Romeo Vineyards and Cellars

My husband and I headed up to the sleepy quaint wine town, Calistoga, only a day before the fires broke out. We stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast in town. As we were walking around town I was mesmerized by Romeo Cellars.

They have a rustic gate lead you to Jasmine and Rose adorned arches lead to the 1800’s Carriage House  – Romeo’s tasting room. They had wonderful staff members who were very kind and happy explain or let us try which ever we wanted since we were just buying a glass. The tables outside are shaded by century old Giant Redwoods and Cedars.

Tasting:

Choose from a selection of tastings from $20 for 5 x 1oz pours – the purchase of wine compliments the price of a tasting.

Check out their current wine selection

We just decided on two wines:

2012 Malbec-$45- Blueberry and raspberry notes rise out followed by cedar and vanilla

2014 Reserve Chardonnay- $38- I truly felt like I learned how to taste and smell the buttered popcorn that everyone talks about in Chardonnay. Given that I am a popcorn advocate it was weird enticing. However I can see why people don’t care for it. Although it was buttery it had a refreshing finish which was nice.

To Sum it Up:

  1. Most romantic gardens
  2. Quite expensive wines
  3. Grown and produced in Calistoga

Domaine Carneros

I have driven past Domaine Carneros while passing through Sonoma into Napa SO many times and always told myself I need to make a visit. The estate is absolutely stunning and I love sparkling wine so I am not sure what took so long but I finally made it!

We made reservations for a party of 2 and it is highly suggested, seems like the staff very much prefers it and this place can get very crowded. The wines offered are two varieties, sparkling wine and still Pinot Noir. My friend and I didn’t do a tasting we decided to just get a glass since we had already done 1 tasting that day and had 2 more after.

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“In water one sees one’s own face, but in wine one beholds the heart of another.” 

-French Proverb

Visiting & Tasting:

Tastings are available daily 10am-5:30pm.
Reservations are required
and can be booked up until 5pm on the day of your arrival.
Their tastings start at $30 and go up to $40
They have 4 options:
Sparkling Wine Sampler
Red Wine Sampler
Chateau Sampler
Grande Tasting
They have cheese plates and caviar as an add on if your trying to get real fancy.
I tried two wines:
2012 Estate Brut Cuvée- $35- Aromatic notes of fresh flowers, lychee, white peach and pear make this wine irresistible. The delicate nose belies the round, full palate and exceptionally creamy finish.
The Famous Gate Pinot Nior- $80- Aromas of anise, savory herbs, black tea, and hot brick. On the palate, we find sweet cherry and cocoa powder enriched by layers of pomegranate, grilled fig, and a wisp of cigar smoke.

“Champagne is a wonderful wine: one sometimes drinks too much, but never enough.”

Archbishop of Reims (1890)

To Sum It Up: 

  1. Prettiest Estate I have visited
  2. Highest quality sparking wines
  3. Expensive!

Grgich Wine Estates

Last weekend my best friends visited from DC and South Carolina. Unaware the heat wave was going to be at its peak on Friday, we decided to head to Napa. We arrived in the valley around 10 am and it was already in the 80’s. We did a tasting at my usual V. Sattui and Mumm Napa. We were heading south on St. Helena Hwy and decided to make one last stop at Grgich Hill. It was too hot to roam around for longer than a few minutes so we heading straight into the tasting room to get down to business. The tasting staff was busy but we had a nice VERY enthusiatic guy wait on us.

He was very excited to tell us about the wine and was very a very animated fella. We decided to go with the Summer Flight because it was the most refreshing wine options.

I was really surprised by the history of Grgich Hills. I have heard about the “Paris Tasting” of 1976 but I was unaware the winemaker Miljenko “Mike” Grgich crafted the Chardonnay that won! Mike Grgich is known by many in the wine world as a legend. He is currently 94 and still passionate as ever about wine.

While visiting I saw their Grape Stomp area and it was super tempting. Here is some details:

Grape Stomp-August 18 until Oct. 29

You’ll create a unique keepsake by putting your grape-stained feet on a white “I stomped at Grgich Hills” t-shirt. All guests 21+ will also enjoy a glass of Grgich Hills Estate wine in a monogrammed GoVino wine glass that you can take home as a souvenir.

In 2017, grape stomp is available August 18 to October 29 daily from 10 am to 4:00 pm.

  • Cost is $35 per person
  • $25 for wine club members
  • Minors/non wine consuming stompers: $25
  • Reservations required for groups of 8 or more. Cost is $40 per person.

Tasting:

 

Summer Flight– $25

2016 Rosé

2015 Napa Valley Essence, Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Fume Blanc, Napa Valley

2014 40th Anniversary Chardonnay

Paris Tasting “Commemorative” Chardonnay

My Favorite:

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2014 Paris Tasting Commemorative Chardonnay

This wine is $94 because this wine is priced for Mike Grgich’s age. He is 94 today and going strong and each year he grows older the wine will increase one dollar in price. Get it while its cheapest.

This wine is a copy cat of the the winning  1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. This wine makes your mouth very happy with flavors of cooked apple, butter and a mineral character. Its a layered with flavors that coat your mouth in the perfect way.

Sum it up:

  1. Passionate staff
  2. GREAT chardonnay
  3. World renowned winemaker

 

Everything’s Kosher at Hagafen Cellars

My in-laws from Maryland were in town this past weekend and I had to plan a outing to Napa. They are small town folk and I wanted to find a place where they would feel comfortable and the farthest thing from bouchie. I googled laid back wineries and somehow stumbled across Hagafen. The Yelp reviews were awesome and the place looked super quaint from all the pictures.

First off Hagafen requires reservations – so the night before, Saturday at 11:00 pm, I emailed hoping I would get an email or call saying they had space for Sunday. I was emailed promptly when they opened that they could accommodate. I called to confirm and let them know we needed to push back a little and they were very understanding.

When we arrived I instantly new I was going to like this place by the vibe I got walking in. The staffed was welcoming and instantly urged us to start tasting and have fun. We decided to do the “Current Release” tasting and they were gracious with letting us taste additional wines if we were curious throughout the 5 tastings.

They didn’t have strict limits on where or what you can and cannot do at this winery. They were very lax. They said please explore between tastings, “we have cornhole, chickens, feel free to walk through the vineyard and to check out the cellar”. This was AMAZING. There was ZERO rush which is uncommon with many wineries.

Also fun fact they are an all Kosher winery and have provided for years their wines to The White House when there are dinner parties where Kosher wines are needed (this was a fun fact).

I highly recommend going here for a laid back experience with tasty wines!

Tasting: 

Current Release and Reserve Tasting flights include 5 wine tastes selected by the guest.
Tasting fees are waived with a 1 bottle purchase from your flight.

Tasting are by appointment via email or calling them- last tasting is 4:15 pm

Current Release $20

Reserve Tasting: $30

Library Wines Flight: $40

My Favorites:

2016 Chardonnay ($30) 

Was very crisp with smells and tastes of citrus fruit such as green apple. Very light oaky tasty.

2016 Riesling -off dry ($24)

With only 2% residual sugar, it holds just the right amount of sweetness balanced by crisp, clean citrus notes of meyer lemon. The nose of this lovely wine jumps out at you with the scents of soft lemon verbena, orange and kiwi. The flavors continue onto the palate and are added to with sweet orange, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle.

Sum It Up:

  1. Extremely laid back
  2. Tasting fee is waved with with purchase.
  3. Smalltown feel in the bustling Napa Valley.

Peju Province Winery

Our last stop was at Peju because we knew it was open until 6 pm. That is late in Napa time as most winery’s close at 4 pm.

Peju is always packed. Everytime I’ve gone it’s a mad house and for good reason. Peju has a wide variety of great wines ranging in all prices. There is also no reservation needed for less than 7 but with that being said it’s always a bit of a wait for you to be ushered to one of 4 tasting counters.

Peju’s outside decor is memorable. It’s a pink stone building and has impeccable trimmed gardens surrounding the vineyards. The most memorable aspect is the 40 ft tall sycamore trees that line the entrance as you drive in. 

My favorite:

It was probably 100 degrees that day and this was my last tasting. So basically I wanted the most refreshing thing they had.

2016 Carnival ($18)

Made with French Colombard

Aromas of dried apricot and honeysuckle complemented by flavors of green apple, passion fruit and lychee.

Peju Province ($23)

Aromas of herbs, violets, nutmeg and tart plum. Plush tannins give Province structure while bright acidity refreshes the palate with flavors of cranberry, ripe raspberry and Queen Anne cherry.

Tasting:

We did the classic tasting for $35 but guess what military is free and we had a bunch of military members!

We first were served both the Sauvignon Blanc and Province before selecting three additional wines that we would like to explore. If you favor reds or whites or maybe both you can make the tasting based off your palate.

Sum it up:

  1. All varietys with prices for everyone
  2. Unique grounds & estate
  3. No reservations required for less than 7 and military is free classic tasting!!!

Bell Wine Cellars

We arrived to Bell 2nd in our trip and we were feeling mighty fine from the many wines at Paraduxx. Bell had a complexly different feel, it was a dark entry way into where all the barrels are stored and a small tasting counter. It was cool, muggy and dark. Which was nice on the 103 degree day.

We had a reservation at Bell for a Cheese and wine tasting with a mini tour of the vineyard and the winemaking process. Our tour guide seemed a bit irritable but this place was much quieter and reserved then our group. Didn’t feel entirely welcomed however she did give a good explanation of the history of Bell Winery and the winemaker, Anthony Bell’s past.

The outside grounds are beautiful and I recommend if going sitting outside on the patio area near the vineyard. Also there is a Bocce Ball court if you would like to sip and play.

Tasting:

We did the following tasting:

GRAPE TO GLASS TOUR & TASTING

Enjoy the ABC’s of winemaking from grape to glass. Stroll through our Yountville vineyard exploring our farming relationship with terroir and climate, followed by a tank and barrel discussion, barrel tasting, and finishing with a seasonal selection of five wines paired with artisan cheeses.

  • Available promptly at 10:30am, 1pm and 3pm daily, by appointment.
  • Fifty dollars per person.
  • Groups of 8 people or more, sixty dollars per person.  We require a credit card to hold appointments for groups of 8 or more guests.  Due to our limited available appointments, all group tastings fees are charged 48 hours in advance of your visit and are not refundable after that time.
  • Two for the price of one for Carillon Club members.

Tasting options:

By appointment daily ONLY, 7 days a week, from 10:00 – 4:00pm

To Sum It Up: 

  1. Beautiful grounds
  2. Quiet and cozy place for either a small group or an older crowd.
  3. Wines are expensive to purchase but they have tons of affordable tasting options to find the one for you.

Paraduxx

 

Paraduxx was the first stop in our Napa outing this past weekend. I arrived with 8 of my friends who also thoroughly enjoy wine and were new to Paraduxx. We had a reservation which was needed due to the high influx of visitors around 12 pm. 1 hour into the tasting it was a full house.

For those who may be unaware of Paraduxx, may know or have drank its sister wines, such as Duckhorn, Decoy, Goldeneye, Migration and Canvasback. Paraduxx is part of  Duckhorn Wine Company which has wineries across Napa, Sonoma, Russian River Valley and Mendocino County. The wines of Paraduxx come from several vineyards in the valley which delivers a unique taste for each.

The staff was awesome, Jeffery was our server who was more than welcoming and knowledgeable. He seemed passionate about finding wines that suit the individuals taste buds. Overall great visit at Paraduxx, makes me excited to visit all the wineries of Duckhorn Wine Company.

My Favorites:

2013 Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Wine Rector Creek Vineyard – Block 5 ($80 a bottle) 

Composition 50% Cabernet Franc, 47% Zinfandel, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon Aging & Oak 18 months in oak 95% French oak, 5% American oak 60% New oak, 40% Second Vintage
Winemaker Notes
Aromas of herbes de Provence, Bing cherry and strawberry pie. On the palate, a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon adds to the lovely structure of this wine, while good acidity brings firmness and focus to flavors of raspberry jam, dried berries and holiday spice.

 

Tasting:

IMG_4077.JPGENHANCED TABLESIDE WINE TASTING – BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

$35 a person

1 welcome wine and 4 tastings in the red selection. All wines in the tasting were $50 and above.

All club members receive complimentary wine tasting experiences for up to four adults.

 

Sum it up:

  • High dollar but worth price! Exceptional reds, so smooth!
  • Dog friendly, great indoor and outdoor space!
  • Warm & knowledgeable staff, welcomed with a complementary Rose tasting as soon as we entered.