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Snooth User: dvogler

Napa must sees

Posted by dvogler, Feb 26, 2015.

Hi All,

A friend in Brazil sent me a message requesting my advice for some wineries to visit in Napa and one that would be memorable to stay at.

I couldn't possibly make such recommendations.  I feel like steering him to Sonoma, but for them I believe they have "Napa" on the brain.  I'm sure OT could give a thousand in Sonoma, but ten would be fine!  Some for Napa would be great, one with accommodations.

Thanks,

Darren

 

 

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Replies

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Reply by GregT, Feb 26, 2015.

Never thought about it but I don't know if there even are any with accommodations. I kind of hope there aren't. I hate the idea of building hotels and golf courses and casinos rather than vineyards. If their whole point is tourism more than wine, they should visit Coppola's winery as he has all kinds of movie memorabilia. More wine related, they should visit Mondavi. It's historical and gives them a good idea of winemaking. Then they should also visit Beaulieu Vineyard - it's one of the best deals, historic, and they can taste a whole line-up of wines. Up at the other end of the valley, Beringer is also a historic place. That and BV are a few of the oldest, Mondavi is one of the most influential and then they should visit Stags Leap, which was one of the wineries that put CA on the world wine map.

After that they should go next door and visit Steltzner, which will demonstrate for them that quality doesn't necessarily always correlate with price - Steltzner's best is way cheaper than Stags Leap.

That would kind of give them a context. Then it starts to be a question of how important it is to visit big names, etc. None of the wineries so far is anything like a "cult" wine producer. Of course, everyone wants to go to the producers of the most expensive wines and wants to be treated like they're really special but I don't get that unless you're really going to be a big buyer or for some reason have to get into those wineries. So people want to go to Shafer, Schrader, Della Valle, Bryant, etc.

However, while there's nothing wrong with those places, I'd kind of poke around for smaller places thar don't get huge press all over. 

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 26, 2015.

Budget?

If it's not an issue, steer them to a place like L'Auberge de Soleil. Great connections via the concierge with many wineries in the area, and even though it's pricey the accommodations are seemingly rustic so the furriners would dig the vibe. Good food there and a good winelist as well. Convenient location even though up a hill, on top of it all. But the wallet gets hit hard.

Not a place I'd want to stay everytime I went there (would be like eating rich dessert after every meal) even if the budget were there, but nobody does Napa better, or knows it better, than they do.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 26, 2015.

Thanks.  I should have said I think it's more tourism than wine, although this is the guy who gave me the Catena "Angelica Zapata" (the best malbec I've ever tasted). 

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Reply by outthere, Feb 26, 2015.

Castello di Amoroso for the tourism treatment.

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Reply by MJET, Feb 26, 2015.

We had an awesome experience at Chimney Rock last year.  Reserve a sit down tasting you won't regret it. The wine, hospitality and atmosphere was excellent! Pricey but so worth it!  

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Reply by MJET, Feb 26, 2015.

A few pics! 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 26, 2015.

Mondavi is a necessary experience for anyone new to Napa, IMO. 

If they want to go to an outstanding smaller producer, they can book a visit to Smith-Madrone via Cellarpass; they can also book a visit to Bell that way.  It does cost a bit.  I think somewhere over in Stags Leap is a good idea, and Steltzner sounds good.  If you like Merlot, Duckhorn has a couple ways of doing tasting and maybe they will seek Coach K of Duke like I did once. 

Why not have them go to Hendry's guided tasting?  It sounds really educational. 

IMO, they should not stay at Meritage in Napa.  Not a very good hotel from my experience, although it does have onsite vines and tasting cellar.  The Hotel St. Helena is old fashioned and quaint and conveniently located, there are tons of B&Bs and small hotels in Calistoga, and if they want to go super luxury, Auberge and its sister property Calistoga Ranch are the apex.  (The second photo on the front splash page is the room I stayed in with my wife--someone else was paying.)  And, of course, Meadowood, which is partly owned by the Harlan Estate family (I think that's the right one).

Pricey dinner at French Laundry.  In the past I have recommended Tra Vigne because it's reasonable and the food is surprisingly good, but last time I had a disappointing meal there.  It is fun to sit at the bar there because it used to a frequent stopping place for winemakers and owners.  Don't know if that is still true. 

Cheap lunch:  BBQ at Busters (thanks, OT) with a bottle of good Syrah or whatever you like with your meat.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 26, 2015.

Thanks Guys.  I'll at least be able to make a few recommendations.

I'm sure that my friend can do some research (which I'm sure he's done already) and ask around when he gets there.  He went to Harvard, so I'm sure he'll figure it out.  Maybe he thought I was all over last summer touring the wineries.  I guess I didn't tell him I only went to ONE! 

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 26, 2015.

If they're going to do merlot, the Swanson's tasting is probably better than Duckhorn. It's more intimate, smaller group at that round table in a pleasant room, with warm personal attention. Duckhorn presenters are often full of themselves, not always as knowledgeable as you might hope, and they have so many questionable wines in their lineup these days.

Budget is a key issue. If they can afford it, go for what Fox calls the 'apex'. French Laundry's ticket should be punched, too. L'Auberge's concierge can usually get them in same day.

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Reply by Bgreer0504, Feb 26, 2015.

There are amazing opportunities available in the Valley. Raymond now offers doing your own blending and label design with a special tasting... Jean Charles Boisset and his wife Gina Gallo are bringing a different kind of flair to the valley. 

Keep tastings at a reasonable number... Infrequent visitors to the valley sometimes overdo it and don't enjoy anything they taste. 

i often suggest Stacy's wine tours... She knows all of the tiny wineries that no one knows-the ones nestled in the hills and can arrange those tastings with wine-makers (except during the height of the season). The wonders of the Valley off the beaten track - always a great find or two. 

Enjoy!

(long time -now retired B&B owner)

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 27, 2015.

Good pointers, BGreer, and obviously coming from experience.

Hope to see more of you here.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 27, 2015.

Thanks BGreer, and welcome to Forum.

It sounds like you know these people quite well, but I'm wondering how I find them if it's on a first name basis?  Just google "Stacey's wine tours"?

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Reply by outthere, Feb 27, 2015.

LMGTFY DV!

 

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 27, 2015.

'but I'm wondering how I find them if it's on a first name basis?  Just google "Stacey's wine tours"?'

 

That's what I just did DV. Took about as long to do and post here as you took to write your comment (even with its poor SEO and funky site design).

But then googling is such new-fangled internet wizardry that not most anybody can be expected to manage!

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Reply by outthere, Feb 27, 2015.

That's just what I did as well but I had a little more fun with it a DV's expense.

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Reply by dvogler, Feb 27, 2015.

 

When I read BGreer's post, it started by saying "Raymond now offers..." and later "Stacey's wine tours" (lower-case w and t,making me think it isn't a WEBSITE).  It came across like BGreer was talking to OT in the backyard, "Yeah Mike has great tours going on and Stacey, well she's hired another girl for the counter, Raymond? He's offering do-it-yourself blending...."

I'm glad you found it humorous!  I'm typically self-deprecating, so don't worry, I'm okay with it :)

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 4, 2015.

Raymond is a very well established winery. Had their ups and downs.  Had a value brand called Amber Hill. 

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Reply by dvogler, Mar 4, 2015.

Ah thanks Fox!  Now I know that Raymond is an establishment and not a guy! 

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Reply by GregT, Mar 4, 2015.

Good value wines though. I think they're from Beringer at some point? Not completely sure but that's what they told me once when I asked them how they could keep their prices so reasonable for the quality. They said they've been around for a while and don't have to depreciate a recent investment in the region. Haven't had the wine for a few years but the Raymond Res Cab was always a very decent wine for the price.

I have to say though, I read the post the same way DV did.

As in "Stacy's wine tours are almost as much fun as Patty's."

I kind of liked the idea that the guy was just mentioning a few friends that nobody would ever be able to find, as if that would be helpful. Too bad it wasn't so outlandish after all.

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Reply by dvogler, Mar 4, 2015.

This turned into some pretty funny stuff.  I admit being a bit retarded when it comes to recognizing California winery names!

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