Wine & Travel

Snooth User: napagirl68

Napa advice holiday time

Posted by napagirl68, Dec 22, 2016.

Yes, my name is a misnomer... I drink so much pinot (scm, Sonoma coast, etc) that I would probably test DNA positive for Dijon clones!

I will find myself up valley for a brief visit soon.  I am wondering if anyone knows some nice wineries  or wine bars to visit off season.  I know some might be closed. I am NOT into the big tour/experience. Just decent wine and nice people, friendly tasting rooms.  Not seeking pinot for this excursion lol- all varietals fair game.. Yeah I know, I should just cross over to Sonoma, but I will be with a group staying in St Helena.  Ideas?



Reply by dmcker, Dec 22, 2016.

No jumping across the hills at all? Still would guess OT has some good suggestions...

Reply by outthere, Dec 22, 2016.

In St Helena proper, Hall, Heitz, Corison $, Del Dotto or as the locals call it Del Blotto! Alpha Omega closer to Rutherford. These will likely be open as other small back road labels will be iffy as far as holiday hours go.

ACME Fine Wines in St Helena will Coravin a few bottles. Great people, off the beaten path, low production wines.

I'll be in the valley today. I'll see if I can get any intel on holiday hours.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 22, 2016.

NG, nice to hear from you again!

Reply by EMark, Dec 22, 2016.

Does Heitz still have the $0 tasting fee?  That seems pretty compelling to me.

Reply by outthere, Dec 22, 2016.

Their regular tastings are complementary.

Reply by napagirl68, Dec 22, 2016.

Thanks all! If any other ideas, keep them coming. Restaurants too, and also wineries in Calistoga. I tried to respond earlier, but still unable to do so with android phone.  A major hindrance here on snooth for me.

Nice to see all the regulars here, and happy holidays to all of you!  JD emailed me for contact info, so hopefully we will all be talking soon! 

Reply by outthere, Dec 22, 2016.
Food: St Helena
  • Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
  • Brasswood
  • Press $$$$
  • Guigni's Deli
  • Cook
  • Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
  • Gott's Roadside

Food: Calistoga

  • Solbar at Solage Resort
  • Evangeline
  • Brannan's Grill
  • Buster's Southern BBQ - very casual/lunch/best tri-tip sandwich in existence
Reply by Really Big Al, Dec 22, 2016.

Have a great time NG.  We love Barnett Vineyards and Duckhorn Vineyards.    

Reply by napagirl68, Jan 1, 2017.

Happy New Year everyone!

I just wanted to post a quick update on our little trip, and thank everyone again for the advice.

We usually like to stop at Bistro Don Giovanni on our way in, and did so this time.  My experience here has always been very good, and was yet again.  One of the best pan seared chickens I have had.. I usually get this dish and it did not disappoint.

Then we were off to taste at Spring mountain vineyards (thanks VV!) .  What a  gorgeous, fairytale-like property!   We tasted with a tiny group outside just before sundown.  We really liked the 2001 Cab, and the Elivette, which is a Cab dominant blend.  Below is a pix of our view.  Not being a "Napa" person per se, this was our favorite stop.

OT, we tried to get into Cook for dinner, but it was pretty full and we were turned away.  To be very honest, I have to say that the folks there were a bit rude, but in all fairness, Napa Valley was the most crowded I've ever seen it this time of year... yikes!!  We didn't make it by ACME, but I've been before and love that shop.  We avoided El Blotto and the creepy castle as we usually do.  Our second day was with a group with arranged plans, so we were at the mercy of others.  We ended up in a couple of Calistoga tasting rooms, which were bleh, so I won't mention them.  Lunch at Calistoga Inn was decent, but nothing to write home about.  It was nice tho to sit outside on the warmest day of our trip- almost 70F.  We did order a Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot.  It was very nice, but no Windy Oaks- LOL!   WO has ruined me for all pinot, I swear!    We did make it to Farmstead, which was fantastic!  I highly recommend the meatballs and the cheddar biscuits... yum!

It was a nice, quick trip, the highlights being Spring Mountain Vineyard tasting, and the dinner at Farmstead. 

Reply by outthere, Jan 2, 2017.

Sorry to hear of your experience at Cook. I should have mentioned they are a small place, showing up without reservations with a party larger than two would be problematic.

So where did you go in Calistoga that was so meh? PM me if you don't want to mention it here. It's just as important to know who to avoid as it is who to visit.

Reply by vin0vin0, Jan 2, 2017.

NG, so glad you enjoyed the Spring Mtn. tasting! The people there seem to get it, great location, excellent laid back attitude and great wine (though not cheap, compared to many other high end Napa cabs, it isn't outrageously expensive either).  We're very much looking forward to being back there in March.

Being thusly inspired, I opened this bottle for my B-day dinner tonight. Nothing fancy, just the CFO and I, baked potato, grilled asparagus, a couple nice filet mignon and this killer cab.

Reply by napagirl68, Jan 2, 2017.

OT-  Yes, I looked up Cook beforehand and saw they were small, and reservations suggested.  It was our arrival evening, so it was just us, party of  two.  I called ~15min before we arrived, and was told there was seating at the bar, to come on in- first come first served.  Of course that is something that can change quickly, and it did.  I understand that totally, and also I don't mind waiting with no reservation.  But the attitude of the host was pretty poor, and we were basically not offered to wait.  Who knows, maybe just an off night or something?  Regarding Calistoga tastings, I will PM you.

Nice bottle, VV!!



Reply by GregT, Jan 2, 2017.

Hey NG - Happy New Year! Hope all's well with you.

Reply by EMark, Jan 2, 2017.

Thanks for the report, NG.  It is always interesting to read wine country trip reports.  I am going to keep Bistro Don Giovanni in mind.  I've certainly driven past it a lot.


Happy B'day, v v.  Coincidentally, it is also my little brother's birthday.

Reply by napagirl68, Jan 2, 2017.

I must've read too fast... Happy Birthday, VV!!!

And Happy New Year, GregT... hope you are doing well.

Reply by vin0vin0, Jan 2, 2017.

Tx for the B-day wishes!  Here's my notes from the '03 Spring Mtn. Vineyard Elivette.

Beautiful Spring Mtn. Vineyard cab blend (88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc).  The perfume nose consists of cocoa powder and ripe raspberry. There's a tongue coating presence of red plum, raspberry, black licorice and tamarind balanced by prominent but fine grained tannin, medium (-) acidity, and a long finish.

Reply by JonDerry, Jan 2, 2017.

Happy bird-day VV!

Reply by MJET, Jan 2, 2017.

Thanks NG for the report. Happy Birthday VV! Sounds like a beautiful wine indeed. 

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