Hey everyone! So for this post I decided to focus on actual wineries with tasting rooms combined. You all had better start thanking me for tasting all this wine for you! It’s starting to really affect hbow I wryte ;). Feel free to leave a comment or ask my opinion on anything wine from varietals to where to go in Napa/Northern California. Any suggestions for blog posts on any wine-related subject would be great too!
First up, we have the lovely T-Vine winery. If you come up the 29 watch out for it though as it comes up quickly before you reach Calistoga proper. Upon arrival I was welcomed by a friendly young lady named Jacey who showed me around the very clean modern industrial tasting room. The winery made great use of the metal/concrete theme and created a space that was warm and comforting without being too relaxed.
T-vine is a small production winery that uses older vines for a few of their wines. The light yet spicy 2015 Grenache I tasted was very interesting as well as their 2015 Calistoga Charbono (a rarity-only about 80 acres are left in the United States). I’m not normally a big fan of Napa Valley Zinfandel but their 2015 Frediani Zinfandel was one of the better Napa Valley Zins I’ve had.
I LOVE the fact that T-Vine has several hidden gems within its portfolio of wines but I also love the fact they don’t take big tour buses :). Overall T-Vine is a great winery well worth the stop. Be sure to call ahead and ask about some of their elevated experiences.
Tamber Bey is by far one of the most unique wineries I have seen from a setting standpoint. This hobby-turned-career winery is in one of the most scenic parts of Calistoga situated on a 22 acre horse ranch with 32 resident horses. This winery has stunning views of the mountains surrounding Calistoga and as you can see in the photos, beautiful grounds to boot. Tamber Bey makes less than 10000 cases a year and focuses on high quality wines. Most of what they produce comes from Yountville-about a 20 minute drive to the south.
For my tasting, I had a lively lady named Cher help me out. She started me off with a 2014 Chardonnay which was neither too crispy or butterscotchy but just right. Of particular interest to me was their Red Hills Rosé of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from Lake County. I always love tasting wines from out of the area to see what others are up to. Next up was best-selling 2014 Rabicano: a Cab dominant red blend that was very jammy and delicious. For my final pour Cher showed me a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville that smelled so good I could make soap out of it and it would sell gangbuster. In all, this Kentucky-style ranch/winery would make a fantastic addition to a day in Calistoga.
Von Strasser/Lava Vine
Von Strasser/Lava Vine Wines is another lovely winery/tasting room on the outskirts of the town of Calistoga. The Silverado Trail meanders by in this incredibly bucolic spot of the Napa Valley surrounded by vines, giving me the sense that I was really out in the country as opposed to only about two blocks from town. The tasting room, though smaller than some of the tasting rooms I had been to, was clean and far more intimate than many others. Outside was a beautiful outdoor patio where some fellow wine tasters were enjoying the inviting red outdoor couches and abnormally warm winter sun. There’s even a picnic ground for patrons.
Amy was my server and she wasted no time getting me up to speed on Lava Vine’s offerings. She showed me several great wines but the big stand outs were a 2016 Rose of Grenache, a 2014 Zinfandel from Diamond Mountain (the north-west side of the valley) and a delicious 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Knights Valley in Sonoma just to the northwest. The pictures say it all: a classy tasting room and classy wines.
Madrigal Family Winery
For the final tasting of my wine extravaganza I came across Madrigal, another small production winery. The location was breathtaking, right on the middle of the valley floor surrounded by vineyard with mountain views on all sides. As you can see, the main tasting room was smaller but still very comfortable and welcoming. There were two outside seating areas, one behind the winery and one in the front. Both really made me want to kick back out in the 80 degree winter afternoon. I was jealous of the people sitting out behind the winery perfectly under shade and surrounded by vineyards. I did a brief but delicious tasting with Barbara, a great hostess and wine educator. All of the wines were quite tasty but the wines that really got my attention were the deep gold Fume Blanc (an oak barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc), a 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet and the Nuestra Sangre-a superb wine with slight blackberry aroma.
This winery is by appointment only but you will have a great experience with very intimate and knowledgeable staff in an absolutely gorgeous setting. So give them a call and be prepared for a great time!
Calistoga is a fantastic part of the Napa Valley, and the rarity of the wines in the open marketplace makes it all the more unique. Be sure to check out these wineries’ social media pages and see their online stores for wines you can’t get anywhere else. If you do, give me a shout! I’d love to hear what you discover!