Napa and Sonoma Feature
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Top Napa Wineries
Artesa Vineyards & Winery
The modern, minimalist layout of Artesa blends harmoniously with the surrounding landscape, yet this Napa winery makes a vivid impression with its outdoor sculptures and fountains. You can taste at your own pace here, savoring each wine—and the superb vineyard views—from the tasting bars, indoor seating areas, or outdoor terraces. Extend the pleasure with wine-and-food pairings that include tapas, cheeses, or chocolates.
You'll feel like the lord or lady of the manor at this winery in Napa, and with good reason: the main building was modeled after an 18th-century French château owned by the Champagne-making Taittinger family, which co-owns Domaine Carneros. On a sunny day, the experience of sipping a crisp sparkling wine on the outdoor terrace—with caviar on toast points, s'il vous plaît—is royal indeed.
You can tour the 1885 stone winery and view the collection of gleaming classic cars before sitting down to taste Far Niente's famed Cabernet Sauvignon blend and Chardonnay. Although a visit to this Oakville winery costs more than most others in the Wine Country, the small size of the tour groups, the beauty of the grounds, and the quality of the wines make it worth a stop, especially if you're a fan of dessert wines. A sister property produces Dolce, one of the world's most highly regarded dessert wines.
The rare winery that doesn't seem to take itself too seriously, Frog's Leap is known for its entertaining, lighthearted tours. While you learn about the Rutherford winery's history and get a glimpse of the organic gardens and deluxe chicken coop, the guides aren't afraid to crack a few jokes or describe all the whimsically named wines that have been produced over the years.
The Hess Collection
Before heading to this Napa winery's tasting room to sip the excellent Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays, take the time to wander through owner Donald Hess's personal art collection, full of large-scale canvases and other works by important 20th-century artists such as Robert Motherwell, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Rauschenberg, and Francis Bacon.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards
In good weather, there are few more glorious tasting spots in the Napa Valley than the terrace at this St. Helena winery. The place is known for its delectable Cabernet Sauvignons and Insignia, a Bordeaux blend.
One of the most entertaining tours in the Napa Valley is at sparkling-wine producer Schramsberg, where the 19th-century cellars hold millions of bottles. After you learn how the bubblies at this Calistoga mainstay are made using the méthode champenoise process, and how the bottles are "riddled" (turned every few days) by hand, you can sip generous pours during a seated tasting.Updated: 07-2013
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