Napa is beautiful. We meant to go last year as part of our great USA food honeymoon tour, but we couldn't afford the time that it would take to really enjoy this part of the world. Wine tasting in the states is a real pleasure.
The wineries we went to were all customer friendly and most had impressive tasting rooms. So, there wasn't much mystique behind them and you never felt like you were discovering a hidden gem, but I'm on holiday and I want things to be as easy as possible. I also recognise that a lot of people will baulk at the idea of a paying $10-20 dollars for a tasting, but the pleasure we gained from talking to these wine makers for 30 minutes and tasting wines we could only taste in that region is worth the price in my opinion. Two for one offers, and shared tastings make the price even easier to handle. Most of the time the tasting fee was waived when we bought a bottle anyway.
|It's a good idea to keep an eye on the path in front of you when walking in California|
Here are some of our favourite vineyards in and around Yountville
Goosecross, for their Chenin Blanc and our new friend Jose, the Richard Corrigan lookalike
Steltzner for their lovely pinot and the Sonoma info/gossip!
Girard Winery for their world class single vineyard cabernet sauvignons.
Robert Sinskey for brilliant pinots, their casual elegance, their friendly and informed knowledge
Other worthy mentions go to Hill Family
A special mention should go to Hope and Grace wines for their refreshing Riesling and their huge floppy tasting room dog.
We had a very relaxing time in Yountville. The emphasis on wine is infectious but be warned, these canny wineries know how to make you feel like you are getting a bargain even though you are shelling out a lot more money for a bottle that you might back home. In a lot of cases this is price is justified, with very small productions of excellent quality, single vineyard bottles, which you simply cannot outside the state let alone in the UK.
After a few days in Napa we travelled to the quite different Sonoma. More on that to come.