Best of Napa

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

Napa Valley: Best Wineries for Beautiful Gardens & Landscaping

There are some Napa wineries that stand out for their beautiful gardnes and impeccable landscaping. IntoWine.com has scoured Napa to find the wineries that are worth checking out if only for the gardens. The list below is in no particular order.

Franciscan St. Helena - While wine libraries are not uncommon in Napa, the space allocated for the purpose at Franciscan stands out. Lots of warm wood, long tables, and floor to ceiling storage make for an impressive but not overwhelming atmosphere for those seeking to schedule a private event or tasting, or interested in attending one of the winery’s daily educational seminars. Read more...

Best Recommendations for Napa Cabernet Sauvignons under $100

As wine enthusiasts know all too well, great Napa Cabernet Sauvignons are often priced north of $100 and out of reach for many buyers. Of course, price by itself is not a good indicator of a great wine. Moreover, the price of a wine is likely to be impacted by scarcity and marketing as much as the quality of the wine. As such, we asked our panel of wine experts to recommend great Napa Cabernet Sauvignons priced under $100:

Napa Valley: Best Wineries for Napa History Buffs

Interested in the history behind Napa Valley and the evolution of the wines you are tasting? IntoWine.com has scoured Napa to find the wineries that devote attention to the history of Sonoma wine country. The list below is in no particular order nor is it by any means complete (given the long list of wineries that shaped Napa).

Madonna Estate Napa - For Napa history buffs, Madonna Estate is a must stop. The original winery was founded by a bona fide Italian immigrant during one of the earliest waves of Napa vinification, in 1922. After being sold in the 1970s, a new iteration of Madonna was founded by some of the family heirs just a few years later. Today, they boast the distinction of representing four generations of winemaking. Read more...

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