Wine & Travel

Snooth User: twillson

2nd Time to CA Wine Country

Posted by twillson, Aug 11, 2010.

I'm looking for suggestions for wineries to visit.  My wife and I went to Sonoma last April, and we are going again this September.  We have 4 days planned in the following wine regions- Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino.  We felt out Sonoma pretty well last time (by no means did we go to all the wineries, but we experienced some good diversity).  This time, we're looking for 4-8 wineries in Napa, and 4 or so in Mendocino.  We're going to hit a few in Sonoma that we didn't get to last year, specifically Silver Oak, and Gun-Bun, and maybe a couple others. . .  We like mostly reds, everything from Zin to Cab.  Our favorite tastings from last trip were at the Ty Caton/Muscardini tasting room in Kenwood.  Ferrari Carano and Lancaster were also favorites.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks!


Reply by rposeyca, Aug 28, 2010.

Napa:  Castello di Amorosa; great winery to visit and do a wine / food paring (schedule ahead).  Good wines and the winery is a Castle that was shipped rock-by-roch from Italy, all 121,000 sq ft.  3 levels underground and 3 above.  Ehlers Winery just down the road.  One of the first wineries in Napa.  Great Cabs.  Sonoma:  Chalk Hill food & wine pairing.  Excellent wine, unbelievable food. Must schedule in advance.  Cheers!!

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 29, 2010.

Napa:  Bennett Lane in Calistoga; Arger-Martucci in St. Helena; Robert Sinskey (Silverado Trail- love this one!), Vincent Arroyo (Calistoga), Clos Pegase (Calistoga).

Anderson Valley (before Mendo):  claudia springs, harmonique in Philo (pinots are great); Esterlina (pinots again).  I also love Roederer, but they are sparkling wine, such wonderful sparkling wine.  I would say.. stop here!!  But if you don't like sparklers, then skip.  Overall, as far as reds go, pinots are done best in this area..


Reply by napagirl68, Aug 29, 2010.

Forgot to mention Pacific Star north of Ft. Bragg... right on an ocean bluff... tooo absolutely gorgeous.  I did like their wines as well (vines from inland, of course).  I think I bought the pinot and a red blend.

Bring a picnic or cheeses with you and take that drive north a bit... picnic tables overlooking the ocean on bluffs.  And the time of year you are going should be nice :-)  There is no food service, and it is a bit remote, so have fun packing a lunch.  And while in mendo, visit Mendocino Cafe (I actually prefer them for lunch for some reason).

Reply by outthere, Aug 29, 2010.

A must stop in Mendocino is Cafe Beaujolais. Great breakfas,t lunch or dinner.

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 29, 2010.

Cafe Beaujolais is another great one, outthere.  Their gardens are gorgeous too, if you can sit outside...  The food was really good, but not fabulous to me, but only tried it once.

955 Ukiah St Restaurant was recommended to us for dinner by our innkeepers, who we adore.  We thought it was fine, not great but fine.   Worth a shot tho.

 Mendo Cafe was GREAT once for us, sad the next time (hit and miss).  For lunch, after a morning's hiking at Russian Gulch, we had lunch at Mendocine Cafe.. had grilled chicken sandwich (free range, organic, perfectly cooked.) Hubby had some other thing.. some thai hot pot that was fantastic.  Came back for dinner, and the pasta I ordered was watery, bland.. the service lacking.  So who knows?   If I could recreate that lunch, I'd give it 4 stars for sure!  That first lunch trumped other restaurants in the area...maybe less busier times are better for this restaurant?

BTW- we love staying at the Agate Cove Inn.. Emerald or Amber room... we've been staying there for a few years now.

Reply by Mkir, Sep 6, 2010.

Since you enjoy Zins, consider stopping by Robert Biale (south end of Napa Valley) or Storybook Mountain (north end).  Their wines are two of my favorites in that area.

Reply by dynowine, Sep 6, 2010.


I just visited a shop just north of St. Helena, over the hill from Sonoma, called "A Dozen Vintners" with 12 boutique wineries represented from the area.  Not a winery but easy on the driving with lunch at the Silverado Brewing Co. just a few yards away.  Tim Mertz was hosting at the Vintner shop, and some of the wines were fabulous.

Heard good things about Darioush, another winery in the area, from a restaurant owner in the area.


Reply by dmcker, Sep 6, 2010.

Don't know if you've done a search of past Snooth forum threads, but there's really a lot to be gained from hunting down and reading through those about touring the wine country north of San Francisco. Two good ones to start with are Going to Napa and Going to Sonoma.

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