When I started my first shift at what used to be Webster’s Restaurant and Library Lounge, the only thing I knew about wine was that I didn’t drink it. I was so intimidated by those around me talking about their favorite “cabs” and “pinots”, and wondered why I couldn’t find this so called “cab” on the list anywhere! It certainly didn’t take me long to fall in love, beginning with sips of exotic, tropical filled New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and the oaky, buttery Chardonnays of California. From there I found the reds, and never looked back. I couldn’t tell you a favorite, because I love so many for so many different reasons. The earthy, deliciously dirty pinots from Oregon, and the Barolos and Barbarescos that are as rich in history as they are in flavor. It doesn’t matter if I’m enjoying my cheap “go-to” from the local market, or popping open something special from a recent winery visit, I love red wine.
Driving into California wine country, I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I could bottle this smell, and take it home with me”. The air was filled with an aroma that I had only smelled once before, while driving Old Mission and Leelanau’s peninsulas a few summers ago. It’s a smell that can’t be fully described, you just need to visit wine country and take a whiff for yourself, because most will tell you that it smells like wine, and I can promise you, it’s so much more than that.
The first winery we visited, we being – my fiancé, his sister and her husband, was Jarvis Estate, and it was certainly one of my favorites in the valley. The entire winery is actually completely contained within 45,000 square feet of caves. These caves are tunneled into the Vaca mountains, and provide the perfect environment for aging some of California’s best wines. We were able to tour the estate with a small group, the other half of the group hailing from Texas and this clearly was not their first stop of the day, as the mother of the group had many pressing questions in regards to her beloved “boxed” wine. Luckily, we were blessed with an awesome sommelier with a very dry sense of humor, so he was able to poke fun at the group, providing us with some added entertainment.
They make a stellar Chardonnay, but are really known for their elegant, tasty reds. We were able to try many of these in an unbelievable wine tasting included in our tour, and still have a bottle of their 2007 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon getting more delicious by the day in our wine cooler. Of course, I forgot to bring my camera along for this stop, so I missed out on photographing the beautiful estate and winery, so I highly suggest visiting their website, or the winery if you’re ever in the area.
Next stop, America’s House of Sparkling Wine, otherwise known as Schramsberg Vineyards. This is another winery within caves, 34,000 square feet of caves to be exact, but they specialize in sparkling wines. On any given day there can be up to 2.7 million bottles of wine in the Schramsberg caves!
These wines are aged anywhere from 2 to 10 years before being released. The estate is located on Diamond Mountain, and is rich with history that the current owners are always trying to restore. I loved how passionate the staff was about the history of the winery, and how proudly they held themselves as members of the Schramsberg team. They seem like a tight-knit group, and that’s something I can really respect and understand in the world of food and beverage. The tour was very intimate, and led to a candle-lit wine tasting before being released into the Tasting Room to purchase as much wine as you can ship home. We went with a bottle of their 2009 Brut Rose, which is being kept safe until we say our “I-do’s” in December. Whether you love sparkling wines or not, Schramsberg is definitely a must-see in Napa.
Another favorite stop was Stags’ Leap, but that will need a blog post of it’s own. The Manor House was out of this world beautiful, the history behind the estate is exciting yet slightly scandalous, the wines were delicious and I finally cleared up the Stags’ Leap/Stag’s Leap/which one had the leaping stag confusion! Maybe I’ll crack open their 2010 Petite Sirah for that adventure.
Until then, drink what you love and share what’s in your glass with our team at Webster’s Prime. Whether your sipping on something new and exciting, visiting your favorite winery or cracking open a bottle of your old go to, we want to know what your drinking … because we might want to drink it too! #whatsinyourglass
Want to get out of the house and sip some vino? Join us every Wednesday for Wine Down Wednesday! ½ off select wines by the glass AND by the bottle, live music with Steve Kamerling , delicious eats and always friendly, welcoming service. Sit back, relax and enjoy yourself, you probably deserve it!