First, we went to Louis M. Martini Winery, which was right across the street from where we were staying in St. Helena.
Louis Martini is known for their cabernet sauvignon, which happens to be my husband's favorite varietal, so this was a must stop for us. They have a couple of different tasting options, and we each chose a different one so we could share and try more wines. Though this winery is set up like some of the bigger wineries with a common tasting bar that you have to find a spot at, I didn't feel rushed or treated like cattle. The person doing our tasting took his time with us and shared lots of interesting facts about the winery and the wines. The only downside is that this really is more of an urban tasting room, as compared to the other more lush, natural landscapes we'd been in at Saturday's wineries. No matter, though, because we really enjoyed the wines and ended up taking 2 bottles home with us... the collection grows.
Next, we took a drive down the Silverado Trail to the town of Napa itself and Clos du Val winery.
With Clos du Val, we were back to the beautiful, natural winery setting with the vineyards right out front (and behind, and to the side) of the tasting room. I especially loved all that ivy growing on the front of the building - so pretty and romantic!
We have ordered Clos du Val at a number of restaurants because it is always consistently good wine. This held true at our tasting as well. Again we split 2 different tasting options - the regular and reserve - the get the full experience. From the winemaker's signature Three Graces White to the class pinot noir to the reserve cabernet, we loved all of the wines we tasted. So much so that we decided to join the wine club and get regular shipments. Our first one is set to arrive later this month - I can't wait!
After Clos du Val, we took a snack and walk break before heading over to O'Brien Estate Winery on the other side of town in Napa.
Fun fact: an "estate wine" is one that's grown, fermented and bottled all on site at 1 vineyard. All of O'Brien's wines are estate wines. Many of the wines are also given romantic names (Seduction, Passion of the Heart, etc.) and include poetry on the wine label. Despite the lovely outdoor setting and unique presentation, I wasn't blown away by these wines. They seemed very average to me--drinkable, but for the most part, not worth $50+/bottle. I did really enjoy the Seduction wine, however, so we bought a bottle of that (tasting was free with a bottle purchase, so with tastings at $20/each, we pretty much evened out).
6 wineries in 2 days, plus free tastings each night at The Harvest Inn, and we amassed a respectable, but still manageable little Napa collection to enjoy at home:
I hope you enjoyed my Napa trip report. This was our first trip, but I hope it won't be our last. There are so many wineries to try - do you have any favorites you'd suggest for next time?