Auberge du Soleil
exceptional travel, food, and wine resources
DECANTING [ NAPA VALLEY
association by invitation
Auberge du Soleil
ASSOCIATION BY INVITATION
DECANTING NAPA VALLEY
Decanting Napa Valley is an association of exceptional travel, food, and wine resources. By invitation only, members represent the finest of our wine region and collectively elevate our cultural landscape. Written as a stylized travel book, we encourage you to discover each resource through vibrant photographs and biographical copy with the confidence that all are unified by a standard of excellence. For those seeking complete luxury intineries, Decanting Napa Valley has partnered with Viviani Inc., Wine Country Destinations, as featured in Forbes, Luxury Travel Advisor and the Neiman Marcus Incircle. Together, we are launching Appellation Connoisseur, the first appellation-specific wine club, enabling members to collect a cellar of premium wines by distinct appellation and providing luxury concierge travel assistance with privileged access into wine country. Written for the well-traveled wine enthusiast, Decanting Napa Valley is only available through luxury hotel concierge desks, featured participants, exclusive marketing partnerships, and online as a downloadable book at decantingnapavalley.com.
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: Patz & Hall Wine Company : Caldwell Vineyard : Palmaz Vineyards : Rocca Family Vineyards : Hartwell Vineyards : Reynolds Family Vineyards : Milliken Creek Inn and Spa : Angèle Restaurant and Bar
: Keever Family Vineyards : Jessup Cellars : Hope & Grace : V Wine Cellar : The French Laundry : Redd : Bouchon : Ad hoc : Brix : Bouchon Bakery : Volakis Gallery
51 : Gargiulo Vineyards 53 : Miner Family Vineyards 57 59 61 63 65 69 71 73 75 77 79 81 83
: Grgich Hills Estate : Round Pond Estate : Fleury Estate Winery : Sullivan Vineyards : Auberge du Soleil
St. Helena 67
: William Cole Vineyards : Revana Family Vineyards : Vineyard 7&8 : Spring Mountain Vineyard : Kelham Vineyards & Winery : Buehler Vineyards : Meadowood Estate : Restaurant at Meadowood
Angwin 85 87 : Viader Napa Valley 89 : Lamborn Family Vineyards
92 92 92 92 92 92 92 93 93 94 94 94 95
Tours, Tastings and Itineraries 91 : Credentials & Accomplishments : Viviani Inc., & DNV Exclusivity : Balloon and Helicopter Tours : Private Villa & Estate Rentals : Real Estate Referrals : Dining by Vineyard or Wine Caves : Women Winemakers Tour : Luxury Winery Tours : Bio-Dynamic Wine Tour : Olive Mill Tour and Tasting : DNV Wine Tasting at V Wine Cellar : Private Dinner with Winemakers : Caldwell Collector’s Tasting
Wine Club 96
97 : V Connoisseur Appellation-Specific Wine Club & Luxury Concierge Services
100 : Kelleen Sullivan 100 : Volakis Gallery 100 : Don Hatfield
Live Arts 101
101 : Lincoln Theater 101 : Copia 101 : Napa Valley Opera House
103 : Information and Distinctions
105 : Member Locations and AVA’s
Credits : Michelle Higgins : Publisher 707/332-7646 firstname.lastname@example.org : Colby Smith : Membership Representative email@example.com : Kirsten Bickford : Editorial Writer firstname.lastname@example.org : Linda Viviani : Tours & Itineraries (Viviani, Inc.) email@example.com 800/658-9997 : Dennis Kelly : provided AVA copy : Linda Viviani : provided tour copy : Kevin Onesko : provided web site assistance : pacgeodata.com : provided AVA & member map
Winemaker James Hall, formerly of Honig and Flora Springs wineries, uses minimal intervention to allow full expression of each vineyard’s character. The Patz & Hall winery and equipment were custom-built for the production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay -- including specially designed opentop fermenters and Burgundian barrels. A portfolio of 16 wines is topped by the voluptuous and concentrated Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands.
The enterprise owns no vineyards, but instead relies on close relationships with growers and viticulturalists at some of the finest single vineyards from Mendocino to Monterey counties. The Patz & Hall tasting salon in south Napa offers an intimate seated experience in which a sommelier guides guests through varietals, appellations, food complements, and can even provide full concierge service for a broader tour of the valley.
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If the term “virtual winery” makes you think of customer support in Bombay, think again. Patz & Hall has been pioneering a new breed of wine tasting for twenty years, with wines that have been winning awards and top scores for just as long. Combining nearly 80 years of winery experience throughout the Napa Valley, partners Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses, and Heather Patz have created one of California’s most celebrated artisan wineries, producing benchmark, single-vineyard Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.
851 Napa Valley Corporate Way Napa, CA 94558 Tastings by Appointment
Having collaborated with “Flying Winemaker” Philippe Melka for nine vintages, John is once again moving in a new direction with the very talented young winemaker from Sierra Leone, Marbue Marke. The winery produces the flagship Caldwell Silver (a Syrah and Cabernet blend), and Caldwell Gold, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Its proprietary red wine is aptly named Rocket Science because, John explains, “it’s not rocket science to make great wine!”
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Rooted in the wine tradition for 120 years, the Caldwell family survived prohibition by selling “medicinal” wine. John Caldwell has become a viticultural legend in the Napa Valley; as with so many legends, his story begins with a twist of fate. John originally wanted to build a 53-acre real estate development on his Coombsville ranch property, but Napa’s new “no growth” policy put an abrupt end to that venture. John subsequently traveled to Europe, where he learned about a new wave of viticulture focused on rootstocks and clones, particularly among the Grand Cru vineyards of Bordeaux. Twenty-five years later, his vineyard has grown to 123 acres, 70 of which are planted to vine. For many years it’s been the source of grapes and clonal material for such esteemed names as Joseph Phelps’ “Insignia,” Pahlmeyer, Nieman, and Viader. “Our vineyard is based on the best Bordeaux clones in the world,” John says. “The clonal impact is only starting to be felt, and we’re on the cutting edge.” Caldwell was the first in the Napa Valley to use the innovative technique of whole-berry, direct-barrel fermentation for his red wines, which can be seen in his recently completed 20,000 square feet of underground caves.
270 Kreuzer Lane Napa, CA 94559 Tastings by Appointment
Carved into the rock of Mt. George, the engineered maze of tunnels and lofty domes has the vertical depth of an 18story building with a five-story fermentation dome. Outside, the vines grow in more than 30 different terroirs at three elevations and can be fermented individually to preserve the unique characteristics of each parcel. Under the practiced hands of winemakers Mia Klein and Tina Mitchell, the estate produces Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, a Reisling, and a Muscat Canelli. The signature label, Palmaz Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon, is a Bordeaux-style blend showing concentrated flavors of blackberry, cocoa, and plum, mingled with supple tannins and a persistent finish.
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Scientists and engineers take note: Palmaz Vineyards is probably the most technically advanced winery in the Napa Valley. For history buffs, it occupies one of the most historically rich sites in the area. And if you simply love good wine… well, it has that, too. Originally from Argentina, the Palmaz family fell in love with the abandoned 1881 Cedar Knoll Vineyard and the home of Henry Hagen, one of the valley’s pioneer winemakers. Since 1997 they have been resurrecting the historic estate and building the largest underground gravity-flow winery in the world. Patriarch Julio C. Palmaz is a retired interventional radiologist and medical researcher whose scientific mind and eye are evident throughout the property’s design.
4029 Hagen Road Napa, CA 94558 Tastings by Appointment
Such acclaim is hardly surprising: Rocca’s intense, estategrown fruit is from a Yountville vineyard just yards from the fabled Stag’s Leap district and another in Napa’s Tulocay region. Their winemaker is Celia Welch Masyczek, who has become the vintner in the Valley. “When we started out in 1999, we knew Celia was a rising star,” explains Mary Rocca who, with her husband, Dr. Eric Grigsby, owns and runs the winery and tasting room. “Now she’s a ‘rock star’ winemaker, and any vintage of Rocca is going to be an ultrapremium bottle.” Mary is frequently on hand at the tasting room pouring some of the “high-flier” wines of which she is justifiably proud.
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Wine aficionados searching for the next big thing rarely look in downtown Napa. But they should. Tucked into an 1800s-vintage stone building on Main Street is the comfy tasting room of Rocca Family Vineyards, whose reds are consistently raising wineglasses, eyebrows, and media rankings. Their 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon just placed first out of 12 California Cabernets in two blind tastings in Bordeaux and California, and the winery was proclaimed “one to watch” and given four stars by the British Decanter magazine. In fact, the eight-year-old Rocca label has already won awards for all of its wines: Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot, and a blend called “Bad Boy Red.”
1130 Main Street Napa, CA 94559 Open Mon through Sat 1a - 6p
“Our tasting experience is an intimate, salon-style sitting in the back of our caves,” Bob explains. “We do a pairing with imported cheeses, then a barrel tasting of a future release with truffles we’ve had custom-made with our own cabernet mixed into the chocolate. Our guests usually say it’s their favorite stop in the valley.”
Blanca and Bob Hartwell started with a one-acre vineyard in 1986, and began construction of their Tuscan-style winery and caves in 1997. Now a 90-acre property, 20 acres are planted to vine. Under the experienced hands of winemaker Benoit Touquette and consultant Michel Rolland, the Hartwell label produces the signature Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon as well as an Estate Merlot, a Misté Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Blend, a Sauvignon Blanc from its Carneros estate, and the SweetHart Cabernet Sauvignon Dessert Wine.
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Pay no attention to the long-haired Scottish Highland cattle grazing on the property. Never mind that the vineyards are planted on the slope of a dormant volcano, which last erupted four million years ago. The real reason to come to Hartwell Vineyards is the wine, of course. Especially since that wine is estate-grown in the renowned Stag’s Leap appellation, with the hilly terrain, temperature fluctuations, and maximum exposure to sunlight that create the optimum growing conditions and define this micro-climate.
5795 Silverado Trail Napa, CA 94558 Tastings by Appointment
Steve, a dentist-turned-winemaker, calls himself “The Mad Scientist of the Wine Business” for his experimentation in both the vineyard (from satellite imaging to canopy management) and the winery (direct-barrel fermenting into brand-new French oak). His techniques seem to be working: Reynolds’ wines have been highly rated in the industry press, and Napa’s People’s Choice voted him “Best Winemaker” three years in a row, as well as voting Reynolds “Best Boutique Winery” this year. But such success hasn’t gone to his head. “I’m just a golf cart in the Indy 500,” he jokes. “I’m out in the trenches every day.”
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As a kid, Steve Reynolds remembers cursing his dad for dragging the family on wine-tasting trips around Europe. Now he’s infected with the same enthusiasm. Steve and his wife, Suzie, took a hundred-year-old chicken ranch at the foot of the famed Stag’s Leap District and replaced it with a Tuscan-style winery they built themselves – from the fences to the tasting room. Two Swiss Army trucks are ready to take visitors out into the ten acres of vines, since “ninety percent of a wine’s life is in the vineyards,” says Steve. Reynolds’ family of seven wines is highlighted by the Reserve Stag’s Leap Cabernet, showing deep blackberry and cassis that gives way to sweet oak and eucalyptus and finishes with dark chocolate and espresso.
3266 Silverado Trail Napa, CA 94558 Tastings by Appointment
One guest’s lasting thoughts after staying at Milliken Creek Inn for his wedding, “It puts smiles on our faces remembering our stay with you and your staff.”
The day begins with a gourmet breakfast served anywhere on the Inn’s grounds; continues with the sunset Magic Hour, a complimentary wine and cheese reception hosted by local vintners; and ends with a cordial in the Main House. The firstclass concierge service can make customized arrangements for tours of the valley, including luxury transportation for wine tasting and reservations at the valley’s most exclusive restaurants.
Each of the Inn’s twelve private guest rooms are appointed in their own unique style. Many feature gas fireplaces, spastyle hydrotherapy tubs with green tea bath salts and votive candles, rain showers, and magnificent river and woodland views. The focal point in each room is the lavish bed with fine linens and fresh orchids which, at turndown, becomes incredibly romantic.
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After a hard day of wine tasting and valley views, there can be no better escape than the romantic Milliken Creek Inn & Spa. Hidden away from the bustle of downtown Napa on three lush acres overlooking the Napa River, this boutique hotel provides five-star luxury and sophisticated service in a tranquil, intimate setting. What makes the property truly special is its exclusive, full-service Milliken Creek Spa, which offers an extensive menu of pampering, healing treatments.
1815 Silverado Trail Napa, CA 94558 Spa & Concierge Services
The French cuisine, ranging from the classic simplicity of vegetable potage to the robust balance of veal stew. The wine list highlights the flavors in the menu, with selections varying from affordable values to rare boutique wines. “I want people to remember Angèle not simply for special occasions, but often,” says Rouas.
Ideally located in the historic Downtown District along the Napa River, the intimate, 155-seat Angèle offers a lively atmosphere in a simple setting with a European sensibility. The dining room features raw-beam ceilings, concrete floors, warm light, and a relaxed environment. On warm days and nights the terrace overlooking the Napa River provides a welcome contrast to wine country views. The casual vibe of the restaurant was noted by Los Angeles Times’ food critic S. Irene Virbila, who writes, “Angèle definitely shows the sensibility of a younger generation in its refreshing informality.”
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Your first clue lies in the name of the place: Angèle was named in honor of owner Claude Rouas’s mother, and he formed the restaurant with his two daughters to create a familial, celebratory refuge from daily life. If the Rouas name sounds familiar to you, it should. It’s been connected with such other renowned Napa Valley properties as Auberge du Soleil and Redd, as well as the legendary San Francisco restaurant, L’Etoile.
540 Main Street Napa, CA 94559 Daily 11:30a - 10p
Sam Aslanian Photography
The result is a 100% estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon with fruit-centered entry and finish, strong hints of blueberry, cherry, and spice, and nicely resolved tannins. “One needs really great fruit to make great wine and we feel our fruit qualifies, as evidenced by our wine,” says Olga. The winery also produces a Sauvignon Blanc, a Cabernet Franc Rose, and future releases will include a Syrah and a Bordeaux blend.
The winery, founded in 2006, is a tribute to early Californian architecture, and the Keever family runs it themselves — from punchdowns to tours. Built on the site of an old horse ranch, it has just six plantable acres, and production is limited to three tons or less per acre. Keever uses the smallest tanks in the Valley (just 550 to 1,100 gallons), so it is able to ferment specific vineyard blocks and smaller lots. Clusters are hand-sorted, while gravity-flow processing ensures the gentlest possible treatment of fruit.
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“A perfect alignment of the stars,” is how Olga Keever explains it. She’s referring to the serendipitous conditions that make Keever Vineyards a bright spot in the Napa Valley constellation. Perched on a rocky hillside, the winery is the union of a rare setting with awe-inspiring views, state-of-the-art equipment, and renowned winemaker Celia Welch Masyczek.
P. O. Box 2906 Yountville, CA 94599 Tastings by Appointment
Among the wines inside those bottles include a Cabernet Franc and a Zinfandel Port. The signature wine is the Cabernet blend, “Table for Four,” designed to go with everything on the table. But all of Jessup Cellars’ wines are fruit-forward and well structured to exhibit early while still aging well.
Jessup Cellars owns two estates east of Napa, where its grapes are grown pesticide-free, dry-framed, hand-picked and sorted. It combines “old world” methodologies with state-of-the-art techniques such as gravity-racking its wines without using pumps or filtration. “We don’t ‘over-make’ the wine,” winemaker Mark Jessup explains. “We let each variety and component speak from the land on which it was grown.” Producing 7,000 cases a year, Mark can personally oversee each step of the process, from the vine to the bottle.
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Forget secluded mountaintop wineries up long winding roads. Jessup Cellars’ owners Dan Blue, Vance Thompson and Roy Eisiminger wanted to bring their wines to the people, in the heart of the Napa Valley. Their tasting room near downtown Yountville is surrounded by world-class restaurants, galleries, and shops. The easy location makes it a prime spot for private appointments or walk-in tastings, especially around the courtyard fire on cool evenings. For clients looking for a more in-depth tasting experience, Jessup Cellars’ winery in south Napa is open by prior arrangement.
6740 Washington Street Yountville, CA 94599 Daily 10a – 6p
The family-owned hope & grace winery, named for Charles’ daughters, now produces about 2,200 cases of small-lot varietals. Its elegant wine-tasting salon in the Edward James Courtyard offers an inviting atmosphere that includes a fine selection of antiques and art. You can often find the winemaker there, pouring and expounding on the virtues of his Pinot Noirs, Cabernet, Malbec, Carmenere, Chardonnay, and a single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. “I listen to the wine, and it tells me what it needs,” Charles says. “I believe more in coaxing rather than forcing or over-manipulation.” Spoken like a true paraclete.
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Charles Hendricks regards himself as a “winemaker paraclete” -- that is, an encourager, an assistant, a guide. “It’s nature’s job to conceal things, and the winemaker’s job to reveal them,” he says. “There is a playfulness in determining when and where to step in.” His responsiveness to the whims of nature have been a subtle force in his career. In 2001, after twenty successful years as consulting winemaker to such prestigious labels as Barnett, Regusci, Bacio Divino, and Viader, Charles had an unexpected opportunity to acquire Pinot Noir grapes from Robert Talbott’s Sleepy Hollow Vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands. He took a leap of faith and created his own independent winery.
Edward James Courtyard 6540 Washington St. Yountville, CA 94599 Mon through Sat 10a - 5p
With its unpretentious elegance, V Wine Cellar offers an ideal setting for private dinners and personalized classes. In addition to its vast array of hardto-find wines, it features Ports, Madeiras, and a selection of fine cigars.
“We’re a fusion of tasting bar, cellar, and lounge with a staff that’s committed to making wine a more fun and accessible experience,” says owner, educator, and European-trained sommelier Scott Lewis. Not only are Lewis and his staff plugged into the Napa Valley wine and hospitality community, but they keep detailed notes on their repeat clients to tailor wines to their particular tastes. Winemakers from all over the globe come to pour their own wines, and taste those of others. V Wine Cellar also provides an informal concierge service, setting up tastings, tours, and other activities around the valley.
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One local vintner said it all: “It’s where the winemakers come to drink.” He was talking about V Wine Cellar in Yountville’s V Marketplace, the restored 135-year-old Groezinger Winery. The boutique wine shop and tasting lounge offers a selection of over 3,000 wines, from California’s newest artisanal releases to hand-picked labels from around the world, to rare library finds for collectors.
V Marketplace 6525 Washington Street Yountville, CA 94599 Daily 10a - 7p
Deborah Jones Photography
6640 Washington Street Yountville, CA 94599
Chef de Cuisine Corey Lee, a recipient of the James Beard Rising Chef Award, oversees a menu which features signature dishes such as oysters and pearls and sweetbutter poached lobster. Each course is the accumulation of hours of commitment and is so intricately combined that one marvels at their flavors, textures and artistry. “Respect for food is a respect for life,” Keller has said, “for who we are and what we do.”
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Ruth Reichl, restaurant critic for The New York Times, has called it “The most exciting place to eat in the United States.” She was talking about The French Laundry, and her sentiments have been echoed by the praise of critics and guests worldwide. Chef/owner Thomas Keller’s culinary artistry and unrelenting respect for top ingredients have made him widely regarded as America’s finest chef. Most recently, the French-based Michelin Guide bestowed three stars to both The French Laundry and Per Se, Keller’s restaurant in New York City, making Keller the first and only American-born chef to have two three-star restaurants since the guide’s inception in 1900. Keller purchased the restaurant in 1994 after discovering the building, a 1,600square-foot structure of river rock and timbers that was built in 1900, in north Yountville.
Reservations Two Months to Calendar Date
Redd represents the acclaimed chef’s first solo venture, offering an updated interpretation of wine-country cuisine in a relaxed, contemporary environment. His instincts must be good: The young restaurant has already earned its first star in the Michelin Guide. Redd’s menu showcases regionally inspired seasonal cuisine with ethnic influences. Always wine-friendly, Reddington’s cooking complements the selection of regional and international wines, while a separate bar menu allows guests to stop by for a casual drink and savor a selection of small bites. The 90-seat restaurant is divided into a main dining room, a bar, semi-private dining area, and an outdoor courtyard shaded by olive trees. Bauer writes, “Redd restaurant in Yountville is like a Rorschach test, revealing the culinary soul of owner Richard Reddington”.
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Richard Reddington has trained in some of the most critically revered kitchens in the world: L’Arpège and Le Moulin de Mougins in France; Restaurant Daniel and Park Avenue Café in New York; Masa’s, Jardinière, Postrio, and La Folie in San Francisco; and the Auberge du Soleil in the Napa Valley. It’s no wonder the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer named Reddington both a “Rising Star” and “Best Rising Chef.”
6480 Washington Street Yountville, CA 94599 Daily Lunch, Dinner & Sunday Brunch
Located in a historic Wells Fargo stagecoach stop built in the late 1800s, Bouchon’s dining room features velvet banquettes, a magnificent zinc bar, and an expansive handpainted mural by noted French artist Paulin Paris. A sidewalk patio allows guests to dine outdoors in the warmer months. The French word bouchon describes a particular style of café that has existed in the province of Lyon for centuries. Bouchon embodies that spirit of the classic French bistro: to please and nourish, while elevating to excellence the simplest of ingredients. “Bouchon is about maintaining classic traditions, renewing our respect for those great dishes, and holding them up to the light to understand them, in order to perfect them,” says Keller.
The best seasonal ingredients are used in dishes such as mussels with saffron, steak frites, and the restaurant’s signature “grand plateau” of shellfish. Along with the carefully chosen wine list, the combined effect has been enough to earn Bouchon a star in the coveted Michelin Guide.
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“Bistro food is not about specialized ingredients,” says Thomas Keller. “Rather, it’s about precision of technique with ordinary ingredients.” At Bouchon, owner Keller and Chef de Cuisine Phil Tessier offer a brilliant interpretation of French bistro fare, combining classic French techniques with a modern approach.
6534 Washington Street Yountville, CA 94599 Daily, Sidewalk Seating and Full Bar
San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer recently wrote, “It was simple and satisfying…with all the preparations uncluttered by extraneous ingredients and each dish meticulously rendered. If I had to pick the most memorable meal of the year, this would be it.”
But while the ambience is casual, the commitment to great dining is just as high as at Keller’s more upscale properties. The menu – based on the best seasonal ingredients available each day – is handwritten on a chalkboard and delivered in brown file folders to the table. Keller and Chef de Cuisine Dave Cruz oversee the kitchen, serving soulful renditions of Keller’s favorite childhood classics, such as beef stroganoff, fried chicken, and pot roast.
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The term “ad hoc” means “temporary” or “an immediate solution,” and there is definitely a more spontaneous and casual vibe to Thomas Keller’s newest Yountville restaurant. Every evening a single four-course, prix-fixe meal is served family-style to each table. The minimalist décor features brushed chrome tables and simple wood accents, and the servers wear jeans. A far cry from the more formal elegance of Keller’s renowned The French Laundry, just up the road.
6476 Washington Street Yountville, CA 94599 Daily, for Dinner
In addition, the Brix Wine Shop features nearly 600 labels– both local vintners as well as rare and hard-to-find wines – and a collection of wine-related items and handcrafted gift items. Says San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer, “The Brix wine list looks like the Academy Award-winners of wine. It features the best vineyard selection of each winery, making a truly best-of-the-best list.”
Almost every seat in the casually elegant dining room offers a panoramic view of the Mayacama Mountains, as well as 11 acres of olive groves, sweeping vineyards, and gardens brimming with flowers, herbs and vegetables. “Our guests can wander among the vines before their meal, then order a bottle of wine made from the same grapes they just picked in our Oakville-appellation vineyard,” says owner Valerie Kelleher Herzog. The large exhibition kitchen enables guests to watch from their seats as Executive Chef Peter Halikas oversees the culinary team preparing their meals.
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When dining at Brix, don’t bother asking your waiter if the produce is fresh. Chances are, the chef has picked it earlier from the restaurant’s own vegetable and herb garden right on the premises. Brix features “seasonal California cuisine,” because it crafts its menu based on what is available that week, either from its own raised beds or from other California growers.
7377 St. Helena Hwy Yountville, CA 94599 Daily 11:30a -10:30p
Deborah Jones Photography
Artisanal coffees are available, as well as a selection of salads and sandwiches for lunch. All may be carried to the café tables in the charming little courtyard outside.
Certified master baker Matt McDonald oversees the baking of traditional French breads – many of which are specially crafted for both The French Laundry and Bouchon Restaurant – and include cranberry-currant, the garland-inspired epi, pain au lait, and the perfect baguette to accompany a wine and cheese picnic. The bakery also creates such morning pastries as citrus orange brioche, chocolate and almond croissants, a variety of fruit tarts, and seasonal berry muffins. Demonstrating Keller’s culinary wit, the bakery also creates its own versions of the Oreo, Nutter-Butter, and Pop Tart.
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Perhaps it’s the aroma of baking bread that can be smelled from blocks away. Or the line of eager patrons winding out the door. Either way, you will become aware of Bouchon Bakery from a distance, and you will want to go. The authentic, country-style boulangerie and patisserie in the pistachio-colored building sits next to Bouchon Restaurant, and is another jewel in owner Thomas Keller’s crown.
6528 Washington Street Yountville, CA 94599 Daily, Breakfast & Sandwiches
Emanuel Volakis Emanuel Volakis
Peeping Tom, Rocky Schenck
Emanuel founded the gallery in 2004 after a twelve-year career as a fine-arts photographer. “I like a real psychological slant to the work,” he explains. “What’s going on beneath the surface? I want our visitors to look inward and challenge their opinions about art.”
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One of the highest compliments Emanuel Volakis ever received about his art gallery was from a visitor who had just wandered up the street after lunch at The French Laundry. “This is as fine an experience as the meal I just had,” she said. “It’s like a Manhattan gallery out in the country.” Tucked into an elegant stone building just north of town, the Volakis Gallery represents emerging talent and established artists in the fields of photography, painting, sculpture, mixed media and installation work. While the Napa Valley is full of galleries exhibiting pastoral, decorative art, Volakis features work that is abstract, conceptual, and edgy. It hosts six solo and group shows each year exploring such themes as metaphysics, Jungian archetypal imagery, and existential humanism. Of the contemporary artists, about 80 percent have work in museum collections. Volakis also exhibits works on paper by 19th and 20th century masters such as Albrecht Dűrer, M.C. Escher, Yozo Hamaguchi, and Pablo Picasso.
6730 Washington Street Yountville, CA 94599 Seasonal Hours or by Appointment
The result is a group of terroir-driven wines from two prime Oakville vineyards; Money Road Ranch and 575 OVX. Using the most recent advances in vineyard development and sustainable techniques, the Gargiulo’s work with winemaker Kristof Anderson to produce three different single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons, a single-vineyard Merlot and Sangiovese, as well as a dry Rosé, a Pinot Gris, and a Chardonnay. All but the Chardonnay are estategrown. “We’re for the ethical treatment of grapes,” laughs April Gargiulo. “We allow their nature and origin to be truly expressed. Napa Valley is the perfect storm for wine grapes and our two Oakville properties sit at the eye of that storm.” No surprise that a major food and wine magazine recently named Gargiulo “one of the most notable new wineries on the planet.”
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The spirit behind Gargiulo Vineyards is a desire to return to the way the Napa Valley used to be: small, friendly, and hand-crafted. As if to illustrate this point, its tasting room was created from the valley’s past. Its floor is the old high-school basketball court, its ceiling is from an old Napa bridge, and the tasting room chandelier is made out of old wine barrels. The family has long been in the business of farming, and for Jeff Gargiulo, becoming a vintner synthesized a lifetime of agricultural knowledge and a passion for wine.
575 Oakville Crossroad Oakville, CA 94558 Tastings by Appointment
“Miner wines are crafted for the table, not the critics,” says Dave Miner. “Our goal is to make wines that embrace and enhance the dining experience, rather than dominate it.”
Which is not to stress quantity over quality. Miner has assembled a powerhouse collection of red wines, as well as several Chardonnays, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Viognier that showcase a vast array of styles and vineyard sources. Winemaker Gary Brookman allows native or “wild” yeasts to start the fermentation process on the Chardonnay, Syrah, and Pinot Noir. By employing only indigenous yeast cultures found on the grape skins themselves, he gives the wines unique palate textures and layers of complexity. The flagship wine is The Oracle, a Bordeaux-style red blend with plush dark fruit characteristics and velvet tannins.
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If your stay in the Napa Valley is limited and you have time to visit only one winery, head for Miner Family Vineyards on the Silverado Trail. Not only is its friendly tasting room open to the public without an appointment, but its portfolio represents vineyards from Mendocino to Monterey. In one stop you can taste wines from a wide swath of California vineyards and, if you call ahead, tour 20,000 square feet of caves.
7850 Silverado Trail Oakville, CA 94562 Daily 11a through 5p
The result is a family of wines highlighted by a complex Chardonnay with aromas of baked pear, lychee nuts and wild honey. Other varietals include a crisp Fumé Blanc, a spicy Zinfandel, a rich and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon and “Violetta,” a prized late harvest white dessert wine.
On Independence Day, 1977, Mike joined with Austin Hills of the Hills Bros. Coffee family to form the family-owned Grgich Hills Estate. Now 87 and still wearing his signature blue beret, he continues to be involved as president and winemaker with the assistance of his daughter, Violet Grgich, and nephew Ivo Jeramaz (above). “Wine is like a long chain, from the vine to the glass,” he says. “Every link is important.” All grapes are estate-grown, using certified organic and biodynamic farming techniques, and the wine is not allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation in order to preserve natural acidity and intense fruit.
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It all began in Paris in 1976. In a now-historic blind tasting, a panel of French judges ranked California’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, crafted by Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, as the finest white wine in the world, beating an array of fabled French white Burgundies. The international wine establishment was stunned, and Grgich instantly achieved recognition as one of the world’s finest winemakers.
1829 St. Helena Hwy. Rutherford, CA 94573 Daily 9:30a through 4:30p
But while the winery is new, the MacDonnells’ history with the region goes way back. For over 20 years the family grew premium Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for some of the valley’s most prestigious wineries. Now the 357-acre family-owned estate includes sustainably grown vineyards, gardens, and olive orchards. Employing the latest root stocks, clones, and trellis formations and picking only specially designated vineyard rows from the very best vineyard blocks, in 2002 Round Pond produced its first bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon under winemaker Cary Gott. The flagship Cabernet was joined by an exotic Nebbiolo, and a Sauvignon Blanc will soon be added to the list. All are wines of rare depth and complexity in classic Rutherford style, balanced and fruit-forward.
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“When people come here, we want them to feel as if they’re sitting in our family’s living room,” says Miles MacDonnell of Round Pond Estate’s brand-new winery on the valley floor. Whether you’re enjoying a food and wine pairing in its secondstory tasting lounge or out by the fireplace on its covered terrace, the Round Pond winery features 360-degree views of the Mayacamas Mountains and surrounding vineyards in the coveted Rutherford appellation. Rutherford was where the valley’s first winemakers settled and produced legendary Cabernets – a tradition that continues today.
875 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, CA 94573 Tastings by Appointment
With its elegantly rustic feel, Fleury Estate Winery offers its guests an unusually intimate wine-tasting experience. “Every tasting done at this winery is in a private salon setting among the barrels,” explains Brian. “No one ever leaves Fleury Estate Winery without being provided a barrel sample or two of our future releases.”
Brian is a self-taught winemaker who learned the craft by hiring various mentors and working alongside them. Clearly, he’s learned well, since his wines are in such great demand. Current releases include a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir, a Zinfandel/Cabernet blend, three Cabernet Sauvignons, and a Port. The Fleury flagship wine is “Passionné,” a Bordeauxstyle blend that is always the first to sell out.
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“We allow the grapes to take center stage in every barrel, bottle, and glass of our wines,” says Brian Fleury, and his boutique winery reflects that approach. A successful Bay Area businessman who brought his family to the Napa Valley ten years ago, he turned his passion for collecting fine wine into a passion for making it. Fleury Estate Winery now owns 50 acres spanning three vineyards in three appellations and at three elevations: Rutherford, St. Helena, and Howell Mountain. Its small Rutherford facility produces and sells out of 3,000 cases a year by winery sales only, without the use of distributors.
950 Galleron Road Rutherford, CA 94573 Tastings by Appointment
But don’t let the laid-back attitude fool you: Under winemaker Philippe Langner, Sullivan Vineyards produces small lots of sought-after wines. Its flagship Bordeaux-blend, the Coeur de Vigne, has been called “seduction in a bottle” by the San Francisco Chronicle, while The Wall Street Journal has repeatedly recommended Sullivan Vineyards in its top places to visit in the Napa Valley. The Sullivans offer exclusive reserve tastings, as well as barrel samplings of rare wines available only on the premises.
Twenty years later, the family has kept the intimate, casual flavor of the old days. Son Sean manages the winery and daughter Kelly designs the labels. “We’re still working farmers,” Sean says. “It’s gratifying to share this special region with others. It’s why we’ve begun organic and biodynamic farming, to take care of the soil for future generations.”
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When Jim and JoAnna Sullivan moved their family to the Napa Valley from Los Angeles in 1978, they had a vision: to forge a creative life of art and wine, grown from the unique terroir of the fabled Rutherford Bench region. Inspired by the great California cabernets of the ‘50s and ‘60s, they bought a property based on its soil type—unusual at the time – and built a home and winery designed by renowned architect John Marsh Davis.
1090 Galleron Road Rutherford, CA 94573 Tastings by Appointment
“For many, the Auberge embodies the perfect retreat, and we’ve been pleased to see how many guests have returned again and again over the years,” says Managing Partner George Goeggel. “Few hotels age gracefully. At 22, the Auberge is better than ever.”
Earth-toned maisons enclose 50 one-bedroom suites, each with its own terrace overlooking acres of vines and, on clear mornings, the spectacle of colorful hot-air balloons rising in the distance. Each features a fireplace and high-tech amenities, such as a 15-inch flat-screen TV viewed from the extra-large soaking tub. The 120-seat restaurant and bar also look onto superb vineyard views. Chef Robert Curry’s cuisine gives local ingredients a Mediterranean flair, and Sommelier Kris Margerum’s wine list is the valley’s most extensive. The 7,000-square-foot Spa du Soleil enhances the tranquil retreat, along with a swimming pool, fitness center, and tennis court.
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When San Francisco restaurateur Claude Rouas opened the Provence-inspired Auberge du Soleil on a 33-acre hillside olive grove in Rutherford in 1985, it became the Napa Valley’s first luxury inn. Now, after 22 years and a major renovation, the Auberge has earned a star from the Michelin guide and retains its luster as one of the most comfortable and sophisticated small luxury hotels in the world.
180 Rutherford Hill Road Rutherford, CA 94573 Inn & Restaurant Reservations
Bill, a third-generation vintner with family roots stretching back more than 100 years in the valley, is winemaker and vineyard manager. Fruit is hand-picked and hand-sorted in small lots reflecting the nuances of the different vineyard blocks. The lots are then fermented and aged separately, producing a truly handcrafted wine exuding lush fruit and a balanced tannin and acidity that allow for extended cellaring time. With a production of only 331 cases, the label is attracting the attention of serious collectors and “cult wine” enthusiasts.
In 1999, Bill and Jane Ballentine acquired the J.C. Weinberger Winery, circa 1876, and began producing a lone Cabernet Sauvignon, William Cole Vineyards Cuvée Claire. Planted on the volcanic lower northeastern slope of Spring Mountain in St. Helena – just two-and-a-half acres of a five-acre estate – the low-yielding vineyards produce a smaller, more intense Cabernet berry.
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Hidden away on the lower slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains is one of St. Helena’s oldest, most historic wineries. It was here that Hannah Weinberger became Napa Valley’s first woman winemaker, from 1882 until Prohibition. The property’s garden, designed by famed landscape architect Thomas Church in 1938, is still intact. But the most compelling reason to find your way to the William Cole Vineyards is its wine.
2849 St. Helena Highway North St. Helena, CA 94574 Tastings by Appointment
Dr. Revana calls moderate consumption of red wine “a healthful and medically defensible daily pleasure.” And with the Revana Cabernet Sauvignon, that pleasure is greater than ever.
Dr. Madaiah Revana grew up on a farm in India, where he learned the rhythms of the land. In his travels around the world, he became a collector of great wines. And when he found a small parcel of prime St. Helena land in 1997, he understood he had the potential to make a truly special wine. Preparation of the land and vines was so meticulous that it was nearly seven years before wine was released to the market. With the collaboration of two great names in the industry – vineyard manager Jim Barbour and winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett – Revana has produced a single, estate cabernet with “backbone and tons of fruit character that will lend itself well during aging,” according to Barrett.
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Look closely at the logo of Revana Family Vineyards and you’ll see a stylized version of the ancient symbol of Asclepius, representing the medical profession, against the background of a heart. It’s no coincidence that the winery’s founder is a renowned cardiologist. But the symbol goes deeper: Revana lies in the heart of the Napa Valley, and its short history is one of passion, dedication, and the love of great wine.
2930 St. Helena Hwy North St. Helena, CA 94574 Tastings by Appointment
Both wines have already received exceptionally high scores within the community of wine industry publications, and that takes more than just luck.
Perched at the top of Spring Mountain – above the fog and with awe-inspiring views of Mt. St. Helena – this estate uses sustainable farming practices to grow low-yield and late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes. Winemaker Luc Morlet oversees a handcrafted process that includes carefully sorted fruit and whole-berry fermentation. Winery manager and assistant winemaker Wesley Steffens earned his Napa Valley credentials working for Thomas Keller at The French Laundry and serving as cellarmaster at Harlan Estate.
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In contrast to many of the old-time names in the Napa Valley is an exciting newcomer, Vineyard 7 & 8. Launny and Weezie Steffens purchased this forty-acre estate in 1999 with the intent of producing world-class wines to highlight the Spring Mountain District. The label is named after Launny’s interest in numerology: “7” represents good luck in western cultures, while “8” is lucky in eastern cultures.
Spring Mountain Road St. Helena, CA 94574 Tastings by Appointment
Growing primarily Bordeaux varieties, Spring Mountain produces a Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Pinot Noir. But Safra’s passion has been Elivette – a singlular, Bordeaux-styled wine that captures the soul of the property and is blended differently every year for complexity and a balance of power and elegance. Unlike many wineries, Spring Mountain Vineyard also holds back a percentage of its vintages, allowing collectors to buy wines from past decades.
Of the estate’s 850 acres, over 225 acres are planted to vine, representing 135 distinct hillside vineyard blocks with many soil types, exposures, and microclimates. Much of the vineyard is planted in densities of over 4,000 vines per acre and trained to the ancient vertical gobelet form. Winemaker Jac Cole and vineyard manager Ron Rosenbrand work closely in tandem to honor the soil and the nuance of each vineyard block, letting each wine naturally express its attributes.
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Enter the gates of Spring Mountain Vineyard and you’re suddenly back in the 19th century, where the pace is slow and the world is gracious. When the first Europeans came to the Valley they sought the hillsides to continue their oldworld customs of winemaking. Those traditions live on under owner Jacob E. Safra. The meticulously restored classic 1885 Victorian tasting room is surrounded by 120-year-old olive trees, gardens, and vineyard.
2805 Spring Mountain Road St. Helena, CA 94574 Daily by Appointment
In 1997 the family purchased the ten-acre Shadow Brook Winery in St. Helena and are slowly constructing a new winery facility to showcase their estate-grown cabernets, merlot, and sauvignon blanc. A second label, the SonS meritage, is a blend of cabernet, merlot, and sangiovese. All show the rich, ultra-ripe character of the Oakville appellation – fruity, with many layers of complexity. “Our experience and our history in this valley go back three decades,” says Susanna Kelham. “Now we’re combining that with a youthful passion to make the very best wines possible.”
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The Napa Valley is full of family-run wineries, but Kelham Vineyards’ story goes deeper than that. Rawson Kelham has grown grapes on 60 acres in Oakville for the past 35 years, selling his fruit to such recognizable names as Beaulieu, Mondavi, Cakebread, and Duckhorn. But he had absolutely no interest in making wine himself. His two sons, Ronald and Hamilton Nicholsen, however, felt differently. They’d grown up spending summers and weekends working as “cellar rats” at the wineries of friends’ families, not to mention secretly drinking much of their father’s Georges de la Tour collection. Despite their mother’s insistence on pursuing degrees in other fields, they returned to the valley determined to become winemakers themselves.
360 Zinfandel Lane St. Helena, CA 94574 Tastings by Appointment
The star of the show is the Buehler Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, which is both immediately approachable and built for the long haul. According to one wine writer, it has “creamy oak, red currant and black cherry aromas [that] turn rich and chewy on the palate. Well-concentrated, it turns elegant and offers a measure of finesse that’s impressive.”
Buehler and his family have been farming the estate for 36 years, planting 60 of its 300 acres primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Their unique terroir, meticulous vineyard management, low yields, and minimalist techniques under winemaker David Cronin produce a couple of Cabernets, a Zinfandel, and a Russian River Chardonnay that have placed them on “Top 100” lists for three years in a row.
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Little-known fact: The number of Napa Valley wineries prior to Prohibition was not equaled again until the early 1990s. One of them was the Salmina Winery -- a half-day’s ride en route to Lake Berryessa. In the early 1970s, the Buehler family bought the ghost winery at the southwestern base of Howell Mountain. Reached by winding, scenic roads, its history-laden property holds rich rewards for those looking to travel off the well-worn path of most Napa Valley tourists. “We’re not the end of the world,” John Buehler, Jr. jokes, “but you can see it from our house.”
820 Greenfield Road St. Helena, CA 94574 Tastings by Appointment
“Meadowood is the ultimate destination for discerning travelers with a passion for fine wine,” says Ann Marie Conover, Meadowood director of communications. “We’re privileged to count many of the valley’s preeminent vintners and growers among our membership, and to be the home of Auction Napa Valley.”
Scattered among the forested hillside of a 250-acre valley, 85 cottages, suites, and lodges have private decks for quiet entertaining or intimate meals. The property’s highly trained staff includes a tennis professional, golf professional, croquet professional, and cultural affairs director, among others. Whether you choose to spend an active day outside, or pampering yourself with a massage or other healing treatment, you will find the perfect way to relax amid the elegant, natural beauty of this private estate.
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Founded in 1964 as a private club for local vintners, Meadowood Napa Valley has grown into a center of social, cultural, and viticultural life in the valley, as well as a second home for those who love the beauty and hospitality of the wine country. The property now features championship croquet lawns, seven tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course, two swimming pools, a full-service health spa, a two-star Michelin-rated restaurant, a wine educator, and a year-round calendar of cultural events.
900 Meadowood Lane St. Helena, CA 94574 Estate & Restaurant Reservations
In addition, Master Sommelier Gilles de Chambure combines his international training and passion for Napa Valley wines to create innovative wine events, tastings, and excursions with a lively, informative approach that will inspire wine lovers of all levels.
The interior décor showcases Meadowood’s natural, tranquil setting with rows of windows bringing the beautiful surroundings into full view. The Restaurant features a prix fixe menu with a la carte selections, and wine pairings are available for each course.
Executive Chef Vincent Nattress is justifiably proud of his resources here. “The wine in the glass is from a neighboring vineyard,” he says. “The honey on the table is from our hives, and the olives are from our orchard. The heirloom tomatoes are picked at the perfect ripeness each day and taken straight into the kitchen.” The chef’s philosophy of stewarding flavors can be likened to Napa Valley winemakers allowing the grapes to express themselves in finished refined wines.
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The Restaurant at Meadowood offers a refined dining experience in which the best local culinary traditions are woven with a modern, enlightened approach. The Restaurant features Napa Valley Cuisine, which is based on the innate goodness of regional ingredients. No wonder it was recently awarded two stars in the esteemed Michelin Guide.
900 Meadowood Lane St. Helena, CA 94574 Restaurant & Estate Reservations
Using organic and biodynamic practices, Viader produces an estate blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon as well as a Syrah. Its “V” label is a reserve Bordeaux-style blend featuring Petit Verdot. The newer DARE line features three distinct wines – a Cabernet Franc, a Spanish-style Tempranillo, and a Cabernet Sauvignon – from selected vineyards. The latter wines are made to be enjoyed slightly younger, while the signature Viader is both elegantly approachable and built for longevity. All are sophisticated food wines with nuances of black fruits and higher concentration but more supple tannins. “Understanding and interpreting the distinct personalities within each vineyard is the greatest challenge in winemaking,” Delia says.
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Behind the Viader label lies the story of a woman who might be called a force of nature. With a Sorbonne Ph.D. in philosophy and an MBA from MIT, Buenos Aires-born Delia Viader, a single mother of four, decided in 1986 to produce wines that reflect her strong character. She chose a spot on lower Howell Mountain and raised eyebrows when she planted her vines running down the hillside, without terracing, in the Bordeaux style. Today, Viader Vineyards is a thriving family business run by Delia and two of her children. In 2006, world-renowned enologist and family friend, Michel Rolland, was brought on as a consultant.
1120 Deer Park Road Deer Park/Angwin, CA 94576 Tastings by Appointment
The very topography that makes the vineyard so special also affords staggering views: forested terrain filled with wildlife, and, in the winter, occasional snow. Well above the frequent fog of the valleys below, the property looks onto a world that’s a far cry from the typical wine-country tourist’s experience.
But don’t let the dirty fingernails and boots fool you. Perched on a promontory overlooking Pope Valley in the Howell Mountain appellation, the family winery has partnered with legendary winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett – of Screaming Eagle and Grace Family Vineyards fame – to transform Howell Mountain’s traditionally “bold, no-holds-barred fruit” into well-balanced, elegant wines. Their signature label, the Lamborn Cabernet, has a “big elegant mouthful with a lot of finesse and personality,” says the winemaker. “It has lovely ripe aromas of blackberry, currants, black cherry, and sweet toasty caramel and cocoa.”
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When you visit Lamborn Family Vineyards, don’t look too closely at the owners’ fingernails – there may well be dirt under them. “We’re working farmers,” says Mike Lamborn. “We do it all ourselves. After all, nobody knows our grapes better than we do.” Rather than pouring at the counter, the Lamborns prefer to take their guests out among the rows in their eight acres of vineyards to see the origins of their handcrafted zinfandel and cabernet wines.
Summit Lake Drive Angwin, CA 94508 Tastings by Appointment
Round Pond Estate Olive Mill
DNV has cultivated a shared venture with Viviani Inc., Wine Country Destinations, to exclusively customize travel experiences for our readers. For over 28 years, Viviani has crafted unparallel collaborations with opulent resorts and ultra-premium, private wineries. Our expert assemblage is comprised of members from Virtuoso, Ambercrombie & Kent, and The Northern California Concierge Association(s). This expertise is rooted in wine country, to provide the most privileged access.
Balloon/Helicopter Rides. Travel over Napa Valley’s majestic views and unforgettable vineyards in the early morning hours. Our tours offer private individual rides which gracefully land on a ranch, near a winery vineyard. There you’ll engage in a gourmet champagne breakfast and winery tour. Lodging. Experience private, intimate celebrations in wine country villas, vineyard cottages, or picturesque estates to provide lodging, exclusive wine tastings and contemporary food and wine parings, and special events. We also have the insider’s scoop on properties avaliable to purchase through collaborations with premier real estate authorities. Dining. Our selection of wineries in Decanting Napa Valley were chosen as many also offer private dining experiences situated by vineyard, in wine caves or private cellars, the single most desired experience from our reader. Professional private chefs (both independent and winery affiliated) submerge themselves in knowledge of local sustainable produce and exceptional product. Progressive seasonal menus are pared with the hand-on consultation from the winemakers. It simply epitomizes life in wine country.
Women and Wine. A ”female flight” of sorts, an exclusive opporitunity to meet the women winemakers and/or winery owners who have garnered industry recognition with their own labels and winemaking techniques. This tour will introduce you to winemaking innovators, many of whom have contributed a female palette and vision to the Napa Valley lineage.
Wine Tour. The DNV wine tour will electrify will your senses. Guests are given a behind-the-scenes view of the daily operations; winery aromas and tastings (including sampling from both barrel and highly allocated vintages), and warm handshakes from vineyard artisans in their homes, caves, winery or cellars. Luxury transportation with a professional driver provides visits to a variety of wineries - from unique boutique to grand estates. Here you will sample, and can purchase, bottles that will garner enviable nods for your personal cellar. Each of our custom itineraries will be tailored to meet your individual palette and includes a gourmet picnic lunch. 2-4 guests. Includes: round trip transportation from your hotel (including San Francisco), professional guide, private tour of wineries, all related winery costs including tasting fees and gourmet picnic lunch. Custom sitdown winery lunches and/or dinners are available at an additional cost. Half day tours, and/or appellation specific tours are also available.
Bio-Dynamic Expedition. As people have discovered the health benefits of organic and natural foods, the wine industry has also shifted to an appreciation of bio-dynamic/organic methods for winemaking. Health benefits aside, wines produced in this way are extraordinary, displaying a complexity of character and a higher standard quality. Utilizing a vineyardâ€™s natural resources without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified organisms, these practices not only produce exceptional grapes, but actually heal the earth for future generations.
Round Pond Estate Olive Oil Tasting. A truly unique wine country experience. Round Pond Estate not only makes small-lot wines but also crafts artisan olive oils, and red wine vinegars on its family-owned Rutherford estate. Their small-production olive oil is consided one of the best in the US, and the tour allows one to learn about cultivation, harvest and production before tasting the olive oils and barrel-aged red wine vinegars as well as locally made bread, cheese and fresh produce from their bio-dynamic garden.
V Wine Cellar tasting. One loyal client calls it wine central for the Napa Valley. Scott Lewis is downto-earth and approachable. That’s why we think he and his team are the perfect enthusiasts to provide a tasting venue for many of the wines featured in Decanting Napa Valley. Guests may pre-arrange a tasting, and additionally have the opportunity to learn about the differences in appellations, winemaking styles, serving etiquette, and food and wine pairing innovations.
Viviani’s Winemaker Dinner. Experience a winemakers dinner unlike any other. Renowned vintner Linda Viviani offers Decanting Napa Valley readers an opportuntiy to break bread and dine among innovative winemakes and wine visionaries. This evening was crafted for those wine enthusists who wish to embrace the salt of the earth, the farmers, the “god-fathers of soil,” (and mothers, as it may be.)
Dry-Ice slowing fermentation
The Collectors’ Tour. Graciously contributing to Decanting Napa Valley’s vision to provide complete access into the wine country, Caldwell Vineyard has crafted unique wine experiences for the passionate wine enthusiast. For three generations Caldwell has been the inspiration and unparalled grape source for many of the famed cult wines and important wineries in Napa Valley, including Merus, Joseph Phelps, Philippe Melka and Pahylmeyer. Their in-house sommelier showcases the Caldwell wines with a unique sensory component, an interactive tour of the working winery cave and winemaking, as well as a hands-on blending of a bottle for each guest to take home. John Caldwell, a true Napa Valley legend often joins the tour regaling the guests with insightful stories! This unprecedented tasting, housed within a massive cave is a truly rare opportunity for advanced wine enthusiasts. Additionally, there is also limited recruitment for Caldwell Crush Camp, a real day working in the throes of harvest, featuring unprecedented access to the winemaking experience with winemaker Marbue Marke, a workman’s lunch, followed by the VIP Sensory Tasting, and a Winemaker Dinner.
the finest wine club ever cultivated
California’s premiere appellation specific and privileged wine club
Appellation Connoisseur offers the discriminating wine enthusiast allocations and entry into many of wine country’s prized wineries, emphasizing a specific appellation. This can only be obtained in concert with celebrated vintner and leading travel expert Linda Viviani. She is internationally recognized from a long and impressive pedigree which includes protégé to Robert Mondavi in the ‘80s, and continues today with winemaking legend Nils Venge, (the first American to achieve a perfect 100 points score by renowned wine critic Robert Parker). This distinctive history, combined with her wine tour expertise, allows AC members the most sought after, and revered insiders’ access into California’s wine country. Yearly Membership includes:
24 highly allocated, collectable wines showcasing a specific wine appellation, shipped in cases at Spring (release) and October (harvest) Each individual bottle will be autographed by the wine estate Due to limited production, many wines are not readily available to the public and will be obtainable only by Appellation Connoisseur Vintner notes with wine descriptions on the characteristics, history and micro-climates of each appellation Complimentary membership into V Concierge Privileged Luxury Travel accessing tastings and allocations at many non-public, cult recognized wineries A special invitation to the Harvest Tour, an unprecedented “look at behind the scenes” culture of each featured appellation, with members, winemakers and winery owners engaging in barrel tastings and regional food parings (limited attendance, additional fee) A limited-production, hand signed bottle of “14” a meritage blend, crafted from fourteen appellation-specific grapes, each contributing unique characteristics. Collaborated by the valleys most highly regarded growers and viticulturists Invitations to special wine releases and Napa Valley events Special promotion to corporations/groups as a business incentive gift
800 - 6 5 8 - 9 9 97
[ fine arts
Queen of Hearts 12â€™ x 16â€™ Kelleen Sullivan, Fine Art Shown by appointment / Sullivan Vineyards 1090 Galleron Road / Rutherford, CA 94573 kelleensullivan.com / 707.732.6131
Beach Scenes Don Hatfield Fine Art in giclee & originals Shown by appointment 4354 Dry Creek Road Napa, CA 94558 DonHatfield.com 707.224.5249
Flying Colors, Stephanie Gardner
Shown at Volakis Gallery Seasonal hours or by appointment 6730 Washington Street Yountville, CA 94599 / 945-1125 firstname.lastname@example.org
[ live arts
Lincoln Theater Located in Yountville, Lincoln Theater is the Napa Valleyâ€™s premiere performing arts venue. After under-going a 20-million dollar renovation, Lincoln Theater showcases stage quality performing arts in a totally modern, beautiful and elegant new facility. 100 Calif Dr. / Yountville, CA 94599 lincolntheater.com / 707.944.1300
COPIA Through a menu of fun and interactive programs, tastings, exhibitions, festivals, dining, performances and organic gardens, COPIA brings food enthusiasts together with leading vintners, chefs, gardeners and artists to explore and celebrate wine, food, gardens and the arts. 500 First Street/ Napa, CA 94559 copia.org /888.512.6742
The Napa Valley Opera House Built in 1879, the Margrit Biever Mondavi main stage theatre is the original historic performance space of the Napa Valley Opera House. The theatre has been lovingly restored to its original splendor by master craftsmen. 1030 Main St / Napa, CA 94559 napavalleyoperahouse.org 707.22.OPERA
American Viticultural Areas of the Napa Valley
Atlas Peak AVA: Atlas Peak is the highest point in the Vaca Mountain range at 2,700 feet, located northeast of the city of Napa. Zinfandel is emerging as the best varietal for the appellation’s growing conditions; however, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese are also planted in this region.
Calistoga AVA: Pending since 2003.
Carneros AVA: Straddling the borders of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys on the north coast of San Pablo Bay is the appellation known as Los Carneros– The Rams. The cool wind and fog in the early afternoon provide the ideal conditions for producing fine Chardonnays, elegant Pinot Noirs and crisp sparkling wines. In recent years, Carneros has also been recognized for the quality of its Syrah and Merlot.
Chiles Valley District AVA: This narrow appellation in the Vaca Mountains along the northeast side of the Napa Valley can be described as a ‘valley within a valley. It was named after Joseph Ballinger Chiles, who was given a land grant, Rancho Catacula from the Mexican government in the mid-1800s. The terroir is unique, as cooling bay breezes which affect the Napa Valley floor do not reach as far inland as Chiles Valley, making the climate more continental than maritime. Zinfandel is grown here with great success.
Diamond Mountain District AVA: Cabernet Sauvignon is the true diamond of this AVA. Covering 5,000 rocky acres in the Mayacamas Range on the northeast side of Napa Valley, this region has just over 500 acres under vine. Unique, porous, volcanic soils and extended exposure to the sun produce powerful Cabernets with chewy textures and diamond-hard tannins. Other varieties, including Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel, are being grown here with great success.
Howell Mountain AVA: Howell Mountain became the first Napa Valley sub-region to be designated an AVA in 1984. Overlooking St. Helena from the Vaca Mountain Range on the valley’s northeast side, the appellation encompasses around 14,000 acres, yet possesses only 600 acres of vines. The region is rugged, with vineyards at 1,4002,200 feet in elevation, avoiding the influences of the fog that often blankets the valley floor below. Howell Mountain is well known for its Bordeaux varieties and Zinfandels.
Mt. Veeder AVA: Nestled in the Mayacamas Mountains which divide the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valleys, this 25-square-mile appellation is situated on volcanic Mount Veeder at 2,677 feet above sea level. The slopes are steep, the soils are thin and the viticulture is back-breaking, but the result is intense, chewy wines with distinctive wild berry fruit flavors and magnificent spice.
Oak Knoll District AVA: Located toward the southern end of the Napa Valley at a relatively low elevation on the valley floor, the Oak Knoll District is accessible to the climate moderating effects of San Pablo Bay. The Carneros appellation, located to Oak Knoll’s immediate south, is generally the only place in Napa that can claim a cooler climate. The area’s reputation for a delicate and restrained style of Chardonnay has notable wineries from neighboring appellations choosing Oak Knoll fruit for their Chardonnays.
Oakville AVA: When H. W. Crabb planted a vineyard in Oakville in 1868, he named his chosen site To Kalon, Greek for most beautiful. Today, this vineyard is surrounded by 5,000 acres of vines, in an appellation that only totals 5,700 acres. The gravelly, well-drained soils are perfect for the world-class wines that are made here, mostly from Bordeaux varieties. They are characteristically rich and dense, with firm tannins and often with notes of mint and herbs.
Rutherford AVA: “Cabernets need a touch of that Rutherford dust.” (Andre Tchelistcheff, legendary winemaker of Beaulieu Vineyards). The celebrated vignerons of this appellation deeply respect the unique terroir here – as they say, the “dust.” The historic wineries of Inglenook and Beaulieu, as well as dozens of new houses, have proven that this six-square-mile plot of vines, halfway up the Napa Valley, rivals the best appellations of the Old World.
St. Helena AVA: The St. Helena appellation is located where Napa Valley floor narrows, between the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges. The history of winemaking in St. Helena is legendary, as Charles Krug opened his celebrated winery here in 1861. Located in an up-valley area, the climate is quite different from the surrounding regions. The marine air that affects the lower areas of the valley is not so dominant here, however, cool Pacific breezes from the north reach St. Helena, cooling vines and deliver graceful, intense fruit with concentration and depth.
Spring Mountain District: Currently known for its mountain-grown Cabernets, this region’s first premium wines were whites, particularly Chardonnay and Riesling. Vineyards here are on steep, east-facing terraces of the Mayacamas Mountain Range, situated up to 2,600 feet above sea level. Due to the higher elevations of the vineyards, fog is not a factor here like it is in much of Napa Valley. The Spring Mountain District’s wine-growing history reaches back as far as the Civil War, and by 1874 the legendary Beringer brothers had a vineyard planted here.
Stags Leap District: Legend has it that a great stag, escaping a hunting party, leaped from peak to peak on palisades towering over the Napa Valley below. Located on the Vaca Mountain Range, six miles north of the city of Napa, the Stags Leap District is a mere two square miles. Famous for Cabernets described like ‘a fist in a velvet glove,’ these are powerful wines with firm tannins, yet with a sense of elegance and grace that sets them apart. In 1976, at a blind tasting in Paris, nine judges awarded first place to a 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, ahead of the great growths of Bordeaux. That historic event not only put this tiny appellation on the map, but solidified California’s claim as one of the world’s great wine regions.
Tulocay AVA: Has been proposed and is anticipated to be indoctrinated in early spring 2008. It comprises a unique terroir east of the city of Napa. An unusually cool climate that corresponds ideally to the needs of a great many varietals. Red wines have dense color and intensity, whites vibrant fruit and vivacity. The meaning “Tulocay” comes from the Wappo Indian word for “red skin.” This name does bode well for the makers of the dark extracted red wines of the region.
Yountville: In 1836, George Calvert Yount, one of the Valley’s earliest settlers, was granted his Rancho Caymus. He soon planted the first vineyard just outside the town that now bears his name. Since then, vineyards have always existed in the appellation. The AVA has one of the valley’s coolest vineyard exposures. Its long, chilly growing season produces incredibly long-lived Cabernet Sauvignon, with rock-hard tannins and deep concentration.
Wild Horse Valley: One of the Napa Valley’s earliest appellations may well be its least known. The Wild Horse Valley AVA is a mere 3,300 acres in size, with barely over 100 acres under vine, and just a single winery calling it home. Straddling Napa and Solano counties, this viticultural area enjoys many hours, as summer fogs usually stop before reaching Wild Horse’s elevation. Its southerly location near San Pablo Bay exposes it to cool westerly winds from the ocean and bay, especially in the spring and summer.