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Napa wineries for wine novices

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Jun 19th, 2013, 02:02 PM
  #1
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Napa wineries for wine novices

My husband and I will be stopping in Napa for three days as part our summer CA vacation. What wineries/vineyard are must-see for two not-very-snobbish wine drinkers. We actually prefer whites and some light reds --not sue I should admit that . I have Sterling on the list because of the view, but I'm overwhelmed but the multitude of option. We're staying right in Napa during our visit.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 02:41 PM
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Two wineries come to mind right away, because they are places that will give you confidence and an experience in different ways.

The most super-relaxed winery with a casual, rustic, come-as-you-are tasting room is Casa Nuestra Winery on Siverado Trail , north of Deer Park Road, between St. Helena and Calistoga. It is the basic farm where they produce their wines, with the farm equipment there in plain sight. The picnic area is casual and relaxing and peaceful. You may or may not like the wines but no one is going to pressure you to buy.

A different experience is at Peju Winery on Highay 29 in Rutherford. The winery is more formal looking with lovely grounds and sculptures. However, the staff is very very friendly and cheerful, and the winery has always produced a variety of wines to appeal to a variety of palates. No one will make you feel badly if you prefer the cheapest bottle of wine. I recommend Peju because you would have an opportunity to try several different styles and get a lot of information about each type. They present and offer wines I groups
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Jun 19th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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Oops, iPad problems. The presentation of wines is offered in tasting groups. I think you might enjoy this opportunity to taste and learn a little bit in a very unthreatening way. Some of the hosts are quite entertaining and funny.

Once you've gone to a winery like this, you will feel more confident about visiting other wineries. By the way Peju does produce some excellent wines, but my favorites may not be yours - and that's OK!
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Jun 19th, 2013, 02:54 PM
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Tell your wine host the types of wine you prefer, and you will be given tastes of wines that might appeal to you. I think Peju offers 2 whites and 3 very light reds in addition to their powerhouse line-up of top-notch Cabernets, etc.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 04:28 PM
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I recommend Frogs Leap, in Rutherford. The wine was great, and for the tastings, you get to sit outside on the patio overlooking their lovely vineyard. Very friendly staff, and just a good vibe to the place. I would consider myself a novice too, but a few years ago, I got to enjoy a wonderful trip to Sonoma and Napa, and this is was my favorite winery. I would have loved to visit Sterling too, but we got there late in the day, and didn't want to pay for the Gondola ride for such a short stay, but there's always next time..

If you have the time, I think it is worth it to visit Healdsburg, it is not far from where you are staying.
Have a great time, I am jealous
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Jun 19th, 2013, 08:06 PM
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I suggest you make time for Domaine Chandon--surely you like sparkling wine, right? You can tour the caves, enjoy a flight tasting of their sparkling wines outside, have a cheese plate...very pretty setting.

Enjoy your trip! I am one of those who prefers Sonoma over Napa, but our first wine trip was to Napa many moons ago and we had a great time. Wine country isn't a snobbish place at all--I think you'll be pleasantly suprised at how friendly and unpretentious it really is.

Make a stop at Oakville Gorcery while you're there--it's the quintessential California gourmet market, chock full of tasty stuff.
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Jun 19th, 2013, 11:10 PM
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Eat at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. If you don't have reservations, they have a communal table. This is about as authentic French food as you can get.

Most of the other restaurants in Yountville are over the top pretentious.

I second Domaine Chandon. Sit outside, order some sparkling wine with bread and cheese. Makes for a great, relaxing afternoon.

Dean and Delucca is another gourmet shop. Next door to it is the St. Helena Wine store, with a great selection of wines.
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Jun 20th, 2013, 04:58 PM
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I do love sparkling wine, and, cheese, and French food, so thanks for all of the recommendations. Frogs Leap and Domaine Chandon were on my short list, and the other place sound like a perfect range of experiences. We can't wait to go!
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