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

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

 

Necklaces that will bring wine closer to your heart

Today I stumbled across the cutest wine necklace on Pinterest. It is a little rose gold wine molecule! How freaking cute right? For all those science nerds and wine buff’s this necklace is a perfect gift! (See pic and link to buy below).

This led me to search for other necklaces for those wine lovers out there who want to bring even closer to their heart on a daily basis. (Get it since it, since it would be around their neck) Okay I will keep my day job.

Prices and link to purchase below each picture!

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Wine Molecule Comes in a variety of metals. $14.80 on Amazon
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Pour yourself a glass -Sterling Silver (.095) and comes in a variety of lengths. Starting at $48 on Etsy
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Corkscrew 14k Rose Gold $85 at Vinepair
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“Look Ma no hands” wine holder Only in black. $6.99 at Amazon
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Love Wine Pendent Comes in silver and gold. Silver is $56 at ShineOn
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Moonlight Grapes Pendent Comes in different metals, sizes and prices will varies great depending. $495 GST from Georg Jensen

 

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Pop Bottles – Comes with 3 charm options Antique plated silver charm Sterling silver necklace $27.99 on Etsy
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Celebration Time Dangle Charm Sterling Silver charm (necklace sold separate) $50 at Pandora
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Make magic champagne long pendant gold and rose gold plated metal with glass and epoxy stone $104 at Kate Spade

 

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.

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.

“Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living.”

Robert Mondavi said it best, “Wine is art. It’s culture. It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living.” Winemakers are artists for sure and I truly appreciate when a winemaker appreciates and displays other artists work.

The following list are a few wineries/vineyards that show appreciation to artists by displaying their art for visitors to enjoy:

Markham Vineyards: 

Displays the art by Harold and Peggy Francis.

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“Harold’s art drawing inspiration from the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms and his vivid imagination, Harold uses an intricate technique of layering color, shape and texture. As he paints new patterns and images emerge drawing the viewer deeper and deeper into his creations.

“Animals Among Us” series by artist, Peggy Francis, honors animals that are integral to our Napa Valley lifestyle. Farm life is deeply rooted in Peggy’s southern childhood, images are recalled from her Mammaw’s chickens, pigs, and milk cow and the cattle and horses on her family farm. These contemporary paintings of the farm animals among us speak to our collective longing for the gentler pace of agrarian life we experience in the Napa Valley.”

Artist website: http://www.2718indistudio.com/

Vineyard Website: http://www.markhamvineyards.com/visit-us/art-gallery

Mumm Napa:

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Mumm has photography on display from Ansel Adams and Wayne Levin. Adams’ twenty-seven gelatin silver prints includes many of his most famous photographs. Levin’s photographs made beneath the surface of the waves have captivated viewers for decades.

Website: https://www.mummnapa.com/visitmummnapa/fine-arts-gallery

The Hess Collection:

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“Donald Hess began collecting art in 1966. Today, The Hess Collection houses less than a quarter of a collection that is shown in museums worldwide. His collecting style is a personal endeavor driven by passion rather than monetary investment or current trends. He develops a close dialogue with an artist to better understand what drives him or her to create and he carefully limits his focus as a collector to 20 living artists whose work he faithfully supports long term. As is evident by the caliber of the collection, he collects with the uncanny ability to acquire works by lesser known artists who often go on to become well known and respected in their disciplines. His typical commitment to an artist spans decades and various stages of his career.”

Here are a few artists in his collection to check out:

Franz Gertsch
Robert Motherwell
Anselm Kiefer
Magdalena Abakanowicz
Leopoldo Maler
Francis Bacon
Gerhard Richter

Website: http://www.hesscollection.com/art/

Jamieson Ranch Vineyards:

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Upon approaching Jamieson Ranch you can very clearly see from the road the loud colorful graffiti-esk mural. I loved how they had a rustic feel and then added this urban pop. Contributing artists include popular SF Bay Area urban muralists Ricky Watts, Meagan Spendlove, “Griffin One” and Chris Jehly; self-taught Los Angeles artists “Duce” and “Haste” and ubiquitous graffiti specialist “Quake,” who is bringing his style from New York City.

Website: http://www.jamiesonranchvineyards.com/music-and-art

Hall Wines:

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“Avid lifelong art collectors, Craig and Kathryn Hall are delighted to invite guests to enjoy expressive art and world-class wines. HALL St. Helena and HALL Rutherford feature select works that are sure to inspire the senses. Featuring some of the most internationally acclaimed artists today, such as John Baldessari, Jim Campbell, Nick Cave, Jaume Plensa, guests will be guided through the collection, while tasting some of HALL’s amazing wines.”

Website: http://www.hallwines.com/visit/winery-experiences/hall-architecture-art

Seven Stones Winery:

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“Beginning in the mid-1980s, Ron Wornick, an accomplished woodworker in his own right, along with his wife Anita, began actively collecting master artisan pieces made from wood, ceramics, glass, fiber, and metal. Within 20 years, the Wornicks had created one of the premier contemporary craft collections in the world. The collection has been on view at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, American Craft Museum in New York, the Oakland Museum of California, and the McAllen Museum in South Texas.”

Website: https://www.sevenstoneswinery.com/pages/art.html

Please let me know if you have any other great wineries you know of that have awesome art displays!! (Pictures are not by me)

@happensforariesling or happensforariesling@gmail.com