Napa on my mind (Part II)
Back to the Valley and, as I said last week, I’m going to give recommendations about what I think are the best Cali wines. Because I’m a red lover, I will stick to reds, which doesn’t mean that there aren’t great whites too, but that’s for another post!
If you are willing to build a collection and add enormous value to your cellar, the most exceptional reds, in my opinion are: (sometimes the waiting list at these wineries is a few months, sometimes a few years, but worth the wait!)
- Abreu Vineyards: 2006 Cabernet Madron Ranch and 2002 Cabernet Thorevilos.
- Vérité: 2003 La Joie
- Harlan Estate: 2001 Harlan Estate and 2002 The Maiden.
- Screaming Eagle: 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon
If, however, the idea is to have more value and find accessible reds, my short-list of recommendations are:
- Sine Qua Non: 2002 Just for the Love of It (Syrah)
- Teachworth Winery: 2002 Estate Cabernet
- Schrader Cellars: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 4
- Araujo Estate Wines: 2005 Cabernet Eisele Vineyard
Finally, I wanted to mention some wineries that are worth travelling to. Among the hundreds of wineries in the Napa-Sonoma area, I could probably select 50 that I love, and that have great tasting rooms, fun people and feature interesting winemakers. But I won’t. Instead, I will give you my three faves, places that are original and really a good time.
The first one is Hess Collection. it’s a bit complicated to get there, but who cares? If you have a GPS by all means trust it, if not, then enjoy the vistas while you get lost! Hess, has amazing wines, especially the sublime “The Lion”. Also, while you are there, check out their UNBELIEVABLE art collection. Hess’ owner, Donald Hess, has been collecting art for more than four decades, all fueled by passion and a keen eye for what he loves. The result is an impressive art collection, displayed in a museum-like space where new artists get to be shown along masters like Francis Bacon and Robert Motherwell. The collection rotates and changes all the time but it doesn’t matter because it will always amaze.
Artesa is the second winery that comes to my mind as a place that must be seen. Like its name, Artesa has been displaying art exhibits with a focus on one artist at a time ever since it opened almost twenty years ago. The structure itself is the coolest minimalist building and once you are in, it’s all terraces, gardens with sculptures and killer views, including the striking San Francisco Bay!
Robert Mondavi: ok, this is also a cliché like the French Laundry, but Robert Mondavi was such a Napa lover and his hard work put all California wines on the map originally. Just for that reason, you have to stop by, even for a few minutes. Although the winery became very touristy a few years ago, and it was bought by Constellation Brands, the Mondavi name and his legacy can be felt throughout. This winery has also art events and collections but the most beautiful feature about it is the expansive well-manicured gardens and the miles and miles of vines.