Essentially parallel to each other, the Yountville and Stags Leap District appellations in Napa Valley are both moderate regions cooled down by afternoon marine winds. However, Yountville is influenced more by morning fog, and the bare rocks of Stags Leap reflect heat and sunshine, so the Stags Leap AVA can be up to 10 degrees warmer than the Yountville AVA. Both areas are primarily known for their Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons.
Favorite Tasting Rooms in Yountville and Stags Leap District
Baldacci Vineyards – With only 17 acres on their SLD property, the Baldaccis’ primary focus (and reputation source) is limited production Cabernet Sauvignons. The Brenda’s Vineyard is a favorite, while their Four Sons bottling is high-quality reasonably-priced alternative. 6236 Silverado Trail, Napa (707) 944-9261 [reservation required]
Beau Vigne – High quality Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons are served at this tasting room in Yountville (opened in 2010). The wines are served in Riedel’s XL (think really big) wine glasses which make the tasting experience a very elegant one. Beau Vigne is owned by Ed and Trish Snider, a former head football coach from St. Helena High School and his wife, and some of his former students are now manning the tasting room. 6795 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 947-7058
Cliff Lede Vineyards – Established in 2002, this winery focuses on Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, and designed their facility operations to allow separate blocks of vines to age in separate tanks. Beautiful tasting environment, and the delicious Cabernet Sauvignon-based Poetry is not available for purchase online. Sometimes there is also a separate tasting option for Breggo Cellars’ wines here, Cliff Lede’s partner winery in Mendocino County. 1473 Yountville Cross Road, Yountville (800) 428-2259
Clos du Val – Started in the 1970s, this producer of a wide variety of wines crafts their wines to be able to pair well with food as well as age gracefully. Splendor, Mirth, and Joy (The Three Graces, the daughters of Zeus) are depicted on their familiar terra cotta label. Our favorites here are usually the Chardonnays (Estate and Reserve), Pinot Noirs (Estate and Reserve), and the Cabernet Sauvignons (Napa, Reserve, and SLD). 5330 Silverado Trail, Napa (707) 261-5251
Cornerstone Cellars – The tasting room provides tastes from two sister labels, Stepping Stone (reasonably-priced wines designed to enjoy now) and Cornerstone (classic wines which may develop and improve even further with aging). Recommendations here are Stepping Stone White Rocks!, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, and the Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. 6505 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 945-0388
Domaine Chandon – This beautiful sparkling wine property in Yountville is also the home for étoile, an excellent restaurant that was awarded a star from Michelin. We prefer sparkling over still wines here, particularly the Rosé of Pinot Noir and the Mount Veeder Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs. 1 California Drive, Yountville (888) 242-6366
Elyse – Started in 1987 by the former head winemaker at Whitehall Lane, this winery focuses on small lots of vineyard-designated red wines. Here we are fond of L’Ingenue (a white Rhone blend), Le Corbeau Grenache, St. Helena Petite Sirah, and the Morisoli Zinfandel. 2100 Hoffman Lane, Napa (707) 944-2090 [reservation required]
James Cole Estate Winery – Small family winery on the Silverado Trail with limited quantities and a stellar Cabernet Sauvignon. Their Chardonnay and Malbec are well worth trying too. 5014 Silverado Trail, Napa (707) 251-9905 [reservation required]
Regusci Winery – This property was originally established as the Grigsby-Occidental Winery in 1878 and was one of the “Ghost Wineries”, early Napa Valley wineries in existence between 1860 and 1900. In 1932, Gaetano Regusci purchased the historic piece of property and his grandson Jim opened Regusci Winery in 1998 focusing on estate wines. We have historically liked their Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon the most. 5584 Silverado Trail, Yountville (707) 254-0403 [reservation required]
Robert Sinskey Vineyards – Originally started by Robert Sinskey, MD, this amazing winery is now run by his son Robert Sinskey Jr. and his wife Maria Helm Sinskey, a nationally recognized chef. The focus here is on food and wine as well as promoting the enjoyment of the two together. Visitors will receive a small plate of nibbles (developed and prepared daily by the winery chef) to enjoy with the wines being poured. The winery’s vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic and Robert Sinskey Vineyards is one of the most environmentally-friendly wineries in Napa Valley. The winery is primarily known for fabulous Pinot Noirs, but they also make wonderful Alsatian-inspired white wines and Bordeaux-style blends. We like everything they make here, but hope your tastings include Abraxas (an Alsatian white blend), Pinot Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Marcien (a proprietary red blend), the Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon, and of course, the fantastic Pinot Noirs (usually 4 or 5 different ones produced each year). 6320 Silverado Trail, Napa (707) 944-9090 [reservation required for parties of 6 or more]
Somerston – The Somerston property is over 1600 acres about 8 miles east of Rutherford, with about 200 acres of vineyards, winery, ranch, and farm. Their easy-access tasting room is in downtown Yountville and open late (until 8 or 9 pm). The Highflyer Grenache Blanc is the best Grenache Blanc we’ve found in California outside of Paso Robles and we also recommend the Priest Ranch Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. 6490 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 944-8200
Favorite Food Stops in Yountville and Stags Leap District
ad hoc - Originally intended to be a temporary concept, this one-fixed-menu-per-day establishment has been packing them in ever since Thomas Keller (of French Laundry and Per Se fame) started it. Each day’s menu is posted on the website in the morning. 6476 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 944-2487
addendum – Recent development from Ad Hoc, boxed lunches to go based on the most popular meals there (BBQ or fried chicken). Only open Thursday – Saturday, 11 am to 2 pm, although orders can be placed over the phone in advance. 6476 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 944-1565
Bistro Jeanty – Authentic French bistro (after all, the chef was born in Champagne) in downtown Yountville that has been awarded a Michelin star for the last three years. The Crême de Tomate en Croute, Rilletes de Canard, Coq au Vin, and Cassoulet are all traditional, beautifully executed options. 6510 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 944-0103
Bottega – Celebrity chef Michael Chiarello’s restaurant has received accolades such as Best Newcomer by Zagat, Top 10 by Forbes, and Top 100 Bay Area by Michael Bauer at the San Francisco Chronicle. The food is amazing here, and recipes for popular dishes like the Roasted Beets, Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, and Polenta Under Glass are all in Chiarello’s Bottega cookbook. 6525 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 945-1050
Bouchon Bakery – Originated as a bread source for Thomas Keller’s local restaurants, the Bouchon Bakery is now open to the public with a wide range of baked goods available for sale. This is the original, although the brand has expanded to four other locations nationwide (Las Vegas, Beverly Hills, and two in New York). 6528 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 944-2253
Brix – The best option in the valley for an upscale Sunday buffet brunch done right. Oysters, Shrimp, Smoked Salmon, Sourdough Pancakes, Eggs Benedict, Quiche, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Pizza, and a selection of salads and artisan cheeses are just the beginning here. During the week from 4 to 6 pm, they also have a great happy hour with cocktails, beers, and wines by the glass at 1/2 price as well as the bar menu. Beautiful gardens on the property. 7377 St. Helena Highway (Highway 29), Yountville (707) 944-2749
French Laundry – Opened in 1994, this world-famous restaurant from Thomas Keller deserves its stellar reputation. Each day two nine-course meals are designed and no single ingredient is ever repeated throughout the meal. Reservations required, available starting two months before the calendar date, and are still frequently difficult to acquire. 6640 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 944-2380
Mustard’s Grill – Chef and owner Cindy Pawlcyn opened this famous wine country restaurant in 1983 where the dining room is usually full of locals and tourists seeking well-made delicious food. Sweet Corn Tamales, Grilled Quail, Baby Back Ribs, Mongolian Pork Chops, and the Seafood Tostada are all excellent choices here. 7399 St. Helena Highway (Highway 29), Yountville (707) 944-2424
Redd – This elegant restaurant serves up a modern take on classic wine country cuisine with influences from Asia, Europe, and Mexico. It also has a bar area in case you forgot to make a reservation. Wide range of seasonal salads, impressive seafood dishes, and the Glazed Pork Belly are worthwhile selections here. 6480 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 944-2222
Yountville Appellation – Association of wineries and winegrowers in the Yountville AVA.
Stags Leap District Winegrowers – Association of vintners and growers in the Stags Leap District AVA.
Silverado Trail Wineries Association – A group of more than 40 businesses and wineries along the historic Silverado Trail.
Napa Valley Vintners – Trade association promoting Napa Valley appellation as the premiere wine growing region.