This is part two of my Napa Valley Gastronomic Tour – Top 10 Winery Experiences. As I mentioned in part 1, I love balanced wine that pairs wells with savory food. I also love great experiences. This post will cover some wineries with awesome views, hidden gem tasting rooms, and wineries off the beaten path. I know that you may have a favorite winery that may not be represented in this post, so leave a comment on the bottom of this post and let me know your favorites.
Previous Napa Valley Gastronomic Tour Posts
Wineries with a View
1345 Henry Rd, Napa – Hours: 10am-5pm (last tasting at 4:30)
Tasting Fee: Starting at $15 Walk-ins welcome http://www.artesawinery.com
Artesa is a family winery, owned by the Raventos Family of Spain who wine making history dates back to the sixteenth century. The property is perhaps the most beautiful of the entire Sonoma and Napa valleys, sitting at a high elevation, this modern structure is built into the hillside.
Aside from the wonderful views, I loved their wines. This winery is known for producing small, ultra-premium lots of grapes in Napa, and Carneros Appellations. The winemaker Mark Beringer comes from a long family history of winemakers starting with his grandfather Jacob Beringer of the famous winery. His skills speak in the flavors of the wine.
My favorite wines at Artesa included the 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is not my favorite wine, although the Pinot Noirs from Artesa was amazing. . This soft and fruit forward wine is delicious for any level of wine drinker.
1240 Duhig Road, Napa, CA 94559 – 10am-6:00
Tour and Tasting: $30 – Reservations Required – Tours at 11am-1pm-3pm - http://www.domainecarneros.com/
Domaine Carneros has great wine tasting in a French Style Chateau with a patio overlooking the Carneros vineyards. If you like sunsets, visit near the end of the day to enjoy wine and sunsets. Keep in mind that this winery works as a tour and tasting, so allow yourself sometime and be sure to make a reservation. Domaine Carneros is known for their sparkling wines and Pinot Noirs. This is the same winery that operates the Taitinger label.
Great Tasting Rooms
Elizabeth Spencer Wines
1240 Duhig Road, Napa, CA 94559 -10am-6pm
Tasting: $20 in tasting room, $25 in Courtyard - Walk-ins Welcome - http://www.elizabethspencerwines.com/
This Winery’s tasting room is pure boutique and a great find if you are looking for something different and is located next to Cakebread Cellars. The tasting room is really small, but the greater pleasure is sitting under their covered patio in the garden. While resting under a cool veranda, I sipped Elizabeth Spencer wine while gazing out at their garden. Life is too short for cheap wine and Elizabeth Spencer made my day.
My favorite wine was their 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The cab is produced from grapes in almost every Napa appellations. The aroma of the wine was red rose, raspberry and English flower candy. The wine has a berry flavor that was full on the palate with hints of mulling spices and chocolate.
1234 Adams St, St Helena, CA 94574 -10am-8pm
Tasting Fee: Cookie Pairing: – Walk-ins welcome http://www.tamberbey.com/
This winery was perhaps one of our favorite accidental discoveries. This place is one of the hidden gems of Napa, tucked off Highway 29 in Downtown St. Helena. I almost passed this place up, thinking that it was, “just another tasting room.” Sometimes your instincts should be ignored.
When you visit, be sure to take them up on the Savory cookie pairing option! Your wines will be paired with cookies specifically crafted to match and enhance the wine. As we sampled the wine and tasted the cookie, the flavor characteristics of the wine changed. The savory cookies simulate how the wine would pair with a meal. What a great experience.
Our favorite wine was the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville. This is a dark colored wine and it packs a a punch; I called this wine the velvet hammer. The flavor was cherries, currants and cola. On the back end, the flavors turn to dark chocolate, leather, and sweet cherries. This was a smooth Cabernet Sauvignon.
Off the Beaten Path
1119 State Ln, Yountville, CA 94599 10am-4:30pm
Tasting Fee: $15 Reservations Required! http://goosecross.com/visit-us/
Located on the Silverado Trail in Yountville, Goosecross provides an experience of what Napa used to be like. With a focus on customer intimacy, you will get to enjoy a semi-private wine tasting experience. I highly recommend that you experience their “Topflight Reserve” tasting experience, which is an intimate tasting in their barrel cellars. This tasting includes cheese and bread sticks.
1000 Lodi Ln, St Helena, CA 94574 Hours: 10:00- 4:00 (last call 3:30)
Tasting Fee: $30 - Reservations Required! http://www.duckhorn.com/
This is one of my favorite wines and wineries in Napa. Located off Silverado Trail in St.Helena, Duckhorn Cellars has a pretty property with gardens, lakes and ducks. This winery provides a personalized wine tasting experience, with seated tastings from their wine educators. I recommend that you spend the extra $30 for the food accompaniment!
My favorite wine at Duckhorn was their 2009 Duckhorn Vineyward Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Patzimaro Vineyard. Although this was not a cheap wine, it was smooth and velvety. This wine is like a wild lion who has been tamed into a house cat, strong yet gentle in approach.
Find your own favorite winery using the Winery Finder App: Read more about it on my Wife’s Blog http://danisdecadentdeals.com/2013/08/01/how-to-wine-taste-in-napa-valley-for-a-nominal-fee-winery-finder-application/