Two popular appellations at the northern end of Napa Valley are Calistoga and Diamond Mountain. On the whole, Calistoga tends to be the hottest area of Napa Valley, while the elevation of Diamond Mountain keeps it more moderate. The primary varietals grown in Calistoga are Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Petite Sirah, while the main ones in Diamond Mountain are Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Favorite Tasting Rooms in Calistoga and Diamond Mountain
Bennett Lane – Solid producer of premium wines in Calistoga that just revamped their tasting room (August 2011). Our favorites here are the Cabernet Sauvignon, and both the white and red meritages named Maximus. 3340 Highway 128, Calistoga (877) MAX-NAPA (629-6272)
Kelly Fleming Wines – Off of the Silverado Trail, in the Simmons Canyon area, lies a stunningly beautiful winery with tons of exposed stone on the walls and even within the 7000 square feet of caves. The property offers several locations for lovely scenic views. Kelly Fleming, the owner and winemaker, purchased 300 acres in 2008 and crafts outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon from the 12 acres of vines planted here. The Sauvignon Blanc and Rose are also very well made. The grapes that don’t make it into the namesake estate Cabernet Sauvignon are used as the base for another delicious wine under their companion label (Big Pour). Gorgeous winery, lovely views, and a gracious and welcoming staff here make a visit worthwhile. 2339 Pickett Road, Calistoga (707) 942-6849 [reservation required]
Larkmead Vineyards – Founded in 1895, this historic winery currently produces about 7000 cases a year, including some excellent red wines. We like their Cabernet Sauvignon, their proprietary blend Firebelle, and another red blend called LMV Salon. 1100 Larkmead Lane, Calistoga (707) 942-0167 [reservation required]
Lava Vine – Small, family-run, dog-friendly winery handcrafts small production wines that are only available at the winery. Very friendly people and an impressive Petite Sirah. 965 Silverado Trail, Calistoga (707) 942-9500.
Madrigal Vineyards – The Madrigal family has farmed Napa Valley vineyards since 1937 and they have been making wines since 1995. Another great place for Petite Sirah, and we also like their Merlot. 3718 St. Helena Highway (Highway 29), Calistoga (707) 942-8619
Phifer Pavitt Wines – When a country girl and a city boy fall in love and move to Napa Valley, this is what happens when they start a winery. Come here for a sophisticated but down-home tasting experience in a renovated barn with refurbished snow fencing from Wyoming on the walls, recycled blue jeans for insulation, an enormous black walnut tasting table, chandeliers made from hay baling wire, country music in the background, and most likely the charming Ms. Phifer-Pavitt as your hostess while you sit on hay bales and sample their wine. This very small winery has made Cabernet Sauvignon for a few years and released their first Sauvignon Blanc in 2012. 4660 Silverado Trail, Calistoga (707) 942-4787 [reservation required]
Reverie – This estate winery is one of three vineyards that were once part of the Bonsell Property, and there are some lovely grounds to see here including majestic redwood trees. The wines are an even bigger attraction, including Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, and the Cabernet Sauvignons. 1520 Diamond Mountain Road, Calistoga (800) REVERIE (738-3743) [reservation required]
Up Valley Vintners – This collective tasting room in downtown Calistoga currently showcases the wines of five different wineries from the Calistoga appellation, and is well worth your time. Wineries promoted here (and the wines we suggest making sure to try) are Barlow Vineyards (Sauvignon Blanc), Envy Wines (Bee Bee’s Blend), Kenefick Ranch (Cabernet Franc), Tofanelli Family Vineyard (both his Charbono and Zinfandel), and Zacherle Wines (Syrah). 1371 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga (707) 942-1004
Vincent Arroyo Winery – Most famous for his Petite Sirah, Mr. Arroyo produces over 8,000 cases of seven different varietals a year now. We also like his Reserve Petite Sirah and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. 2361 Greenwood Avenue, Calistoga (707) 942-6995
von Strasser Winery – Although this Diamond Mountain winery is known for their excellent red wines, they also make an exemplary Gruner Veltliner. Of the red wines, we tend to buy their Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and their Cabernet Franc. 1510 Diamond Mountain Road, Calistoga (707) 942-0930 [reservation required]
Favorite Food Stops in Calistoga and Diamond Mountain
Buster’s Southern BBQ – Awesome roadside BBQ place at the northwest corner of Highway 29 and Lincoln Avenue. 1207 Foothill Boulevard, Calistoga (707) 942-5605
Café Sarafornia – Old-fashioned diner in the heart of Calistoga is a nice place for breakfast, but kinda small so come early or be prepared for a line. 1413 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga (707) 942-0555
Calistoga Roastery – Originally started in 1992 and at this location since 2004, this is the best coffee in Calistoga. 1426 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga (707) 942-5757
Napa Valley Vintners – Trade association promoting Napa Valley appellation as the premiere wine growing region.
Silverado Trail Wineries Association – A group of more than 40 businesses and wineries along the historic Silverado Trail