Most people who visit Napa never pass through it, or even know it exists. Yet, for anyone who has cherished the renowned quality of Napa Valley wines or has fallen in love with the epicurean delights of Wine Country living, Coombsville is an absolute must-see destination. (Coombsville Vintners & Growers)
The Coombsville appellation, tucked away behind Napa (city), is one of my favorite insider places to visit. It feels like it’s a world away from urban Napa but it’s super close. It’s old world Napa, the wineries are surrounded by rolling hills, trees and horse pastures. While the atmosphere is much more intimate than Yountville and St Helena (up-valley), the wines are of equal quality and often a better value.
Don’t forget you can stay overnight in Napa on a whim. Here are some of my favorite unique and intimate wine tasting experiences:
Sciandri Family Vineyards. (Pronounced She-an-dree) Located behind the city of Napa (northeast edge of the valley), you wind through Wild Horse Valley and park in front of the Sciandri’s house and tasting room. The vibe at Sciandri is relaxed and welcoming; their daughter tells a fascinating story of how the family starting making wine just a few years ago, how her hard working parents came to rebuild an old house and pursue a dream that would ensure that their family stayed close. Call for an appointment to sip their Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon with a nice plate of Italian Salumi while pretending you live there for an afternoon at least. (Every appointment is a private tour and tasting, and groups from 2 -12 people are welcome.)
Black Cat Vineyard. This must be the smallest winery in Napa. One woman does it all, and I mean everything. When you visit Black Cat Winery, leave the cell phone, camera and video recorder in the car. Be in the moment and soak up Tracey Reichow’s massively intelligent and fascinating wine knowledge. The view is outstanding, but her explanation about the Coombsville region being “wine mecca” makes it unforgettable. I love her Syrah & Cabernert Sauvignon; gently & lovingly crafted, a beautiful alternative to in-your-face big, bold “Napa” reds.
Marita’s Vineyard. This winery’s for serious wine collectors, aficionados and groups who want to enjoy an intimate food and wine experience. Here’s my post about this amazing family and their seriously stunning wine.
Tournesol. This beautiful property is all about gracious hospitality and fine wine. They make two wines, a red blend and a Napa-style Cabernet Sauvignon. Insider tip: Ask about their spectacular guest accommodations.
To plan your tasting day or weekend, go to the official site for a list of wineries.