Napa Valley: Finding that Perfect Bottle

Napa Valley: Finding that Perfect Bottle

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It was impossible to leave San Francisco without taking a day trip to Napa Valley, considered one of the premier wine regions of the world.  With that being said, we decided to venture a few hours up north to wine country one morning.

My mission: to find a bottle that I actually enjoyed.  Although I am not much of a wine drinker, I was determined to find at least one I was comfortable sipping without making that god-awful face of mine (you know, when something just doesn’t taste right).  I particularly like sweet white or rose wines, sweet dessert Rieslings to be exact.  And if there is no super sweet riesling, I’ll opt for something sparkling.  If I couldn’t find at least one I would enjoy in wine country, then I was clearly not exploring Napa the correct way (or drinking enough wine!)

Without any guidebook or map in hand, we drove around the area picking and choosing which wineries to stop at, basically “eenie-meeny-miny-mo”-ing each to decide.

After much thought, we ultimately ended up at: Peju, Schramsberg, Franciscan, V. Sattui, and Beringer.  Each one was special, and very different in its own way.

Our tasting at Peju was great- they had such a variety, and the tasting room was pretty intimate (and felt pretty first class), as it was only us in the room.  The grounds are lush and beautiful and very impressive, although the sculptures are rather weird.  However, even with all the different choices, neither of them really tickled my fancy, they were all too dry for my liking.  Off to the next…

We had a great lunch of various cheeses, cured meats, fresh italian bread, and of course some vino at V. Sattui, where we found some large barrels which we doubled as a picnic table.  Nice atmosphere, and basically the only winery we could find on our drive with some food options.  Again, the tastings were good eh, but I even didn’t really love the Riesling they presented to me.  Am I being too picky?!?!

Unfortunately, we failed to realize that Schramsberg, which houses all its wines in caves (pretty cool!) was closed to visitors on the weekend.  With this being said, we were unable to take a tour of the vineyard or even participate in a tasting.  (We still  walked around and admired what we could.)  Poor planning on our part.  And of course this is the winery that specializes in sparkling wine, my favorite!

Luckily, (and finally), after half a dozen tastings and a meat and cheese lunch, I found the perfect bottle at Beringer – a special blend of white and rose.  We bought one right away (it was super affordable- thank god) and drank it that night during dinner.  The combination of the white and the rose put the most perfect taste in my mouth.  Sweet, but not too sweet that it tasted like juice (although I am prone to buying the latter at home in NYC, and drinking the whole thing).

And then there was the Franciscan, which I have to be honest with you, I can’t really remember much about this winery. I’m actually not positive that we did a tasting here, since we were pretty wined out at this point.  Being a happy girl now that I’ve found my wine at Beringer, there wasn’t really any point in continuing.  Plus, N. had to drive (he had been driving the entire time), so we figured it was smart to cut ourselves off at this point.

Just the drive around Napa alone was beautiful.  The twists and the turns.  The lush greens among the empty roads towering over us.  It felt like we were the only ones there.


  • katiecoakley says:

    Great post–I found that sampling a ton of wines did get a bit overwhelming. I loved V. Sattui, too–though it might have been the opportunity to get snacks that I liked the best!

    • Jessica says:

      thanks, and thanks for the comment! and yes, after quite a few tastings we were all wined out for the day. There's always next time, right? I still want to check out Schramsberg, the winery that was closed! I love sparkling wine!

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