Have just returned from a trip to Napa Valley (my last trip having been in 2001) and must say that I am more in awe of California wines than ever before. My boyfriend and I spent 3 days visiting tasting rooms, touring a couple of wineries and I think the wines of Napa Valley and Sonoma are absolutely delicious.
Frogs Leap is simply amazing from the wonderful tour (you need to make reservations) of the estate, the breathtaking views and impressive organic garden (from which visitors are welcome to pick fruit - I consumed a fresh, perfectly tart tangelo)...and we're not even talking about the wine yet! Its a fantastic winery making wine from organic vines, from crisp light and fruity sauvignon blanc to the rutherford cab., rich yet laden with the flavor of berries.
Stags Leap makes beautiful cabs (frogs leap started with grapes from here) in particular the cask 23 and slv.
Paradigm is a small winery with warm owners (you do need to make a prior apptment) and the most flavorful innovative cab and merlot i tasted on the trip - light and not as oaky, heavy or rich as the traditional reds, the wine is full of youthful notes, with a more distinctive taste of the fruit that has gone into it.
Gary Farrell's tasting room in Healdsburgh, along the russian river is beautiful with a VIEW one can only dream about! the wines are a great accompaniment to the view, full flavored (but not buttery) chardonneys, especially the Bien Nacido, and the Pinot Noirs and Cabs were excellent.
Other wineries which we tasted amazing wines at :
Clos du Val
I look forward to further discussion on California wines and Napa Valley area wineries.