Let’s face it: Napa Valley is a delightful travel destination and we’re about to offer even more reasons for you to head this way. The Valley is already well-known for its world-class wineries, Michelin-Star-level restaurants, luxurious spa services, intriguing art galleries, and beautiful parks and hiking trails. It also has the lure of hosting wonderful food and wine events ranging from casual to fancy and with scopes from appellation-specific to valley-wide.
For example, Napa Valley was recently the venue for Flavor! Napa Valley, a five-day, forty-event food and wine festival supporting programs and scholarships at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena, CA. Events included guided wine tastings, winery tours, blending seminars, a sparkling wine brunch, a golf tournament, cooking demonstrations from Chefs such as Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood, The Charter Oak) and Tony Gemignani, (Capo’s, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana), and an intimate Q&A session with San Francisco Chronicle Restaurant Critic Michael Bauer.
Flavor! Napa Valley also provided:
- A “Downtown StrEAT Market” featuring downtown Napa restaurants, wineries and artisans such as 1313 Main, Ca’ Momi, Kitchen Door, Oenotri and Torc.
- A “Celebration of the Judgment of Paris Wine Dinner” pairing wines from wineries such as Chateau Montelena, Clos Du Val and Freemark Abbey with food from Richard Blais, Larry Forgione, Bradley Ogden and other renowned Chefs.
- A “Young Guns Pop-Up Dinner” showcasing some of the Bay Area’s best rising star Chefs such as Perry Hoffman (SHED Café), Trevor Kunk (PRESS Restaurant) and Sean Massey (Morimoto Napa).
Keep reading, and we’ll tell you about our favorites from Flavor! Napa Valley’s Grand Tasting, an epicurean adventure through about 100 wineries and restaurants from across the Valley. If you’re planning a trip to Napa Valley soon (or if you’re already nearby), these are the wines, wineries and restaurants we suggest you place high up on your itinerary.
Flavor! Napa Valley: Favorite Wines
These were our favorite wines at the Flavor! Napa Valley Grand Tasting and you can follow the links below to learn more about tasting and/or purchasing opportunities from these wineries. You won’t be surprised to find Cabernet Sauvignons on our list, but we also highly enjoyed wines made from other varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Charbono, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel.
Antica Napa Valley – 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Beringer Vineyards – 2009 Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Burgess Cellars – 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Chappellet – 2014 Chenin Blanc
Clos Du Val – 2012 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
Conn Creek Winery – 2004 Founder’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon
Crocker & Starr – 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Darms Lane Winery – 2014 Chardonnay, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Linda’s Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon
Duckhorn Vineyards – 2013 Chardonnnay, 2012 Merlot
Farella Vineyard – 2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Freemark Abbey – 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Parry Cellars – 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Quixote Winery – 2011 Petite Sirah
Stags’ Leap Winery – 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Stony Hill Vineyard – 2006 Chardonnay, 2010 Chardonnay, 2014 White Riesling, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Summers Estate Wines – 2013 Charbono, 2009 Checkmate Cabernet Sauvignon
Trefethen Family Vineyards – 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Tres Sabores – 2015 “Ingrid & Julia” Rosé (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah), 2013 Zinfandel
Truchard Vineyards – 2014 Chardonnay, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
William Cole Vineyards – 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Flavor! Napa Valley: Favorite Foods
There were a wide variety of small plates at the Flavor! Napa Valley Grand Tasting, ranging from sushi to steak, but these were the dishes that impressed our taste buds the most:
Andaz Farmers Table – 14 Hour Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Avocado Cream and Pickled Red Onion (1450 First Street, Napa 707-687-1234)
Harvest Table – Bacon and Cheddar Biscuit with Pulled Pork and Cilantro (1 Main Street, St. Helena 707-963-9463)
Heritage Eats – Bánh Mì Dutch Crunch Sandwich with Grilled Lemongrass Pork and “Boom Sauce” (3824 Bel Aire Plaza, Napa 707-226-3287)
PRESS Restaurant – Hanger Steak with Charred Jalapeño and Garlic Sauce with Hazelnut Gremolata (587 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena 707-967-0550)
Siena Restaurant – Kampachi with Watermelon, Kaffir Lime Granita and Avocado (875 Bordeaux Way, Napa 707-251-1950)
Napa Valley is internationally recognized as one of only eight “Great Wine Capitals” and (from north to south) consists of the towns of Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville, Napa and American Canyon. Visitors can also enjoy the outdoor recreation area of Lake Berryessa about 15 miles east of the city of Napa. The Napa Valley Welcome Center (600 Main Street in downtown Napa, open daily from 9 am to 5 pm) provides visitors with advice and concierge services from Napa Valley Ambassadors who offer complimentary guidebooks, maps, brochures and winery tasting passes.
If you want to learn more about next year’s Flavor! Napa Valley, you can sign up for the mailing list by going here. If your calendar is nearby, the 2017 event is scheduled for March 15-19.
To see our other personal recommendations for wineries and restaurants in the Valley, please click on “Favorites By Wine Region” in the navigation bar above and follow the drop-down menus to the area you are interested in.