The Napa Valley has no end of natural beauty. It is ringed by coastal mountain ranges that provide ample views that pair perfectly with wine tasting. Tucked in these hills above the Napa Valley, our guests love taking wine tours off the beaten path. These wineries have distinct terroir that keep them above the fog line but feature consistently cool weather and bay breezes to balance the extra sunshine. Hidden in their own special valleys and looking out from high peaks, we like to take time to get up and see some very special Napa wineries.
Pride Mountain Vineyards
3000 Summit Trail, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Pride Mountain Vineyards is a unique wine tour and tasting spot due their location. The winery straddles the county line and is technically in both Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Founder Jim Pride is quoted as saying ‘Participate in quality’ and he had a sharp eye for it. He regularly walked the vineyards and tested techniques while modifying farming practices unique to his property. Since his passing in 2004, his family have run the property with his unwavering dedication.
Winemaker Sally Johnson oversees the 83 southern-facing vineyard acres that rest at 2000 feet of elevation in the Mayacamas Mountains. The wines produced here have been acclaimed by critics and are hard to acquire by fans. They focus on making wines that represent this special place, and keep them rich and ripe, while retaining the structure and nerve of well made French wines. The darling of the estate is the Reserve Claret and is concentrated and exuberant every year. Black cherry, dark chocolate and a subtle truffle note keep this wine on the top shelf in Napa Valley.
Find out more about Pride Mountain Vineyards below:
Friesen Dr., Angwin, CA 94508
Betty O’Shaughnessy has a small winery that has quickly become one of the big boys in the Napa Valley. Right from the start, the extraordinary Cabernets made from their two mountain vineyards have wowed with big scores from the critics. Betty grew up in a rural farm community in Minnesota, and made a career in real estate, but her deep rooted love of land and soil led her to the Napa Valley. Founding winemaker Sean Capiaux graduated from CSU Fresno and was already established and well respected upon joining O’Shaughnessy Winery. He had worked in Australia, and at famed California wineries including Peter Michael Winery and Jordan Winery in Sonoma. At the winery on Howell Mountain, the Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard is approaching almost 20 years old, and is already showing the depth and complexity the region is well noted for including plum, smoke, leather and cloves. The Mount Veeder vineyard has received huge accolades. This steeply terraced vineyard is highly aromatic with ethereal lavender and violet tones. O’Shaughnessy are renowned for their intimate wine tasting experience where you get a deep understanding of what set Cabernet Sauvignon’s from the mountain areas of the Napa Valley apart.
2900 Silverado Trail N, St Helena, CA 94574
Philippe Melka has the Midas Touch right now. He is consulting all over the Napa Valley and the world while his own label displays why he is in such demand. He graduated from the University of Bordeaux, has earned a masters degree under the famed French terroir specialist Professor Sequin, and is still pursuing perfection in combing soil and climate into flawless wines.
While not technically a mountain winery the Melka’s source their fruit form a number of mountain vineyards. The Montbleau Vineyard in St Helena is just two acres and is focused into a very special wine. Also in St Helena but on the valley floor right next door to Spottswoode Winery, is the Jumping Goat Vineyard. It was planted in 1999 by famed vineyard manager David Abreu. This vineyard reminds Philippe of Graves in Bordeaux as it sits on a stoney old river bench.
A wine tasting experience with Philippe is a true Napa Valley experience and very, very difficult to arrange given his busy schedule. If you’re lucky Philippe’s wife Cherie who works intimately with Philippe on the Melka Wines labels may be your host.
These wineries are working with very small vineyards, and producing a miniscule amount of wine. The wines are difficult to acquire, and the wineries equally challenging to visit. Let us arrange these and other intimate wine tasting experiences for you.
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