Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

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Brad Giuliano
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Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#1 Post by Brad Giuliano » March 6th, 2019, 10:41 am

My family and I are taking a trip out to Napa in the fall and my father, who has been a buyer of Bryant Family for some years now, reached out to ask if they do private tours. They denied his request for a tour but suggested the 3 following wineries:

David Arthur
Ilsley
Rarecat

Does anyone have any familiarity with these? I have never heard of them but am intrigued of course by Bryant Family's recommendation. Any insight is welcome. This is my first post, looking forward to being part of the community. Thanks.
Last edited by Brad Giuliano on March 6th, 2019, 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#2 Post by Michael Fess » March 6th, 2019, 10:59 am

David Arthur makes really good wines. If you are going up Pritchard Hill you might call on Continuum, Ovid and maybe Houyi.

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#3 Post by Gabe Berk » March 6th, 2019, 11:01 am

Not sure about David Arthur, Ilsely or Rarecat. You should do a taste and tour at Chappellet which is on the same plot of land as Bryant. They are family owned and make perhaps the best valued Napa Cabernet there is. Their Pritchard Hill Cabernet has gotten a 100 point score 2 years in a row for the 2015 & 2016 vintages.

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#4 Post by Brad Giuliano » March 6th, 2019, 11:24 am

Thanks, appreciate the reccos. Can you actually visit Houyi? Would be a neat stop if so.

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#5 Post by Ryan O » March 6th, 2019, 11:35 am

Over by David Arthur is Dakota Shy, which is putting out fantastic wine right now. We were there in November and it is the only place from my last two trips to Napa that I have scheduled to revisit next month. Other neat options:
- Vineyard 7&8 has a gorgeous view from their tasting room
- Hall's vineyard in Rutherford (not the tasting room in St. Helena) has an awesome experience tasting in their cave under a massive crystal chandelier
- Swanson used to do a really neat wine and food pairing, but I have not been there in years.
- Covert is another lesser known vineyard in Coombsville that has a the feel of a secret lair from a James Bond villain.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#6 Post by John Webber » March 6th, 2019, 11:40 am

David Long, proprietor at David Arthur, is a great guy and can make one heck of a tasting experience if he is hosting that day. Great views there too.

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#7 Post by David Baum » March 6th, 2019, 11:50 am

Chappellet is a great tasting/tour with a nice variety of wines. The 16 signature cab is amazing and a steal around $60.

David Ilsely has been Ops director at Shafer for a while. The make some wine and sell much of their annual crops. Their property is on a hillside right next to Shafer and pretty sure they have sold grapes to them for years. I'll leave it up to you to connect the rest of the dots

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#8 Post by Shay_A » March 6th, 2019, 12:25 pm

I’ll echo a few comments from above.

-Chappellet is a really nice visit with a great range of wines to enjoy. Their Signature offering is fantastic for the price.
-I visited David Arthur about 6 weeks ago...a very fun and insightful visit (was able to meet and speak with David briefly). They have a very intimate tasting set up and a relaxed feel, not to mention fantastic wines.
-I also visited Continuum about 6 weeks ago and thought it was one of the highlights of the trip. The winery design, the tour, and the tasting (only 2 wines to taste) were top notch. Not cheap, but very worthwhile.

All 3 of the above have adjoining driveways at the bottom, but each takes at minimum 10-15mins to access once going up, so keep that in mind.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#9 Post by Bud Carey » March 6th, 2019, 12:50 pm

Shay, was your host at David Arthur named Tanner? If so, great guy.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#10 Post by blarmston » March 6th, 2019, 1:36 pm

Houyi is the vineyard, and Nine Suns owns the land. They bottle their own juice as well as sell grapes to the likes of Vice Versa, Realm and others.

The wine is delicious, the actual facilities are almost brand new, and the view on a clear day down to the Valley is worth the trip alone. Jason and Flora Change own it and they are super cool...
Last edited by blarmston on March 7th, 2019, 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#11 Post by Shay_A » March 6th, 2019, 1:41 pm

Bud, no, we were actually supposed to taste with Tanner but he got tied up and wasn’t able to host us. Another gentleman took great care of us, but his name escapes me at the moment. Pretty fun to try a Pritchard Hill Nebbiolo! I plan to do a side by side with Cimarossa’s Howell Mountain Nebbiolo.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#12 Post by R M Kriete » March 6th, 2019, 2:45 pm

If you skip Napa and hit Sonoma instead, you may be able to actually afford the wines you like [wink.gif]

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#13 Post by Mike Maguire » March 6th, 2019, 6:51 pm

John Webber wrote:
March 6th, 2019, 11:40 am
David Long, proprietor at David Arthur, is a great guy and can make one heck of a tasting experience if he is hosting that day. Great views there too.

Haven’t been in a few years, but it was a great tasting and David was super cool, did I mention the tequila [wow.gif]

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#14 Post by Randy Bowman » March 6th, 2019, 7:22 pm

Gabe Berk wrote:
March 6th, 2019, 11:01 am
Not sure about David Arthur, Ilsely or Rarecat. You should do a taste and tour at Chappellet which is on the same plot of land as Bryant. They are family owned and make perhaps the best valued Napa Cabernet there is. Their Pritchard Hill Cabernet has gotten a 100 point score 2 years in a row for the 2015 & 2016 vintages.
This is sound advice. Call ahead to schedule your tasting. Great wines, great people.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#15 Post by Philip G » March 6th, 2019, 8:54 pm

Seavey an Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyard are a 1/2 mile apart in a beautiful, secluded area up in the Conn Valley, their wines are great and the tastings are very personal. As others have said Chappellet has good wines, a great setting and nice tour. All of these are still "small" family owned.

B Cellars is an amazing experience with top quality food to go along with wine tastings.

Shafer and Phelps for the great wines and beautiful setting. Top notch experiences.

Napa tastings are different from other smaller areas like Paso or Washington. The tastings are more expensive but they can last an hour or more and you can get a significant tasting. Three to four a day is plenty.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#16 Post by DavidFrankil » March 7th, 2019, 12:08 am

I’d add Forman to Seavey and Anderson’s Conn Valley - very close by and terrific wines
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#17 Post by J3ff S@g@n » March 7th, 2019, 8:52 am

Had an amazing time at Ovid - great views / wine / people / ambience. Highly recommend.

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#18 Post by Bdklein » March 7th, 2019, 8:59 am

I suggest Schramsberg. Sparkling wine is a nice change of pace from so many non sparking wines in the Napa Valley . And a great tour .And the history of their presence in both Napa and Washington DC should not be overlooked .
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#19 Post by Merrill Lindquist » March 7th, 2019, 9:11 am

R M Kriete wrote:
March 6th, 2019, 2:45 pm
If you skip Napa and hit Sonoma instead, you may be able to actually afford the wines you like [wink.gif]
As long as your desires are not for Napa Cabernets! [wow.gif] Just responding to the Original Post.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#20 Post by David Baum » March 7th, 2019, 9:31 am

R M Kriete wrote:
March 6th, 2019, 2:45 pm
If you skip Napa and hit Sonoma instead, you may be able to actually afford the wines you like [wink.gif]
Apparently you missed the part about being a long time buyer of Bryant.

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#21 Post by Roy Piper » March 7th, 2019, 9:39 am

Clos Du Val spent millions on a new tasting room (just reopened) and their wines have improved dramatically the last 5 vintages.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#22 Post by Bob Davis » March 7th, 2019, 10:39 am

Alpha Omega, Fontanella, Krupp Brothers.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#23 Post by R M Kriete » March 7th, 2019, 3:04 pm

David Baum wrote:
March 7th, 2019, 9:31 am
R M Kriete wrote:
March 6th, 2019, 2:45 pm
If you skip Napa and hit Sonoma instead, you may be able to actually afford the wines you like [wink.gif]
Apparently you missed the part about being a long time buyer of Bryant.
Damn. I gotta play the lottery more often [dance-clap.gif]

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#24 Post by Ryan O » March 12th, 2019, 7:55 am

Anyone have any thoughts on visiting Fantesca, Gandona, or Hourglass?
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#25 Post by TimB » March 12th, 2019, 9:43 am

Ryan O wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 7:55 am
Anyone have any thoughts on visiting Fantesca, Gandona, or Hourglass?
I tasted at Fantesca in February of 2018 as I wanted to taste some wines made by Heidi Barret, when I was booking my tasting with La Sirena they offered to do it at Fantesca and allow me to add on a tasting of Fantesca afterwards. I see now that both are $100 each so if you really want to get an idea of her style and don't mind spending the money I'd say do both. For the Fantesca portion they walked me around the grounds a bit, let me taste a pinot (not made by Heidi) out of the barrel, showed me the spaces they have for members to do events (which was nice and overlooks the vineyard). Then I tried each of the current bottlings. I was offered to purchase all of the bottlings as a non-member, except for the estate cab. The wines themselves were good, with the cab and cab blend (All Great Things) being better than the pinot and chard. I don't know if things have changed, but from what I remember the grounds/tasting room are nice, but nothing special (i.e. no gimmicks or fancy gardens).
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#26 Post by J Wei » March 12th, 2019, 10:14 am

Vincent Arroyo for their petite syrahs. Really good juice. Tasting is free.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#27 Post by Shay_A » March 12th, 2019, 12:16 pm

Ryan O wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 7:55 am
Anyone have any thoughts on visiting Fantesca, Gandona, or Hourglass?
Hourglass is a really nice visit. Gorgeous property and the tasting area in the cave is one of the prettier settings I’ve seen. They took us through some barrel samples afterwards which was really nice. Love the wines and while the cabs are great, I think their merlot and Cab franc are stars.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#28 Post by Jim F » March 12th, 2019, 1:25 pm

Shay_A wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 12:16 pm
Ryan O wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 7:55 am
Anyone have any thoughts on visiting Fantesca, Gandona, or Hourglass?
Hourglass is a really nice visit. Gorgeous property and the tasting area in the cave is one of the prettier settings I’ve seen. They took us through some barrel samples afterwards which was really nice. Love the wines and while the cabs are great, I think their merlot and Cab franc are stars.
👍 for Hourglass.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#29 Post by Ryan O » March 12th, 2019, 2:22 pm

Thanks for the info. Hourglass is our first stop next month, so it sounds like we will kick thing off right. We have a couple of Napa first timers in our group, so that should be a great way to kick things off.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#30 Post by MMunger » March 12th, 2019, 6:11 pm

Two of the most impressive tours (IMHO), and at opposite ends of the spectrum, are Schramsberg and Palmaz.

Schramsberg is amazing with the old original hand dug tunnels and the hand riddling of the bottles. There are only a very few others where the caves are not modern machine made. As well the history of being the first US Sparkling Wine in the White House is really cool.

On the other end of the spectrum is Palmaz, possibly the most high tech, yet classic feeling winery on earth, and the Cabs are really good as well.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#31 Post by EHeffner » March 14th, 2019, 5:35 am

Following as I’m planning a trip for mid May
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#32 Post by Bdklein » March 14th, 2019, 6:52 am

MMunger wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 6:11 pm


Schramsberg is amazing with the old original hand dug tunnels and the hand riddling of the bottles. There are only a very few others where the caves are not modern machine made. As well the history of being the first US Sparkling Wine in the White House is really cool.
+1. And the history of the property and the family is quite interesting as well. And the lower end sparklers are readily available in the US retail market, which allows you to continue the Napa experience and not get locked into mailing lists .
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#33 Post by Brad Giuliano » March 14th, 2019, 7:02 am

Bdklein wrote:
March 7th, 2019, 8:59 am
I suggest Schramsberg. Sparkling wine is a nice change of pace from so many non sparking wines in the Napa Valley . And a great tour .And the history of their presence in both Napa and Washington DC should not be overlooked .
I have been wanting to visit Schramsberg ever since I read James Conaway's first book, a great read for any lovers of Napa wine.

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#34 Post by BenjaminL » March 14th, 2019, 10:16 am

I worked and lived at Seavey Vineyard for 4 years. It's an amazing place and very personal. It's a good 15 minutes outside of St Helena but it feels like a different world. Only 4 wines, so the pace is slow. They were very under-the-radar until ~3 years ago, and have increased their prices ~50% (deservedly).
Secluded areas like Conn Valley (Seavey) or Prichard Hill (Chapellet, David Arthur, etc) are remarkably far off the beaten path, especially as one needs to drive slowly and carefully down winding country roads while 1/2 the traffic may have chosen not to spit. I would focus on one of these areas and hit up 3 wineries in that location. There isn't a good way to get from Conn Valley to Prichard Hill (save by boat).
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#35 Post by EHeffner » March 14th, 2019, 12:44 pm

How are the Davies wines that they serve at Schramsberg? I love sparkling but my wife does not so figure that may be a good stop so we can both get our fix
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#36 Post by KyleC » March 14th, 2019, 1:12 pm

EHeffner wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 12:44 pm
How are the Davies wines that they serve at Schramsberg? I love sparkling but my wife does not so figure that may be a good stop so we can both get our fix
+1 to this question. Went to Schramsberg back in the day before they were serving the still wines, and currently bidding on a tasting package at Davies (someone give me an answer in the next 7 days! [cheers.gif])
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#37 Post by NickRut » March 14th, 2019, 6:21 pm

I enjoyed the Davies wines when I tasted there. Worthwhile to me
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#38 Post by J Wei » March 14th, 2019, 7:14 pm

J Davis has their own tasting room, separate from Schramsberg. The reds are a fun tasting to attend - my wife and I enjoyed it. The J Davies Jamie is a pretty nice bottle of wine.
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#39 Post by T.Phillips » March 15th, 2019, 5:11 pm

I really like aesthetic tastings as well as solid wines. Some of these for me are

Lokoya
Cade
Ovid
Continuum
Nine Suns
T y

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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#40 Post by Bobby Moy » March 16th, 2019, 8:43 am

I also recommend Rarecat, they have a wonderful selection of wines and are great people. The tasting is very intimate at the owner's home. I work with the winemaker, Joel Aiken, on other projects. Joel was the winemaker at BV for 27 years. So if you enjoy the GdL's from 1985-2010 then you will have an idea of what to expect. And of course I can always host tastings for my Chiron wines in Calistoga if you are looking for some mountain cabs and grenache.

Other Recs:
Theorem
Paravel
Aiken Wines
Flint Knoll
Sarah Francis
And I love what Todd and Tom have created at Dakota Shy
And make sure you get Tanner if you go to David Arthur, he's one of the best hosts in the valley
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#41 Post by Bud Carey » March 16th, 2019, 8:48 am

+1 on Tanner!!!
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Re: Potential Wineries to Visit in Napa

#42 Post by Shay_A » March 16th, 2019, 9:04 am

Bobby Moy wrote:
March 16th, 2019, 8:43 am
I also recommend Rarecat, they have a wonderful selection of wines and are great people. The tasting is very intimate at the owner's home. I work with the winemaker, Joel Aiken, on other projects. Joel was the winemaker at BV for 27 years. So if you enjoy the GdL's from 1985-2010 then you will have an idea of what to expect. And of course I can always host tastings for my Chiron wines in Calistoga if you are looking for some mountain cabs and grenache.

Other Recs:
Theorem
Paravel
Aiken Wines
Flint Knoll
Sarah Francis
And I love what Todd and Tom have created at Dakota Shy
And make sure you get Tanner if you go to David Arthur, he's one of the best hosts in the valley

I can’t recommend Theorem enough. One of the star visits of my last few trips out to Napa. TRB wines on Diamond Mtn. Absolutely beautiful wines and property. Make sure you get Isaac as your host!
Shay Aldriedge

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