Napa wine tastings for my wife

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Robert.A.Jr.
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Napa wine tastings for my wife

#1 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 13th, 2019, 5:16 pm

Okay, this is a serious question. I’m serious.

My wife is taking another trip to Napa - without her wine snob husband and alleged lover of Ovid - with her tennis friends. They want to visit some wineries. While they want to have fun, they are not the Del Dotto crowd, but nor are they wine snobs. They drink and enjoy quality wine, and I think (not sure since she handles the bills) have some money to blow.

Any recommendations on a quality wine tasting and tour, that is a balanced combination of educational, fun and enjoyable from a wine tasting perspective? One that was nice grounds, perhaps lunch, even better. She enjoyed Ram’s Head immensely. A winery with whites and reds is ideal.

And again, this is intended as a serious question!

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#2 Post by Nate Simon » August 13th, 2019, 5:19 pm

Reach out to Jean at Alpha Omega.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#3 Post by Frank Murray III » August 13th, 2019, 5:21 pm

Alfie, I would recommend Switchback Ridge (in Calistoga) and Riverain/Mending Wall (in Oakville)--both are off Silverado Trail. Riverain is owned by Steve Nordhoff, who is frequently a poster on the board here. Steve can get her set up for a tasting, and I would have you reach out to Kelly directly to set up an appointment.

I am sure you are going to get a long list of visit suggestions. Good luck.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#4 Post by Alan Rath » August 13th, 2019, 5:30 pm

Mumm is a nice visit, beautiful patio with enjoyable sparkling wines. An interesting rotating photography visit they can take a quick wander through, including a permanent exhibit of some beautiful and classic Ansel Adams prints.

I would always skip lunch at a winery in favor of sitting out on the terrace at Auberge du Soleil, or out on the patio at Solbar farther north in Calistoga (both higher end dining).

As for winery visits, the classic stop is Montelena (close to Solbar for lunch)
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#5 Post by Nick F. » August 13th, 2019, 5:33 pm

Did the lunch at round pound today, had a great host and meal.

Thomas rivers brown does the high end stuff and the garden is on premise and very well done
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#6 Post by K John Joseph » August 13th, 2019, 5:52 pm

Nate Simon wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 5:19 pm
Reach out to Jean at Alpha Omega.
110% agree. Rick Patton and Jean Hoeffliger (sp) are tremendous. Jean has some other really good projects, but if you can fandangle a private room tasting at Alpha Omega it's really excellent and a great blend.

B Cellars wine and food tasting is really fun, but most of their really good cabs are not on the pour. If you ask, though, they'll pour you a glass.

Schramsberg top wines and cheese pairing is the best brunch tasting in Napa.

Round Pond does a reserve wine and lunch pairing tasting that is supposed to be a ton of fun, even if the wines are not going to be board favorite quality.

And Bevan has a pretty rowdy tasting up near Calistoga that is highly recommended.

Disclaimer: You'll dislike pretty much all of these wines.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#7 Post by Mar3 Koslowsky » August 13th, 2019, 5:54 pm

Stony Hill, Pride, and Schramsberg could check a lot of those boxes.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#8 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 13th, 2019, 5:57 pm

These are great, thanks! She’s googling them all.

I did a quiet litmus test and said “hey, check out Del Dotto.” She’d never heard of it. She passed. Said, “no way, this is cheesy”. She really seems to like Montelena. As she keeps looking....

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#9 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » August 13th, 2019, 6:14 pm

Another vote for Schramsberg. My wife and her girlfriends really liked Cakebread too (yes, I know...).

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#10 Post by Tom DeBiase » August 13th, 2019, 6:20 pm

A great visit to a Napa Winery making TRADITIONAL style wines is Frogs Leap.

Your wife can bring back some wines that YOU will like :)

Located right in the middle of the valley.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#11 Post by maureen nelson » August 13th, 2019, 6:25 pm

Does Chandon still have a beautiful restaurant for al fresco lunching?

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#12 Post by Robert M yers » August 13th, 2019, 7:02 pm

I’ve never done it but Hess has a museum of sorts on the tour I believe...thought I remember you guys are into art?

While I was searching to verify it was Hess, I ran across this article with other art based wineries.
https://www.7x7.com/13-napa-valley-wine ... 51193.html

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#13 Post by R Roberts » August 13th, 2019, 7:07 pm

Stag's Leap (note, this is not "Stags' Leap" which is a different winery which I haven't visited.)
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#14 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 13th, 2019, 7:10 pm

Robert M yers wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 7:02 pm
I’ve never done it but Hess has a museum of sorts on the tour I believe...thought I remember you guys are into art?

While I was searching to verify it was Hess, I ran across this article with other art based wineries.
https://www.7x7.com/13-napa-valley-wine ... 51193.html
Hess was my first recommendation to her. The art collection is great. Excellent recommendation. And she likes art as well! Wine more, though.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#15 Post by Keith Levenberg » August 13th, 2019, 7:19 pm

Next Alfert thread topics:
"Help my wife find a Caymus killer"
"How long were you on the Saxum waiting list before you got an offer? (asking for my wife)"
"My, uh, wife wants to know if $300 is the new $150"

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#16 Post by Anton D » August 13th, 2019, 7:20 pm

+10 to Alpha Omega.

Check out Davis on Silverado Trail. Food pairing and great wine. We’ve done tasting/eating there and it was superlative.


Brasswood does food and wine, as well.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#17 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 13th, 2019, 7:23 pm

Keith Levenberg wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 7:19 pm
Next Alfert thread topics:
"Help my wife find a Caymus killer"
"How long were you on the Saxum waiting list before you got an offer? (asking for my wife)"
"My, uh, wife wants to know if $300 is the new $150"
Yea, but I dun’t think I’ve has any agregious typos!

Should I ask about wineries with private landing strips? Planes, not helicopters.

;)

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#18 Post by AndyK » August 13th, 2019, 7:29 pm

Joseph Phelps has very interesting tastings / seminars (private tasting, blending seminar, aroma challenge) that are fun and educational. Plus their Pinots (and dare I say, even Chards) have recently been on a very positive trajectory, in addition to the classic Napa Cabs...
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#19 Post by Joe Chanley » August 13th, 2019, 7:36 pm

I’ll second stony hill. Beautiful vistas and very nice chards and cabs made in a traditional style.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#20 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » August 13th, 2019, 7:38 pm

Almost forgot...send them to the Cadet Wine Bar too.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#21 Post by Howard Cooper » August 13th, 2019, 7:42 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 5:57 pm
These are great, thanks! She’s googling them all.

I did a quiet litmus test and said “hey, check out Del Dotto.” She’d never heard of it. She passed. Said, “no way, this is cheesy”. She really seems to like Montelena. As she keeps looking....
Montelena is great, if you do a special tasting.

Also, Stony Hill is a great visit. Very AFWE - she can obtain forgiveness for your sins at Ovid. Prettiest view in the area.

She should eat at Farmstead in St. Helena.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#22 Post by Randy Bowman » August 13th, 2019, 7:48 pm

If they want an easy day, go to the Oxbow Market. Tasting rooms across the street south, across the street west and inside the Market. Food includes Gott's Roadside Grill, Fatted Calf Deli, Kara's cupcake factory, Hog Island Oyster bar and a ton more. Taste and eat on foot in a one block radius.

https://oxbowpublicmarket.com/#merchants
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#23 Post by Ed Steinway » August 13th, 2019, 8:08 pm

Randy Bowman wrote:
If they want an easy day, go to the Oxbow Market. Tasting rooms across the street south, across the street west and inside the Market. Food includes Gott's Roadside Grill, Fatted Calf Deli, Kara's cupcake factory, Hog Island Oyster bar and a ton more. Taste and eat on foot in a one block radius.
This is an excellent idea. Additionally, a few blocks west on 1st Street or Main Street there are a number of tasting rooms. Mayacamas has a tasting room on 1st Street that usually has a nice selection to taste.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#24 Post by M. Meer » August 13th, 2019, 8:48 pm

I second going for some bubbles, if they are into it. The sparkling houses have some of the best wines and facilities to experience in the valley. Domaine Carneros is also pretty solid as is Gloria Ferrer.

If they get tired of flights, I'd suggest to go straight btg/split bottles of the really good stuff.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#25 Post by JLuch » August 13th, 2019, 9:09 pm

Schramsberg, palmaz (state of the art facility), Barnett on spring mountain if you like great views, round pond also does a nice job as others mentioned. Alpha Omega does a nice job but you could also stop by without a reservation if you want to hang out and try a few wines.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#26 Post by David Glasser » August 13th, 2019, 9:59 pm

Montelena if you do a private tasting, also lunch on the lake there but maybe only for members.

I’ll second Schramsberg as my favorite bubbly and the tour is nice, but they might prefer Domaine Carneros for the setting.

Hess' art collection is an added dimension.

Oxbow and downtown Napa have a lot to offer within walking distance, but beautiful vistas of vineyards is not one of them.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#27 Post by Howard Cooper » August 14th, 2019, 4:38 am

Robert, I do have to congratulate you. I have taken my wife on many wine trips and she enjoys most of them. But, I do not see her going to a winery without me. Great job. [worship.gif] [winner.gif]
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#28 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 14th, 2019, 4:42 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 4:38 am
Robert, I do have to congratulate you. I have taken my wife on many wine trips and she enjoys most of them. But, I do not see her going to a winery without me. Great job. [worship.gif] [winner.gif]
Started out right: Chinon, Bordeaux and Cognac for our honeymoon, with the obligatory few days in Paris; and then Rhone region the next year. #lifestyle.

[cheers.gif]

Her friends are all really cool, enjoy nice wines, just don’t get all dorked up like us. Or hoard stuff, while planning for the 50 year storm.

And remember, Howard, this is Napa, which is like Disney for adults.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#29 Post by Howard Cooper » August 14th, 2019, 6:03 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 4:42 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 4:38 am
Robert, I do have to congratulate you. I have taken my wife on many wine trips and she enjoys most of them. But, I do not see her going to a winery without me. Great job. [worship.gif] [winner.gif]
Started out right: Chinon, Bordeaux and Cognac for our honeymoon, with the obligatory few days in Paris; and then Rhone region the next year. #lifestyle.

[cheers.gif]

Her friends are all really cool, enjoy nice wines, just don’t get all dorked up like us. Or hoard stuff, while planning for the 50 year storm.

And remember, Howard, this is Napa, which is like Disney for adults.
I understand (although I really think of France as Disney for adults). But, most non wine geek people visiting Napa would be looking for spas in Calistoga.

And, yes. On our first date, we went to a play and I asked her whether she wanted to go afterwards to a bar or a wine bar. She picked wine bar. On either our second or third date, we just did wine bar. Sometime early on, she told me she liked Liebfraumilch. A few months (and a number of really good Rieslings later), we were at a party where someone served Blue Nun and she told me she did not like this anymore. On our first trip to France (a couple of years after we got married), we spent a few days in Burgundy. So, I understand. And, I still don't think she would go to a winery without me unless others were insisting.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#30 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 14th, 2019, 6:16 am

Chris and I went to a wine bar on our first date as well, Dexter’s. It’s still around. They also have their own California wine made and bottled. I still have a bottle of the 92 Cab, the year of our first date there. Had intended to pop it in an anniversary, but being a regular dude, I forgot! The owner thinks the wine is like dead, but you never know!

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#31 Post by Rich Salsano » August 14th, 2019, 7:35 am

Schramsberg, Ehlers Estate, Chappelet (the garden tour and tasting is really quite nice), Alpha Omega, Stony Hill, Failla (for delicious Sonoma pinots and chards but with a Napa based tasting room), Matthiasson.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#32 Post by Pat Esposito » August 14th, 2019, 7:41 am

Randy Bowman wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 7:48 pm
If they want an easy day, go to the Oxbow Market. Tasting rooms across the street south, across the street west and inside the Market. Food includes Gott's Roadside Grill, Fatted Calf Deli, Kara's cupcake factory, Hog Island Oyster bar and a ton more. Taste and eat on foot in a one block radius.

https://oxbowpublicmarket.com/#merchants
Also Ritual Roasters has tremendous coffee inside Oxbow.

My wife and I really enjoyed Elizabeth Spencer, a wide selection of whites, reds, and Rose, pretty good quality but not overly priced. Nice grounds (although no view).

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#33 Post by J a y H a c k » August 14th, 2019, 7:42 am

K John Joseph wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 5:52 pm
. . .
Schramsberg top wines and cheese pairing is the best brunch tasting in Napa. . . .
I have not done this but I have heard from a lot of people that Schramsberg is a good visit. Same for Domaine Carneros, which I have also not done.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#34 Post by Howard Cooper » August 14th, 2019, 7:46 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 6:16 am
Chris and I went to a wine bar on our first date as well, Dexter’s. It’s still around. They also have their own California wine made and bottled. I still have a bottle of the 92 Cab, the year of our first date there. Had intended to pop it in an anniversary, but being a regular dude, I forgot! The owner thinks the wine is like dead, but you never know!
Was that Cab made by Ovid?
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#35 Post by K John Joseph » August 14th, 2019, 7:47 am

AndyK wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 7:29 pm
Joseph Phelps has very interesting tastings / seminars (private tasting, blending seminar, aroma challenge) that are fun and educational. Plus their Pinots (and dare I say, even Chards) have recently been on a very positive trajectory, in addition to the classic Napa Cabs...
If you can swing a Le Nez du Vin tasting and seminar at Joseph Phelps, you should absolutely do it. The most fun group tasting experience I've ever had.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#36 Post by K John Joseph » August 14th, 2019, 7:52 am

J a y H a c k wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 7:42 am
K John Joseph wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 5:52 pm
. . .
Schramsberg top wines and cheese pairing is the best brunch tasting in Napa. . . .
I have not done this but I have heard from a lot of people that Schramsberg is a good visit. Same for Domaine Carneros, which I have also not done.
I recommend both, but they're very different. Schramsberg is kind of old and grizzly looking with some neat old-build house buildings, but when you go inside, it's into a room on the edge of their caves and looks and feels like it. The tasting area is quaint and nice, but nothing like Carneros, which is built like a gaudy chateau. Even so, the patio area at Carneros is really lovely, and sitting out there in perfect weather drinking a flight of their good stuff is pretty enjoyable. Schramsberg's location gives you much better access to the valley, though. You could do a 10:00 tour, then hit lunch somewhere nearby and be right in St. Helena. Gotta drive for Carneros.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#37 Post by Corey N. » August 14th, 2019, 7:53 am

I agree on the Phelps recommendation. The tasting room is unbelievably gorgeous -- rustic for rich people. A wealthy country lawwyer like you would feel right at home. We did a blending tasting there and it was very fun. I felt it was a bit scripted, but the people they hire are trained extremely well, so it ddidn't bother me much.

Alpha Omega is another nice suggestion. I had a bit of a hard time with it because we tasted so many wines that they all got jumbled together.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#38 Post by Joe Chanley » August 14th, 2019, 7:56 am

Also meant to say, I was just out there a week ago and had excellent meals at Farmstead for lunch and oenotri for dinner. Bottega was meh.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#39 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 14th, 2019, 7:57 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 7:46 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 6:16 am
Chris and I went to a wine bar on our first date as well, Dexter’s. It’s still around. They also have their own California wine made and bottled. I still have a bottle of the 92 Cab, the year of our first date there. Had intended to pop it in an anniversary, but being a regular dude, I forgot! The owner thinks the wine is like dead, but you never know!
Was that Cab made by Ovid?
That would be quite the metamorphosis.

I find it amusing that the Roman family name - i.e., Ovid - was possibly derived from Latin ovis, "a sheep".

Sheeple.

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#40 Post by Howard Cooper » August 14th, 2019, 8:36 am

Corey N. wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 7:53 am
I agree on the Phelps recommendation. The tasting room is unbelievably gorgeous -- rustic for rich people. A wealthy country lawwyer like you would feel right at home. We did a blending tasting there and it was very fun. I felt it was a bit scripted, but the people they hire are trained extremely well, so it ddidn't bother me much.

Alpha Omega is another nice suggestion. I had a bit of a hard time with it because we tasted so many wines that they all got jumbled together.
I was at Phelps a couple of times years ago and very much enjoyed the visits. It is beautiful there. But, Robert, the wines there IMHO are no longer made like the classic wines made in the 1970s and 1980s. I probably stopped drinking their wines 10-15 years ago because they had gotten modern in style. Unless their style has changed again, I have not followed them in a long time, she should only go there if she is looking for a more modern styled wine.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#41 Post by Anton D » August 14th, 2019, 9:00 am

For a really elegant taste connection, consider Peter Michael and Aubert on the same day.

If they might want a group chardonnay day...

Hyde Winery (home of Hyde vineyard chard.)

Tres Perlas (home of Brown Ranch chard, one row away from Hyde vineyard.)

Aubert (they source their Hyde from Hyde Vineyard, so great to compare.)

Peter Michael...'of a kind.' (The David Family wine would fit here, too.)
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#42 Post by ATaylor » August 14th, 2019, 9:33 am

maureen nelson wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 6:25 pm
Does Chandon still have a beautiful restaurant for al fresco lunching?
It closed several years ago. In the day, Etoile was wonderful.

The Duckhorn property is a nice spot with outdoor options. And if you know a club member, the private patio at Domaine Carneros is a great spot, but even the public area has some great views, with the Di Rosa Art Center just across the street (www.dirosaart.org).
@ndrew

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#43 Post by Kelly Flynn » August 14th, 2019, 9:44 am

Last time I was out that way we visited Mayacamas and Hanzell. Both great winemakers, extensive and fun tours, and beautiful mountain locations.

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Robert.A.Jr.
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#44 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 14th, 2019, 10:09 am

Kelly Flynn wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 9:44 am
Last time I was out that way we visited Mayacamas and Hanzell. Both great winemakers, extensive and fun tours, and beautiful mountain locations.
I recommended both Hess and Mayacamas to her. Beautiful on that mountain!

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

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J Scott
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#45 Post by J Scott » August 14th, 2019, 10:22 am

Shafer is a great visit also, they limit it to 10 at a time, so this would be good for a mid-sized group to do a private tasting. Doug came in to say hello the time that we went, that sounds common in the WV, but I assume that it is rare to shake hands with the winemaker/owner at many places in Napa.
Joel

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#46 Post by Jim F » August 14th, 2019, 10:26 am

Well, seeing what seems to maybe scratching the itch here, how about Coppola/ Inglenook? Lots of wine country history, film memorabilia and some of the wines may be ok!
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Merrill Lindquist
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#47 Post by Merrill Lindquist » August 14th, 2019, 11:31 am

Frank Murray III wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 5:21 pm
Alfie, I would recommend Switchback Ridge (in Calistoga) and Riverain/Mending Wall (in Oakville)--both are off Silverado Trail. Riverain is owned by Steve Nordhoff, who is frequently a poster on the board here. Steve can get her set up for a tasting, and I would have you reach out to Kelly directly to set up an appointment.

I am sure you are going to get a long list of visit suggestions. Good luck.
Correction: for logistics/planning, Mending Wall is in St. Helena, on the Silverado Trail, very close to the Calistoga line.
Merrill
EMH Vineyards - Home of the Black Cat
email:Merrill@EMHVineyards.com

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#48 Post by Bud Carey » August 14th, 2019, 11:36 am

If you go to Mending Wall, contact Will Segui foŗ a Rivers-Marie tasting.
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John Draper
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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#49 Post by John Draper » August 14th, 2019, 1:56 pm

I'll agree with others and say that a private tasting at A/O would likely please her and her crew. Another recommendation would be Hunnicutt, beautiful location, cave tour but not a la Del Blotto and very well made wines. I'm generally not a chardonnay lover but was impressed enough to purchase some when out there earlier this year along with their Wayside Cab.
liberstein

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Re: Napa wine tastings for my wife

#50 Post by EHeffner » August 14th, 2019, 2:05 pm

My wife really enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and wine over at Frog’s Leap. Would recommend.
E v @ n

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