Wine tasting in Napa

I would like to add “vineyard hopping” to my list of favorite things.  We had so much fun driving through the valley ohhing and ahhing at the beautiful views and searching for unique and fun wineries to visit.  We started with two more well-known vineyards, then went with some suggestions and tried two smaller more family run establishments.  We were surely not disappointed and had an absolute blast trying delicious wines and meeting fantastic people!  All four of the following wineries are located in the Calistoga region of Napa Valley.

Clos Pegase
Our first stop was Clos Pegase Winery, a sprawling vineyard that intricately balances the spirit of winemaking with beautiful works of art.  When we walked in, we basically had the whole tasting room to ourselves.  They offer a nice Chardonnay and Merlot that we enjoyed tasting, but nothing that really wowed us.  These are definitely bottles that we would purchase in the liquor store as a stand by for our shelves, but we were looking for a more intimate experience.

Next we headed down the road a bit to Cuvaison Estate Winery.  This lovely property was instantly appealing to us.  They use sustainable wine-growing practices and are a green certified land and winery.  They offer a contemporary take on the classic tasting environment as well as a warm and intimate experience while sampling their wines.  The tree-shaded picnic area and beautifully appointed gardens made for a lovely afternoon.  I adored their Sauvignon Blanc and their Pinot Noir was also quite nice.  All in all it was a lovely tasting experience, I would definitely go back!

B Cellars
Our third stop was B Cellars, as per the suggestion of the woman pouring us our wines at Cuvaison.  The grounds are lovely and the deck where you can sit and enjoy your wines with a food pairing is even lovelier.  We sat overlooking a pond enjoying their unique wine blends.  They offer creatively interpreted wines by using multi-varietal, multi-vineyard blending philosophy that offers a unique perspective on wines with complexity, balance and layers of flavors.  We really enjoyed all of the wines we tasted and bought a couple of bottles and the whole experiences was really fantastic.  The deck was perfect, the wines were spaced out and we didn’t feel rushed to finish and the food pairing was impeccably matched.  Our two favorites were Blend 23 (fresh white with citrus notes) and Blend 24 (bold red, think Super Tuscan style).

Lava Vine
Our final and favorite stop was a small, exclusive to Napa winery called Lava Vine.  Their selection of small production, handcrafted wines are to die for.  We wanted to become case club members, but decided that a down payment for a house needed to be higher on the list than cases of delicious wine.  But after four different tastings at vineyards, we were not so sure, it was a difficult decision.  Regardless, we can’t wait to order some of the wines to share with family and friends.  The whole tasting experience was fantastic.  We pulled into the small parking lot, walked up to what looked like an old barn, and opened the door to everyone in the room cheering (we soon learned this is the regular greeting when new people step into the tasting room).  The staff and all of the people were vibrant and fun and we had a blast. The tasting menu included seven wines, and the pours were not skimpy.  They were also offering some food pairings which were quite delicious as well.  Their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon was fantastic, but rivaled by their 2007 Reserve which was surely a showstopper.  We loved the 2009 Cab Franc and I could hands-down replace my water consumption with their Viognier & Chenin Blanc.  We had a fantastic experience at Lava Vine and would recommend paying them a visit if you like smaller vineyards that are off the beaten path and offer fantastic handcrafted wines.

Our day in Calistoga was truly amazing, and only whet our appetite for all of what the rest of Napa Vally has to offer us on future trips!  Stay tuned for the next post about our afternoon at Frog’s Leap Winery!

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One Comment

  1. Margie west
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi Ali….Wow! I love your “cheater bites” blog. It is so well written and describes everything you mention as if you could taste it or drink it yourself. You and Matt sure experienced a fab time in wine country on your belated honeymoon. And I love your menus and pix. I guess that photo course has paid off!
    Looking forward to seeing you in the burg in July, and cooking up a storm with you and your mom in the 10th Street kitchen!
    cheater bite hugs and kisses,
    Aunt Margie

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