Oh how I love Napa Valley! We went the second weekend of September and the weather was perfect, the grapes were ripening & it was breathtakingly beautiful everywhere you looked. We visited six wineries in two days, so I wanted to share some of the highlights and some of my favorite wines.
Day One, we started at Darioush Winery, which has such unique architecture! It's design was inspired by the heritage of it's founders, who are originally from modern day Iran. Darioush Khaledi started Darioush in 1997 with his wife because they loved wine, art, architecture, craftsmanship and culture. The winery now stretches 120 acres in Southern Napa Valley spanning the Mount Veeder and Oak Knoll AVA's. They make their wine in the Bordeaux-style and they are known for their big bold reds. The 2015 Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon was amazing with notes of dark fruit and bell pepper. It has some nice acidity, well-integrated oak and sweet tannins. This was one of my favorite wines of the weekend and a must try. I enjoyed all of their wines actually, and would highly recommend a visit! Fun fact, they are also one of the only wineries in Napa that grows Viognier grapes.
The next winery we explored was James Cole. They are also known for their big reds, but I thought it was interesting they only have Cabernet Sauvignon grapes planted on their property in Napa. I enjoyed their reds and the views were beautiful! The winery has a very homey feel to it, which makes sense since the owners live on the property. They have a Bocce Ball court, so it would be a great spot to spend an afternoon sipping on some vino, taking in the vineyard views and playing a classic Italian game!
We wrapped up day one at Hess. The service was great and we explored their Art Gallery as well... very interesting when you've been drinking wine all day! Ha!
Day Two we started at Trefethen Family Vineyards. I love this winery! This is the second time I have been and I love the vibe, the decor, the people, and of course, the wine! They are celebrating their 50th Anniversary right now, so it's an exciting time for the winery. They have some vines that have been on their property since the seventies and eighties. We had the opportunity to try a 1995 Chardonnay! Who knew Chardonnays could age that long?! And it was fantastic! They are pretty well know for their Dragon's Tooth red blend, which combines Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon & Petit Verdot. It presents flavors of blackberry and cracked pepper, with a nice finish. Both times, I left Trefethen with multiple bottles of wine... other favorites from Trefethen include their Cabernet Franc & Pinot Nior. Go to this winery if you are in Napa!
We then went to Rombauer Vineyards, which has beautiful views up on the hill. They are, of course, known for their buttery Chardonnay if that's your style, but I prefer their crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
We wrapped up Day Two at Caymus Vineyards. They are know for their Cabs and rightfully so! Both of the Cabs I tried were spectacular! The 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is well balanced & soft with flavors of cassis, dark berries, lavender and nutmeg, with a long finish. I recently heard, the one and only Mariah Carey, is a huge fan of their cabs as well! Great wine and beautiful gardens make Caymus Vineyards a great stop to add to your Napa list.
Overall, it was a fantastic trip and I was grateful to see the vineyards lush with grapes before the impending Harvest season. I'd love to hear about your Napa and other Wine Tasting Adventures in the Comments! Cheers!