My wife and I recently took a trip to California and spent three days in Napa. It was a great experience! This is going to be a very big post, so I will apologize ahead of time. I thought
people would like photos with the comments. We visited 7 wineries in total. We took our time at each one and spoke to the staff and tried to get as much info as possible. Some people were doing the opposite. They were trying to visit as many wineries as possible and getting pretty tanked. It's best to take your time and enjoy a couple at a time and the wine will taste better as well.
We visited Coppola's Rubicon. The grounds and building are beautiful. I have to admit we didn't like the wines much. They were too peppery/spicy for us. The tour wasn't what we were expecting. The tour guide spoke so fast that we really couldn't follow him and we never got to see the caves or wine cellars. We're big fans of Bram Stoker's Dracula and I couldn't wait to see the costumes that were there ... but they are no longer there. I was a little bummed about that. The staff were very nice and we had fun talking with one of the Tasting Hosts.
Next was St. Clement. They were also very nice. We really enjoyed their 2006 Syrah Carneros and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon the most. We tried others and they were good too ... we weren't disappointed.
Peju Winery was fantastic. The staff were fun and the wines were all enjoyable. The 2006 Zinfandel was superb. Blueberry with tones of vanilla and more silky, which we really like. The 2006 Zin Port was UNREAL. We don't usually like the Port wines, but this one was sweet, but had so much flavor. It was a bit expensive, but if you're going to spend a decent amount on a bottle, you want it to be worth it. This Port was worth it. We hope to get a bottle soon.
Our next stop was V. Sattui. The wines were good, but not sensational to me. However, we really did like their Family Red Table Wine. The deli food was very tasty and we enjoyed sitting outside with beautiful weather. You can drink your wine and have a nice picnic lunch there, which many wineries do not have available.
Then on to Chateau Montelena. The 1800's building was stunning. This is the now famous winery that was portrayed in the movie Bottle Shock. We tried that Chardonnay that was mentioned in the film. It was buttery and very good, but I wasn't about to shed a tear over it, as they practically do in the film. We usually don't like Reisling at all because it's too sweet for us, but their Reisling was too good to pass up.
Folie a Deux is one of our favorite wineries. We LOVE Menage a Trois! It's very fruit forward and always seems to be consistent in flavor. The staff was also great and we bought a Vinturi Aerator there. We were very skeptical at first, but we tested the wine with and without it. It really does work. It brings out the flavor and gives it a big bouquet. If anyone is wondering about the Vinturi Aerator, we can say from experience that it is worth the money. You don't have to wait for the wine to breathe in a decanter, just pour it through that Aerator and that's it.
Last and certainly not in the slightest bit least is Silver Oak. They only produce Cabernet Sauvignon and nothing else. They told us about losing their property to a bad fire and having to rebuild. Everything there is beautiful as well. The wines are very expensive, but the flavor is absolutely exceptional! Another wine that is worth the high price tag. You do get what you pay for. The staff were great and we had a great time there. They sent us home with two new Silver Oak glasses for buying a tasting. We noticed they seemed to have the largest pour out of all of the tastings we went to. Be sure you've had plenty to eat before visiting with them.
If anyone has any other questions about these wineries or any of their wines, we'll answer anything. We also have a list of what we tasted, if anyone is interested. Any wine lover will not be disappointed. Just keep in mind that weekends have horrible traffic. Weekdays are busy too, but more tolerable. Keep a cooler with ice because if you buy wine from the wineries, they need to be protected from that heat. Heat in a vehicle will hurt the wine. We had our wine shipped to our home by Stage Coach and it has been perfect.
There were beautiful views no matter where you were. We didn't make it to Sonoma, so maybe next time.
Napa was AWESOME
- Reply by John Andrews, Jul 11, 2010.
Thanks for sharing the pictures and your experiences with us. Napa is definitely a wonderful place to visit. Next time you are in the area should definitely stop in and visit us in Sonoma!
- Reply by Carly Wray, Jul 12, 2010.
What a terrific posts -- your photos are stunning and envy-inducing! Glad to hear the trip was a success ... and I definitely agree that selecting a handful of wineries and doing them with greater focus (instead of the mad drink-and-dash so many visitors do) is the best Napa strategy.
- Reply by StevenBabb, Jul 12, 2010.
this is an excellent post! i'm glad you included the pictures.... too many visitors drink to get drunk and don't stop to enjoy the wine and winery experience.....
- Reply by BlendsWell, Jul 12, 2010.
Thank you! Glad everyone is enjoying the photos. I would have shown more, but I didn't want to flood the post. I took so many photos. Is there a photo gallery section on this forum? If not, maybe one could be created.
Yes, it's much better to take your time and relax. Enjoy the views and talk with some of the staff there. Some people just go to say they were there. We also agreed that the wine wouldn't taste as good if we visited too many at once.
- Reply by VegasOenophile, Jul 12, 2010.
Great photos. You can't expect the Montelena chardonnay to be the same as the one that wowed the crowd in 1976. Every vintage is different. hehehe
I enjoyed some of those same wineries.
- Reply by dmcker, Jul 12, 2010.
Don't be bashful, do throw up whatever other pictures you think might be interesting to us...
And welcome to Snooth.
- Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Jul 13, 2010.
I don't particularly enjoy Silver Oak (or many other choices you listed), but your photos are amazing. Thank you very much!