The Silverado Trail in Napa Valley is famous for the famed wine estates that lay along its path. Some locations offer soaring views of the valley from their tasting rooms. Other estates offer romantic wine caves set into the hills. No matter where you stop, you’re guaranteed to experience some Napa Valley magic.
Below, you’ll find a virtual tour of some of our favorite stops along the Trail, perfect for Napa Valley wine tours. Check them out, and let us know which stops you’d most like on your visit to Napa Valley with Beau Wine Tours.
3530 Silverado Tr North
St Helena, CA 94574
Many Napa Valley fans know just what to expect from tasting rooms–big bold reds, lush Chardonnays, and sometimes unusual or rare varietals. But if your Napa Valley Wine Tour has never tried a “cool climate” wine, then Failla is a great place to stop! As the winemaker notes, he specializes in the “cool, cooler, and coolest” of varietals, crafting fine Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Syrahs from lauded vineyards along the coast. The winery’s estate vineyard consists of eleven, organically-farmed acres in the Seaview-Fort Ross area, only one to three miles from the ocean. High elevation and close proximity to the water helps varietals like Pinot and Syrah develop slowly. It also increases their complexity, texture, and flavor. Winemaker Ehren Jordan also sources fruit from famous Pinot vineyards that Sonoma wine fans may recognize, like Peay, Occidental Ridge, Whistler, and more!
This truly different style of winemaking is a nice alternative to a Cabernet fan’s experience of California wine country, both in the glass, and through the fantastic hospitality offered by Failla’s team! Your Napa Valley wine tour can taste Failla’s award-winning wines with three different tasting experiences. The Tasting Lodge program offers an hour-long, seated tasting in the rustic atmosphere of their 1930’s farmhouse. Over five pours, your host will discuss the history of the wine, winery, and the philosophy behind Failla’s wines. The Cave Tour includes a seated tasting at the end of a walk around the winery’s property. The Spotlight Tour, the most customizable of the three, offers six wines tailored to your palate.
PO Box 509
St Helena, CA 94574
Melka is a great example of the Old World meeting the New. Philippe Melka grew up in Bordeaux, steeped in the traditions that gave us Cabernet. He started at the top in France. His first winemaking job was with Château Haut Brion. But, a trip to Yountville in 1991 brought Philippe close to Napa Valley soils. At that point, he knew this was where he wanted to cultivate his own label. With extensive training from wine greats on both sides of the Atlantic, Philippe and his wife, enologist Cherie co-founded Melka Estates.
Today, the winery offers Napa Valley wine tours private tastings on their Napa Valley estate by appointment, and you’ll find the experience both a delight and education. Melka specializes in capturing the terroir of Napa Valley in the bottle, and focuses on four labels. Métisse was begun with the spirit of its literal translation “a blend of cultures,” and the wines under this label were blended from both different varietals and different vineyard sources. More recently, the partnerships that made Métisse possible yielded such fine fruit that Melka opted to begin single-vineyard bottlings as well. Mekerra wines are made from a single vineyard in the Knight’s Valley AVA, and include both red and white bottlings. The Majestique label is both site and soil driven, resulting in sophisticated red wines in the Rhone style. Finally, the CJ wines are as youthful and playful as the acronym they stand for–Philippe and Cherie’s children, Chloe and Jeremy. Try these today and get a true taste of what California wine country soils can do!
647 Greenfield Rd
St Helena, CA 94574
Aonair—or “one man” in Gaelic—is a true Napa Valley, family-owned business. Grant Long, Jr. and his wife Megan run the company with an eye on honoring both their own Irish heritage. Your Napa Valley wine tour may notice the wine’s unusual label. It is based on the coat of arms of Grant’s mother’s clan, the Hannigans honoring her heritage. Using fruit sourced from regionally specific vineyards, Aonair’s wines demonstrate not only a deep connection to Napa Valley, but subtly layered flavors enhanced by painstaking, personally-invested winemaking. Grant supervises each step of the process to ensure quality production.
But this kind of quality leads to limited quantity, and tasting Aonair wine requires planning ahead. The wine is not available in stores or restaurants–only through the mailing list or wine club. To try these exclusive bottlings, contact the winery ahead of time. Arrange for a private appointment with hospitality director Dan Gaver at the number above. But it’s worth it to experience Aonair’s specially hand-crafted wines, which include a Cabernet Sauvignon and several blends.
Cliff Lede Vineyards
1473 Yountville Cross Rd
Yountville, CA 94599
Cliff Lede, founder of Cliff Lede Vineyards, hails from Canada, and exemplifies what so many passionate wine producers have brought to the Napa Valley—an authentic love for land, fruit, and wine, informed by their own ideas of what Napa Valley can do. Cliff discovered Napa Valley on a business retreat, where he explored the backroads of the area on foot (among his hobbies is long-distance running). He named his vineyard plantings after favorite rock albums, including My Generation and Dark Side of the Moon. Lede built the winery into the side of a rise above the Silverado Trail in the Stags Leap District. Above the winery sits a beautiful Inn with a view named for the winery’s signature Cabernet Sauvignon, “Poetry.”
Visiting the winery is a treat, and your Napa Valley wine tour can opt to taste at the bar, reserve an outdoor table in the beautiful courtyard, or even choose the “Backstage Tasting Lounge” for limited Bordeaux varietal bottlings as well as rotating art exhibits and a soundtrack in tune with Cliff’s own musical tastes. In pleasant weather, the winery opens up its FEL Pinot Garden, named for Cliff’s mother (Florence Elsie Lede), whose initials also grace the winery’s second label based out of Anderson Valley, where cool temperatures produce great Pinot Noir. So grab a glass and relax to Cliff Lede’s groovy tastes–in the glass and on the turntable!
3468 Silverado Tr
St Helena, CA 94574
From start-up to phenomenon, Realm has had a rocky journey; now, however, it’s such a favorite that Realm wines are only sold as allocations to the winery’s mailing list! To understand what makes it so popular, you have only to taste the company’s cult-status wines and to understand the story behind the label. Founder Juan Mercado was working as a nurse in Oakland when he became interested in wine. It was soon after that he decided to make his own label. He leveraged his unbeatable work ethic and affability to make contacts throughout the industry. But after twelve difficult vintages—including an entire vintage burnt by arson and a marriage dissolved—Juan needed more help. In came Benoit Toquette and Scott Becker, bringing their expertise and support. After 15 vintages of incremental success, the winery’s Spring 2016 release sold out in a matter of hours.
In one of the winery’s earliest vintages, Juan Mercado’s acquaintance matched a Shakespearean quote to the winery’s name. From that, an “endless” theme was born. That’s a good thing, since the team behind Realm agrees they’ll never be satisfied, and will continue to chase what they believe is the best wine they can make with the best fruit available in Napa Valley. To taste Realm’s lineup, appointments are required, in part because their new estate is still partially under construction! But the trek–just like the winery’s journey–is well worth the effort!
No matter which you choose, these wineries on the Silverado Trail are destined to be highlights on your Napa Valley wine tour with Beau Wine Tours! . Contact us today to try these and other unique wineries in the heart of Napa Valley!
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