The Best Appointment-Only Tasting Experiences in Napa and Sonoma Wine Country
Some of the best experiences in Napa and Sonoma counties require some extra planning, meaning you have to make an appointment. But they’re well worth the effort. A word to the wise—reach out for appointments at these wineries well in advance of your travels. Happy tasting.
by Jonathan Cristaldi, Food & Wine Magazine, November 28, 2017
For one of the most authentic and old-fashioned experiences in Napa, make the winding trek up Spring Mountain Road to visit with winemaker Charles Smith or his brother, viticulturist Stuart Smith. Take in dramatic views of the valley below through a corridor of 100-year-old olive trees and sample three current releases—Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon, all grown on the estate vineyards surrounding the winery on the top of Spring Mountain. You’ll be regaled with stories of Napa past and present because the brothers have been growing grapes for 46 years. Tip: ask about Smith-Madrone’s Cook’s Flat Reserve ($225, with each bottle initialed and numbered). Also, keep an eye out for Smith’s son, next-generation winemaker Sam Smith, who will debut his own label Curly St. James—a Cabernet-dominant blend—in the fall of this year. Having sampled it at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, I can attest that it’s a tremendous wine from one of Napa’s rising star winemakers.
Appointments available: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Phone: (707) 963-2283