Best of Napa

Napa Valley Wineries with the Best Wine Caves

Discovering the interior of Napa Valley wineries is as exciting as experiencing the exterior of this magnificent place. Napa Valley wine caves offer visitors a chance to see a winery’s inner beauty, you’re able to witness the more refined details pertaining to the production of Napa Valley wines. Whether they’re chiseled into famous Napa Valley mountainsides or dug deep into the rolling hills, the Napa Valley’s wine caves are very cool (literally and figuratively speaking). The views from the depths of these hidden spaces are intriguing and provide insight into the complexities of winemaking; the bottling and aging, the importance of a wines environment, the temperature and storage. All these aspects of different wine making styles offer a glimpse into how a vineyard produces unique characteristics for their wines. Historically, wine caves reach as far back in history as wine itself, the idea of storing wine in an underground cool climate apparently made a lot of sense then as it does now, and the art of constructing highly functional modern wine caves has now been perfected. In order to cruise around in a Napa Valley winery’s wine cave, you’ll need to plan in advance and make a tour and tasting reservation, most tours include a wine cave excursion but feel free to ask. Here is a list of the Napa Valley’s five best wine caves:

Best Napa Valley Wineries for Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blancs grown in the Napa Valley region have striking aromas that translate into even more specific palate characteristics. This varietal is extremely versatile and the characteristics change from region to region, for instance, in France Sauvignon blanc is labeled “Sancerre” or “Pouilly-fume” named after the actual places and can take on grassier aromas then one would find in the Napa Valley. Sauvignon Blancs grown in the Napa Valley provide visitors with such specific tasting profiles and these easily diversify your wine tasting. Experiencing a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc will give your wine flights a more well-rounded wine range ultimately aiding in furthering your wino knowledge (sometimes a goal among visiting wine novices). Here in the Napa Valley our Sauvignon Blanc is fully ripened in the heat creating bright citrus, grapefruit, and passion fruit aromas, alongside juicy peach, nectarine and melon nuances. These flavors and tastes contrast perfectly with the rich oaky chardonnays that are often highlighted in Napa Valley wine tasting. Also, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is known to make many ladies swoon with excitement, women tend to be its biggest fans. These Five wineries produce the best Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc in addition to the perfect place to taste them.

Napa Valley Wineries with the Best Zinfandel

Napa Valley Zinfandels are celebrated for their easy drinking allure and bold juicy flavors making this varietal a total crowd pleaser. Zinfandels made in the Napa Valley are iconic, although some may say a little forgotten, however, it’s a flavor profile known for intense black fruits and spice which render Napa Valley Zinfandels as the most epically jammy varietal produced. The Napa Valley’s warm California climate is fundamental to winemaking and Napa Valley Zinfandels are a great example of how winemakers utilize that heat, skillfully harnessing the temperatures to produce some of the most intense wine the Napa Valley has to offer. Zinfandels crafted in the Napa Valley region, especially old vine Zinfandels, have exploding flavors that ripen outrageously giving life to wines that create an exceptional food and wine experience. When you find a way to always have excellent Napa Valley Zinfandel around it’s sure to illuminate any meal because Napa Valley Zinfandel is, more than anything else, a food pairing wine. These Napa Valley wineries with the best Zinfandel are recommendations specifically known for their outstanding, award-winning Zinfandel.

Napa Valley’s Best Boutique Wineries

A Napa Valley boutique winery is always a good time. Finding a unique, family owned, small production winery to visit can honestly set fire to your wine desire. The best boutique wineries in the Napa Valley give you the opportunity to taste the most captivating, passion driven, and rare wines Napa has to offer. A noticeable factor about boutique wineries is that your visit may include a tête-à-tête with the winery owner or vintner themselves (sometimes both!). Boutique wineries are exclusive and are small production which means they produce a fraction of the wine larger more industrialized wineries produce in a year, this is the defining factor in finding a proper “boutiquey winery.” Spending time at one of these quaint boutique Napa Valley wineries will help you to understand how incredible wine truly is (if you didn’t know that already) because boutique wineries respect the art of winemaking and seek to convey their passion and love for what they bottle!

Best Napa Wineries for Sipping by the Fire

Wine tasting in the Napa Valley is an experience that’s more than the exploration of wine, it’s also about ambiance. Good wine can be even better when you’re sipping fireside and nothing sounds cozier than warming up by a fire while tasting delicious Napa Valley vintages.

Napa Valley Wineries With the Best Views - Wine Tasting Recommendations

The Napa Valley’s landscape is renowned for its rolling hillsides and lush valley floor where endless waves of vineyard create glorious stretches of views. The Napa Valley’s terroir gives life to vines that produce famous California wines and this place is where prestigious wineries and estate vineyards make their homes. When you encounter the Napa Valley it is impossible not to be enraptured by the beauty, abundance, and romantic atmosphere this place exudes. Visiting wineries adorned with the best views of Napa’s luscious landscape pairs perfectly with the extraordinary wine produced by them. Napa Valley wineries place an immense value on the sweeping vineyard scenery thus securing it as one of the many Napa Valley luxuries sought out among wine novices and connoisseurs alike.

Top 25 Most Awesome Tasting Rooms in California

Wine tasting is not merely the act of drinking wine, it is the total experience and that includes the physical space you are standing in when sampling Sauvignon Blanc or pondering Petit Verdot.

Top 75 California Wines to Try Before You Quit Drinking (a non-dump bucket list if you will!)

In my last article, I listed the Top 75 French Wines to Try Before You Quit Drinking.  In this article I look at the “non-dump bucket” list for wines from California.  This proved to be a different task.  First, very few wineries have a long track record of making great wine.  Secondly, while California is diverse, it does not have the diversity of climates and terroir and grape varietals of France.  Still, it does produce some of the best wines in the world and any wine lover should make it a point to try as many of them as they can.  Here is my list:

1. Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon – It’s hard to pick the first wine.  This one is a great wine in every vintage and has been for a long time.  Expensive but still possible to afford and made in large enough quantities to be found in grocery stores.  Every lover of Cabernet should try this once.

Top Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

California's Napa Valley is undoubtedly the most famous wine region in the United States.  As you might expect from a California wine region, Napa exudes star quality.  Even 25 years ago, the valley bustled with activity and attracted tourists from all over the country.  Today Napa Valley is one of the world's flagship wine regions, with approximately 400 wineries and a reputation for top-quality wines.

For many wine lovers, Napa Valley is synonymous with cabernet sauvignon.  This late-ripening grape flourishes in Napa Valley's warm days and cool nights.  While cabernet sauvignon grapes thrive all over the Napa Valley AVA, they do particularly well in the Rutherford and Oakville sub-regions, which are AVAs in themselves.  (Napa Valley has 15 subregions, all of which are also AVAs.)

Best Napa Chardonnay (For the Money)

IntoWine.com asked a panel of wine experts for their recommendation for the best Napa Chardonnay (for the money):

California Chardonnay has entered a new golden era, and there are terrific, cooler climate examples available from all over the State. These great new Chards tend to be balanced, with minerality and strong acidity, as well as less obtrusive new oak than was the trademark of California Chardonnay even five years ago. Napa does not have a particularly cool climate, so the wines from this region tend to have more ripe, tropical fruit characteristics, and more richness, as well as more of a creamy mouth feel, thanks in large part to the new oak typically used for fermentation and aging. Nonetheless, for those who like the rich, tropical fruit style of Chardonnay, there are some great examples from Napa that are relative values. My top pick for the money is the Arnot-Roberts Watson Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay, with the current release going for a relatively reasonable average of $35. Here I get more lemon and lemon cream than super-ripe tropical fruit, but with solid weight and creamy texture. Also quite good but considerably pricier, at about $50, is the Hestan Vineyards Chardonnay, made by sought after Napa winemaking consultant Mark Herold. - Richard Jennings, IntoWine.com Featured Contributor and the Founder RJonWine.com

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