The best vineyards in Napa
Running one of the best vineyards in Napa is a lot of work. A vineyard is a farm, and farming is already famous for being hard work. In addition, the winemaker must match the right variety of grape to their particular terroir and choose just the right moment to harvest the grapes — the margin for error is much lower than when harvesting, say, corn. And every piece of equipment used at a winery that comes into contact with the must needs to be kept surgically clean and sterile — the sugar-rich must that sustains the yeast until the sugar is converted into alcohol could just as easily sustain the growth of toxic bacteria. Even with that, every tank and barrel needs to be checked every few days to make sure it’s at the right temperature and isn’t suffering any bacterial invasion.
Wine clubs and wine tastings at vineyards
The best vineyards in Napa have tasting rooms and wine caves, where visitors can sample old library wines and the vintages of more recent years for a reasonable fee. Joining a wine club is a great way to get invited to wine tastings. Bigger vineyards have scheduled tours, and you can usually tour the smaller vineyards by appointment. When you visit a smaller vineyard, you have a much better chance of talking to someone involved in making the wine, or even the owner — although they may be very busy, since, as mentioned before, running a vineyard is a lot of work.
Some of the best wines in Napa come from near St. Helena
Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Helena, is one of the best vineyards in the Napa Valley area. Their Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends are widely regarded as among the best wines in Napa. It holds tastings in its barrel caves, where current releases and library wines may be sampled and visitors can learn all about the process of making and storing the wine. Cave tastings are $65, but one tasting fee can be waived by joining their wine club or making a $100 purchase.
A wine you might find at an Anderson’s Conn Valley wine club wine tasting is the 2009 Estate Reserve Cabernet. Coming from an excellent year with a long hang time for the grapes, the ’09 Estate Reserve is a dense purple wine with a reddish-purple edge. Its aroma is of red and black cassis, violets, loamy earth and concentrated minerals. It has a medium to full-bodied mouth feel and the flavor of dark berries and red fruits with earth, leather and graphite notes. Join their wine club today and try a more recent Estate Reserve.