Published on: August 6, 2010
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my upcoming trip to Northern California, and asked for recommendations about wineries worth visiting in Napa and Sonoma. Well, I got a ton of emailed recommendations...and obviously I could not go to all of them in the few hours that I had there.
However, one MNB user wrote and asked if I would post a list of all the wineries recommended by readers...which sounded like an outstanding idea. So here it is, in alphabetical order. The wineries that got more than one endorsement are marked with an “x”.
Chateau Montelena (X)
Clos Pegase (X)
Del Dotto (X)
Francis Coppola Winery (Sonoma)
Sattui Winery (X)
Sherwin Family Vineyards
Silver Oak (X)
The great thing about this list is that I can keep it on my iPhone for future visits ... and you can do the same. It is a wonderful resource, and I thank all the contributors.
As I said, I could not possibly hit all of the suggested wineries - especially because I was doing all the driving and had to maintain some level of responsible behavior in front of by daughter - so I decided to hit three that I’d never visited before.
The first was the beautiful marble and glass Darioush winery in Napa, which was founded by food retailer Darioush Khaledi. It is a fabulous location, offering a wonderful tasting experience for both the expert and the casual visitor. Since I count myself in the latter group, I can only say that I tasted both a Viognier and a Cabernet Franc, and loved them both - and was waited on by a charming young man from Louisiana who was knowledgeable and made the experience entirely accessible.
Our next stop was Chateau Montelena, which is the winery that was featured in Bottle Shock
, one of my favorite movies of recent years. Unfortunately, we got there at 4:05 pm...and the winery closed at 4. (Who the hell closes anything
at 4 pm?)
So we decided to drive north and make the loop into Geyeserville, in Sonoma, where I wanted to see the new Francis Coppola Winery and Rustic restaurant that just opened there. I was not disappointed - the wines were terrific (especially the 2007 Reserve Syrah, and the 2006 Archimedes Cabernet Sauvignon, which Elizabeth, who helped us through the tastings, told me would be even better if saved for 10 years...which means that I’ll be pulling it out for my 65th birthday.
And I have to tell you, the restaurant was lovely. Only opened a couple of days earlier, it features both inside and outside seating...my daughter and I sat on the patio, overlooking the vineyards and enjoyed a delicious meal - she had a hamburger (naturally, since that’s about all she eats these days, but she said it was one of the best burgers she’d ever eaten), and I had grilled salmon, which was melt-in-your-mouth good.
Coppola’s Sonoma location - which also features a museum with artifacts from a number of his movies, including the desk from The Godfather
and an actual Tucker automobile - is definitely worth the trip.
Another note about my travels...
After all the discussion of several weeks ago here on the site, I desperately wanted to go to House of Nanking in San Francisco for dinner, but both times we went by there the line was so long that we could not get in without a significant wait (and I was traveling with my 16-year-old daughter, for whom waiting was not a preferred option). So at the very least, based on the lines, the information I got during my last trip was at best misguided... Next time I am in San Francisco, it'll be by myself, and I will go out of my way to go to House of Nanking...even if I have to wait on line.
I like to think that this means that I remain capable of personal growth.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.
(Quick tip - we’re launching a big new contest here on MNB next week...so don’t miss out!)