs which are outstanding.

Sterling. The tram ride is nice. In my opinion, the wines are marginal. Unless you just want the tram ride, you might consider going out north of Calistoga a short distance and taste at Bennett Lane. Another small winery that one of their wines is a Cab blend called Maximus which is about the best tasting $35.00 bottle of Bordeaux blend I ahve ever tasted.

Chateau Montelena. Are you doing the "Bottle Shock" tour. We really enjoyed it. For $40.00, at the end you receive a split of their Chard and an autographed DVD of the movie. If you want to taste the Cabs, they charge another fee which I thought was tacky.

As I said before, Your selections are in logical order and you must have some reason for wanting to visit each of them. You do pass some very good wineries, so if you find yourself running ahead of schedule, drop in on some. OR, make another trip back in the future.

Have a great trip and remember to send us a report when you return.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 05-29-2011).]

IP: 173.247.8.79

damombo
Member
posted 05-29-2011 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Kib - I apologize if this isn't what you were looking for, but I haven't gotten any good feedback regarding Darioush or Opus One. The people I have spoken with over the years who have visited these two were not impressed with the overwhelmingly snooty attitude of the people who worked there. The arrogance completely overshadowed the memory of what the wine was like for these folks. That being said, I am also of the opinion that if you want to visit someplace, by all means go and see it for yourself. Everyone's experience can be different. Even though I respect and admire many of my fellow posters, sometimes I read their opinion of a place and find myself thinking Really? You loved/hated that?? But I hated/loved it!! So, go and experience and then come back and share!

The rest of the places you have listed look fantastic - we are either now or have been members at many of the ones you are going to visit. Have you made your reservations/appointments at the ones who require it? Cakebread will require an appointment, I'd imagine that Opus One might. Baldacci asks that you make an appointment. I'm sure that you will find that info on each winery's website.

Have a wonderful trip!

IP: 96.8.187.200

kibbonie
Junior Member
posted 05-29-2011 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kibbonie   Click Here to Email kibbonie     Edit/Delete Message
Staying in Sonoma 1st two nights and downtown Napa next three. I put the Caneros stop the day we move along with Jarvis and Darioush somewhat close by.

Looking for feedback on tasting rooms, service, wine quality...basically anything.

We like cabs, pinots, and chards mainly.

I tried to keep the wineries somewhat near eachother, I really am interested in the ones I listed.

Thanks again.

Thanks again.

IP: 98.206.158.84

Hawkeye
Member
posted 05-29-2011 05:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Bonnie,

I think I may be able to help you with the Napa side, but as Yesiolvewine says, we need more info. Where are you staying? Why so few wineries listed each day? What types of wine do you like? etc. Then we can help.

You are all over the place with your wineries. Any special reason you put them in that order? You will spend a lot of your tasting time driving.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 05-29-2011).]

IP: 173.247.8.79

yesilovewine
Member
posted 05-28-2011 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi kibbonie and welcome!
I didn't see a cross post on Sonoma, so I'll ask questions here if that's ok.
I'm really a Sonoma person, so I will leave the Napa portion of your trip to the folks who know that side of the mountains. Its easier to make suggestions if we know what wines your prefer and where you are staying, so if you'd share that info it would be helpful.
I've been to all on your Sonoma list except for Gary Farrell and Rochiolli....what kind of feedback are you looking for?

IP: 98.232.221.183

kibbonie
Junior Member
posted 05-28-2011 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kibbonie   Click Here to Email kibbonie     Edit/Delete Message
OK, booked 2 days in Sonoma and 3 in Napa. I have my days tentatively planned, but would appreciate on some feedback on the places I plan to visit. Thanks for your help:

Day 1 - Ledson, Gary Farrell, Rochioli
Day 2 - J, Armida, Mauritson, Stryker
Day 3 - Truchard, Jarvis, Darioush
Day 4 - Stags Leap, Baldacci, Opus One, Cakebread
Day 5 - HALL Rutherford, Phelps, Sterling, Chateau Montelina

Any advice on good choices or better choices on this route would be much appreciated.

[This message has been edited by kibbonie (edited 05-28-2011).]

IP: 98.206.158.84

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