We then walked into the caves to see the oak barrels and famous library that can be rented for private events. Luckily, none of this collection was damaged from the recent earthquake since the wire racks are screwed into the cave walls. Next, we moved inside to sit down and try some reds - Cabernet Sauvignon "SLD", Pinot Noir from Los Carneros, and Cabernet Franc from Vandal Vineyard - all paired with a generous meat and cheese board featuring freshly baked quiches, gougères, olives, figs, and roasted almonds. My favorite red was the Marcien, Los Carneros, Napa Valley 2008. As the wine airs in the glass, subtle notes of cinnamon, clove, and citrus zest appear. This $90 bottle of wine has a firm core of tannin and bright, mouth watering acidity to balance the rich fruit. It married expertly with the rich Harbison cheese from Jasper Hill Farms and the Shepherdista from Bleating Heart. To.Die.For. Our tour at RSV was memorable and one of our favorites of the whole trip.
After this incredible feast, we still had lunch plans. So off we went to pick up our fried chicken from Addendum. It was a beautiful day, and I was having a blast. We decided to squeeze in one more tasting room visit at Beaulieu Vineyards. One of the oldest producers in the valley, BV offers tours of the original winery building, which dates back to 1885. These are followed by barrel samples of Cabernet and a stop in the new Heritage Room, which chronicles the history of wine in Napa. We just did the Maestro Tasting for $15 per person and sampled the 2013 Maestro Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Carneros Reserve Chardonnay, 2012 Maestro Pinot Noir No. 5, 2011 Rutherford Cabernet, and the 2009 Maestro Red No. 1. We really enjoyed the red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures at this stop.
Next, one of the larger vineyards we visited was Sterling Vineyards. They are known for their cable car ride which offers unparalleled views of the Napa Valley. We did the Sterling Silver Experience for $39 per person that included special access to the upper level of the winery where we were greeted with a glass of wine to enjoy while we strolled through art galleries, overlooks, and elevated walkways that allowed us to follow the wine making process from grape to glass. Along the way, motion-activated flat-screen televisions provide detailed explanations. This leisurely arrangement let us tour the winery at our own pace and enjoy the views of the compelling southern vistas off the terrace. It was pleasurable, but I much preferred the experience at the smaller wineries instead. Our self-tour was followed by a seated wine tasting experience featuring single vineyard and limited release wines in one of the exclusive Tasting Rooms. The cable car ride back down the mountain was the most fun part - breathtaking views.
To end our first full day of winery tours and tastings in Napa, we returned to the hotel to freshen up before heading out to dinner at Mustards Grill. It was a pretty jam packed day, but read on to Part 3 and the conclusion of our travels to Napa Valley. Have you visited Napa before? What are some of your favorites things to do and places to eat? Please share in the comments below!