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4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

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4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

Going to Napa/Sonoma for 4 days, 3 nights with my husband. We are both into wines and looking for recommendations on wineries/vineyards to visit that are producing outstanding wines, esp those that are impossible to get outside of California.

We want to avoid touristy places that cater to the popular masses/coach bus tours. We're looking to taste and buy wine good enough to justify shipping several bottles/half cases back to CT.

We're already planning to visit Frog's Leap and Stag's Leap. We will also visit Mondavi but only because we plan to do their reserve tasting.

So, what other wineries/vineyards are must visits? We are planning 2 nights in Napa and 1 night in Sonoma - is that advisable or should we just stay all 3 nights in Napa?

Thanks!

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1. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

If you like Pinot Noir, don't miss Domaine Carneros and Nicholson Ranch in Napa. Do the tasting in main room (not downstairs) at Domaine Carneros and at Nicholson Ranch, try to do the tasting in back, it is more private and you can enjoy your wine out on the back porch there and take in the pretty views. :)

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2. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

Pride Mountain and Robert Keenan should fit that bill in Napa (and they are fairly close to each other). Robert Keenan was about as non-touristy as one could hope for in Napa, and they have an impressive line-up of award-wining bottles. We found the quality of the wines at both far above most others we visited in Napa.

In the Dry Creek Valley near Healdsburg (on the Sonoma side), we particularly enjoyed A. Rafanelli and Lambert Bridge.

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3. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

Dolphin fan - did you do the Summit Tasting at Pride? If so, did they bring out reserve wines/olders vintages?

Thanks!

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4. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

No, we just did the normal tastings - some 2005 & 2006. They were very good, and impressed even my husband - a lover of fine French wines who had been a bit skeptical about California wines. He ordered several bottles.

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5. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

In the Napa area, we really enjoy Goosecross - a small family winery. We also love to visit Milat Family - not the best wine in the area, but delightful people and always a fun tasting of some good, affordable wines. We almost always have them ship us a case of assorted wines because it is great every day drinking wine for us.

Over in Healdsburg, one of our favorite small wineries is Field Stone. Consistently, everything we have had from there has been excellent.

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6. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

I also am spending 4 days in the area. What do you think of this itinerary?

Tuesday: Drive from SF to Sonoma by way of Russian River/Healdsburg. Check into El Dorado.

Wednesday: More Sonoma

Thursday: Sonoma AM, moving on to Napa, checking into La Residence

Friday: more Napa area

Saturday: Napa, dinner, drive to SFO for a red-eye.

Somewhere in there will be a bike rental and some hiking. Any tips would be great for these.

Thoughts? :-)

Forestville...
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7. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

Rantipole--hopefully, your flight gets into SFO early in the morning since traveling thru the Russian River Valley (are you cutting over to the coast on the way and then heading inland thru the RR Valley?) and stopping in Healdsburg before traveling well south again to get to Sonoma town, is quite a circuitous route. That's a very long route right after your flight, I would think.

Forestville...
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8. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

Now that I reread your itinerary, it sounds like you'll be leaving from San Francisco not the airport--much better!!

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9. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

FV--yes, we will have already spent around 3 days in SF before heading north. We plan on leaving SF around, I dunno, 10 AM? Maybe earlier, since we might still be waking up earlier due to jet lag. (Coming from East Coast.)

Lunch may be in Bottega Bay area, or maybe Guerneville if there's anything there, and depending on where we are when we get hungry. Whether we do hiking or winery-ing or both that first day is still up in the air. We'll head back to the area another day if necessary.

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10. Re: 4 days Napa/Sonoma - must visit wineries for wine lovers?

OK so Pride and Robert Keenan are definitely on my list - sounds like they may have some wines that will be great to cellar.

Any other suggestions for wineries in Sonoma/Russian River Valley? It's easy enough to buy wines that are immediately available for drinking so I'm not looking for those types of places. Am looking for something similar to the Napa suggestions where the wines will improve by aging for a few years...