Sonoma Makes Wine, Napa Makes Auto Parts: The Napa Run
Our first wine tour stop was west of downtown Napa at the Michael Mondavi Family Estates. Originally serving as President, CEO and Chairman of the Robert Mondavi Winery, Michael chose to strike out on his own in 2004 and set up shop 13 miles away. They bottle fifteen wines under seven labels. They offer two tasting flights – costs are $12.50USD (Gallery) and $20USD (Heritage). We went with the Heritage flight. Favorites: Spellbound Petit Syrah (2007 Reserve –$ 45USD, 2010 – $18USD), Hangtime Arroyo Seco 2008 ($20USD).
We continued our trip by traveling north on the fabled highway 29 through Napa Valley. There are so many wineries along the route that it’s possible in several areas to walk (or crawl) from one to the next. The only drawback would be remembering where you left the car. The scenery along the route is beautifully accented with large Victorian estate homes, neatly groomed vineyards and rolling hills making the drive pleasant and relaxing.
Our next quest took us to Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford. Jack Cakebread purchased this property in 1972 and has successfully earned a reputation for consistent high quality wines. Tasting and tours are offered but be sure to make a reservation. The costs range from $15 (wine only) to $45USD (includes food pairing). Favorites: Chardonnay Reserve Napa Valley (2010 – $55USD) and the Red Lake Zinfandel (2010 – $30USD).
Rombauer was our next and final stop for the day. Located on Silverado Trail in Saint Helena in the northern part of Napa Valley, Rombauer Vineyards is situated on a hillside with a well maintained winding garden path and excellent vistas. A tasting flight of four wines is $15USD. Favorites: Carneros Chardonnay (2011 – $34USD) and Rombauer Zinfandel (2010 – $30USD).
We headed back to town for dinner and began planning the Sonoma Valley itinerary.
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