A weekend in Napa is the perfect way to unwind, spend time with friends, and expand your palate. Three of our favorite places to visit in Napa are all unique, offer something different and are great for groups or couples. These locations are not common finds in your local grocery or liquor store which makes them that much more special. If you love the wine, like we know you will, you’ll be able to order direct through the winery or even sign up for their wine clubs!
Del Dotto has two locations in Napa Valley, both offer a different experience. Our favorite is the Estate Winey and Caves location on St. Helena Highway. The Estate itself offers an unforgettable setting – it’s modeled like a Venetian palace. Upon entering you’re greeted with mosaic marble floors, fresco paintings, inlaid gold ceilings and ornate Venetian architecture.
Appointments are required, so be sure to call ahead. Don’t skimp out and please please go for the cave tasting! It’s worth every last penny and the time spent on tour. The cave tasting offers the opportunity to tour the caves and sample wines directly from the barrels. During the tour you’ll be offered generous… and we mean generous pours (they don’t have the nickname Del Blotto in the Valley for nothing), so a DD, uber, or hired driver is definitely recommended. The tour is fascinating and educational offering the opportunity to taste wines side by side that have been aged slightly differently, you’ll start to understand what you like in a wine through this experience. The tour ends with a wonderful wine pairing – gourmet meats and cheese plate, bread with their own olive oil, and homemade pizza! Ah that pizza is so dang tasty too! The whole experience is capped off with a dark chocolate and tasting of their port wine.
This winery is part of the Foley Johnson portfolio, it sits up above Lake Hennessey and reservations are required. When you get to this winery, you’ll be glad you hired a driver, the winding two mile drive up the mountain from the gate is filled with terrifyingly beautiful views and steep cliffside’s. Once you’re at the tasting room, if you are doing a tour, you are greeted with a glass of their Roscato – sweet and refreshing. Their tour will give you a background on the estate, you are able to see all of their cute little farm animals and then when you get to the top of the property the most breathtaking view of mountains and Lake Hennessey, later in the tour you’ll be taken to their barrel room and then a private patio area to finish off the rest of your wine tasting experience.
Now if you don’t want to splurge on the tour their group tasting is a wonderful experience. We did this the last visit there and it provides a guided wine tasting experience where you start off with whites and quickly move on to their bold and velvety Cabernet Sauvignons and juicy beautifully fruity Zinfandel. They sat us in their rustic outside patio that has views of rolling vines and mountain ranges. After the tasting is done you are able to purchase a glass of wine or bottles to enjoy on their property in their lower picnic area.
Located about 25-30 minutes outside of downtown Napa, right off St. Helena Highway. Far Niente sits at the end of a long tree lined driveway, perched on a hill. When pulling up to the estate there is a sense of beauty and history behind the property, founded in 1885. The grounds are beautiful filled with ponds, and water fountains creating a fairytale like atmosphere.
The winery provides an intimate setting for a tour and tasting (range from $80 – $100), in a private or small group lead by an engaging, knowledgeable guide. Tours and tastings are offered by appointment only, so be sure to call ahead.
After sipping on a welcome glass of Chardonnay we continued on to the tour. The tour starts in their fermentation room, continuing into the expansive caves. Their wine library contains bottles of every vintage dating back to 1979. We were able to find the vintage for our birth year; it was a unique experience to see bottles so old. The tour concludes with a view into their carriage house which holds a collection of classic cars (a nice treat for our husbands!).
Our tasting started with an estate bottled Chardonnay. Then, we moved on to their sister labels, EnRoute, Pinot Noir. Followed by a side by side of the 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2015 Cave Collection Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2015 Cave Collection Cab was bold and velvety smooth, definitely worth a try at home or at the estate! Capping off the tasting with the 2012 Dolce, a sweet dessert wine. The flight was paired expertly with cheeses, and nuts.
This is one winery worth going back to for the setting and the amazing wine.
The best way to start the day is with a little bubbly! Check out our guide to Sparkling Wines in Napa Valley.