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Wine 10

Two Best AVAs for Napa/Sonoma Trip (Group with Varied Palates)

whatsadooie | Jun 23, 201502:41 PM

Hi All!

I know there are about a million threads discussing wineries in Napa & Sonoma, but I'm hoping that since I have some specific challenges and things I'm looking for, I might receive some more direct feedback.

My boss, two of our team members, and I are planning a trip to Napa in early August. I am by far the biggest wine fan of the group, but we all have very different tastes. I'm a fan of full-bodied red wines. My husband and I drink a lot of syrah and Rhone-style blends. We also drink a good bit of Bordeaux varietals. I know it's supposedly sacrilegious, but we're not as into Burgundy. One of the team members likes wine, but drinks exclusively white due to an "allergy issue". My boss has just started getting into wine and is partial to crisp whites like sauvignon blanc, doesn't like chardonnay when it shows a lot of oak influence. The other team member is a fan of sweet wines, but is not picky and will drink most anything.

I have been to Napa and Sonoma once before. My favorite in Sonoma was Unti. I loved the levels of acidity (also cool to try something different with the Italian varietals), food friendliness, affordability, and welcoming and knowledgeable pouring staff. In Napa, I particularly enjoyed Allora. I loved the quality of the wine and how it was both balanced with both full flavor and elegance and the intimacy of the tasting experience.

My husband and I have spent some time on the west side in Paso Robles and really enjoy the experience there because the wineries are tiny and the tasting staff is usually involved in making the wine and actually knowledgeable about it, so we learn a lot. I'm talking Clos Solene, Alta Colina, Tolo Cellars, Herman Story... I'd love to find a way for the team to get some experiences like this because I feel they're what really get people to love wine. I know this is generally more difficult in a larger, more established region like Napa.

Looking for Recommendations:

-My plan to try and accommodate everyone's taste is to hit one of the large sparkling wine producers. It seems like these places do tours that explain their methods, which would be neat for those in our group that are newer to wine. Is there a spot that would be most worth visiting? Some names I've heard are Domaine Carneros, Domaine Chandon, Schramsberg... Is there a spot like this where the wine quality stands out?

-Last time when I made the plan for my trip, I had us way too spread out and wasted too much time on travel. We only have two full days of tasting scheduled, and I'd like to focus more on a single AVA per day for this trip. We're not trying to cover everything this time, just want to give them a chance to see what's out there. I know the team will want to spend at least one day in Napa, but I'm hoping to talk them into Sonoma for the other day. Do you have suggestions for best AVAs to hit that would provide quality wine, small off the beaten path wineries, and both reds and whites. And extra awesome would be wineries within those AVAs. I'm thinking maybe we'll do four wineries per day?

Any and all feedback would be MUCH appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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