A Guest's Perspective: Where To Taste In Napa Valley
I am so excited to preview my first Guest Blogger Lindsey Staples of Delicately Balancing Life, a Lifestyle blog based in Northern CA! I don't know why it took me so long to jump on the guest blogger train, but I have to thank Lindsey for the motivation and nudge to do it! THANKS LADY!! Even in a busy busy month in the Napa Valley and for me personally, with work, the blog, house renovations etc etc I was able to make it happen and so was Lindsey! I think that is a true testament to this career path and the fact that it is SO enjoyable to blog and share with each other. We both make our blogs a priority even with life being hectic as ever and both having other full time jobs (don't forget that whole Lindsey has a baby too!). It's been really wonderful to work with Lindsey on our collective posts and add another boss babe to my blogger tribe! If you haven't seen my post featured on Lindsey's blog, it out HERE!
Now for the fun stuff I was talking about earlier, I thought it would be so amazing to bring in someone like Lindsey, who loves Napa Valley, collects wine and is a very discerning lady. So I am pleased to bring you one of the first in a series of guest blogger posts that will be all about the Napa Valley from "A Guests Perspective..."
My hope is that you can make a better decision on where to taste, eat and stay with multiple opinions of those not only living in Napa, but the ones who choose to spend their hard earned $$ here! See below for Lindsey's post (hopefully 1st of many :)).......
Hello fellow wine lovers! I am honored to be a guest blogger on Mallory’s blog! I met Mallory while tasting at Silver Trident earlier this year and we formed a connection over our love of wine and blogging. I blog over at www.delicatelybalancinglife.com; mostly on topics related to parenting, with some posts on marriage, style and travel sprinkled in.
As frequent visitors to the Napa Valley, my husband and I have honed our taste over the years and have come to appreciate that the experience can be just as important as the wine, so I thought I’d share a little about what we look for when exploring the many, many wineries in Napa.
The Royal Treatment
We all love to feel like we are important, right? There is no better way to do this in Napa than to book appointments for private tastings. While a lot of wineries offer tasting appointments, not all are private, so poke around a little when making your tasting appointments and ask questions about the experience, like whether there will be a tour of the cave or if you will have a hosted tasting. A few of our favorite places for a private, hosted tasting are Silver Trident, Bure, Crocker & Starr, Mending Wall and Cardinale.
Tasting Fee Discretion
I’m just going to come right out and say it – a HUGE pet peeve of mine is when a winery will not waive a tasting fee when you join their winery and/or make a large(ish) purchase. When calling ahead to book an appointment, ask what their policy is on tasting fees. I find it offensive to pay $50/person to taste after I spent $450 in wine or joined their wine club and will be spending five-figures on wine over the course of the year! Ask ahead of time so you are prepared!
Who doesn’t love a little something to nosh on while they are enjoying their favorite adult beverage? A few of our favorite wineries offer small bites to enjoy while tasting, as it really helps to amplify all the nuances of the wine! I previously touted Silver Tridentand Cardinale for their private experiences, but want to also give them a shout-out in this category! Another fun one for pairings is Robert Sinskey.
A Little Extra Love!
Many wineries have a pre-selected list of 4 wines and you get a conservative 2 ounce pour of each and that’s it. Done. Buh-Bye.Sometimes the wine is bad enough that you’d prefer they not keep pouring, but most of the time you are longing for just a little more. A bonus pour. Or the option to “revisit” one or more of the wines. For those who aren’t in the know, “revisit” is the classy way to ask for seconds of your favorite wine! As in “I’d like to revisit the 2013 cabernet from Howell Mountain, please and thank you!” I am in no way suggesting you keep revisiting until you over-imbibe, but it is a nice touch for wineries to offer a little more, so you can make sure that your potential purchase really stacks up after you’ve had three other wines to taste.
Live a Little; Laugh a Little
Wine is serious business, but wine tasting doesn’t have to be a pinky in the air, swirl, sniff, spit experience! Relax, have fun, and don’t be afraid to ask questions of your wine host; that’s what they are there for. There really are no stupid questions! If you’ve been wondering why there are rose bushes planted at the end of the rows of grapes, ask your winery host. Actually, ask the host at every winery you visit. It’s interesting to get everyone’s opinions of all things Napa related!
Commit to Visiting a New Winery Each Time You Are In The Valley
This is a hard one for me. I know what I love and I love what I love. I know where I’m guaranteed to love the wine and the experience, but it’s also fun to explore new places! Thank little baby Jesus, we live close enough to Napa to visit often, so if we occasionally strike out at one of our stops, we just mark it off the list and won’t go back. But we’ve also discovered some of our faves by doing this, including Revana, Ovid and Alpha Omega.
There really are no bad days in Napa, so book a trip and start exploring all that the beautiful Napa Valley has to offer. And don’t forget to eat! I can assure you that your beautiful day in Napa will go south quickly if you don’t maintain a good base of food. Here are a few of our favorite dining spots: R & D Kitchen, Redd Wood, Hurleys, Farmstead and Mustards.
Have fun exploring our home away from home and share with Mallory and me some of your tips for a great day in the Valley! Xo Lindsey