Monday, December 26, 2005

Great Napa Valley Tasting Room

There are from 280 to 400 wineries in the Napa Valley, depending on whose numbers you use. One of my favorite tasting rooms to visit is at Trefethen Vineyards. Not only is the wine great, but the tasting room staff is fun and knowledgeable.

Many years ago I always told friends that I did not like California Chardonnay as it was too oaky and buttery. Then my friend, Tom, suggested a Trefethen Chardonnay when we went out to eat one night. I put my reticence on hold and enjoyed the wine immensely. While Trefethen's Chardonnays do undergo malolactic fermentation, their style emphasizes the fruit in both the Estate and Harmony Chardonnays. I am also a big fan of their Dry Riesling. If you think of Rieslings as being too sweet, it's time to reevaluate and Trefethen's Dry Riesling is a good place to start. Now if you like sweet dessert wines, which I do, I highly recommend their Late Harvest Riesling. There's just enough acid in the wine to give a good balance, so it is not cloyingly sweet.

And the reds are not to be missed. I am not a big Cabernet fan, but my guests consistently love Trefethen's Cabs., especially their Reserve Cabernet. I enjoy their Merlot and Cabernet Franc. If you are not familiar with Cab. Franc, this varietal is one of Cabernet Savignon's parents. Many years ago Cab. Franc and Sauvignon Blanc naturally hybridized to create Cabernet Sauvignon. Cab. Franc is usually used as a blending grape in Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends, but Trefethen makes a good single varietal Cabernet Franc.

The tasting room is open daily from 10:00 to 4:30. Rich, Shannon, Michael, Karen, Heath, and the other tasting room staff know wines and are eager to help you increase your enjoyment of Trefethen's wines and wine in general. Trefethen offers two tastings. The Estate Tasting usually comprises four or five wines and costs $10. The Reserve Tasting costs $20 and features two reserve or library Cabernets and one Chardonnay. Here, as at most wineries, if they produce a wine that you want to taste, but it is not on the tasting menu for the day, feel free to ask the staff to try the wine. They will try to accommodate your request. Tours of the historic winery are available at 10:30 and 2:00. Call Paula at (707) 255-7700 to make a reservation.

If you would like a private tour of the Napa Valley that includes a stop at Trefethen Vineyards, please feel free to call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

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