White Wine Wineries to Visit in Napa Valley
Finding a winery that focuses on white wines in Napa Valley can make you feel like a vegetarian dining in a steak house. Sure, they might have one or maybe two, but it usually seems to feel like an afterthought and not the main focus. In Napa Valley there is a saying that “Cabernet is King” and it’s true. The climate and soil is where the red Bordeaux grapes really thrive and also command a much higher price point. Let’s face it, when you’re paying up to one million dollars per acre, you have to make the wines that command the highest price point to pay these bills. Here is list to highlight some wineries that put a lot of love and focus on white wines in Napa Valley.
Saintsbury – This is one of the original Burgundy style producers in the Carneros region of Napa County. They make age worthy Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs. The tasting experience is set in a beautiful garden full of bright and colorful flowers with a knowledgeable staff and warm hospitality. Here you can experience at least two different Chardonnays and a beautiful seasonal Rosé (that they run out of quickly). For Chardonnay lovers it’s great to experience the diversity in this grape. They highlight different chardonnay clones from different local regions. I suggest that you keep an open mind and try their Pinot Noirs, even for those with the most sensitive palate, you may be pleasantly surprised! Saintsbury is available by reservation only.
Stony Hill Vineyard – This winery is a Napa classic and has quite a cult following. They use barrels so old that it’s used more as a vessel to age and add structure to the wine more than add any oak flavoring. Their white riesling and chardonnay are an amazing expression of Napa Valley fruit not overly influenced by oak. The restrained and expressive white wines of Stony Hill are some of the best in the Valley. The chardonnay can age at least 20 years and starts to really express itself at around 7 years. They will normally pour you a current release and an older vintage so you can see age-worthiness of their wines. For wine drinkers who appreciate racy acidity in their white wines, this is the place. Stony Hill visits are by reservation only.
Cakebread Cellars – You can actually have an all white wine tasting! You can taste their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Chardonnay Reserve. The Cakebread family (yes, that’s actually their awesome last name) has been making wine in Napa Valley since 1973 and made a name for themselves primarily with their chardonnay. They are still family run and owned. They have recently expanded their tasting room but still gets very busy. It’s a fun, social and vibrant environment. Cakebread is available by reservation only.
Chappelet– Do you want to try a different white wine besides Chardonnay? Nestled in the highly acclaimed region of Pritchard Hill, Chappelet makes an assortment of excellent red wines but I highly recommend their Chenin Blanc. They have been producing this Chenin Blanc since the 1960’s. With some well rounded stone fruit flavors and a racy acidity, it makes for nice break from classic chardonnay flavors. Reservation only.
Chateau Montelena – The world famous Chateau Montelena helped build Napa Valley into what it is today. After the 1976 Tasting of Paris, this winery took first place and defeating all of other top chardonnay producers in the world. The movie Bottle Shock is based on this very winery. The tastings take place in the historic stone castle on a hillside that was built in 1888 surrounded by a Chinese garden. Here white wine lovers can enjoy a Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay. Walk ins are welcome for groups under 8.
Rombauer Vineyards– If you’re the type of Chardonnay drinker that finds yourself searching for a “buttery chardonnay” look no further. Rombauer’s tasting room is full of others who are searching for the same style of wine. The two white wines they offer are a Sauvignon Blanc and of course there world famous buttery chardonnay. They do also make a Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The bustling tasting room gets busy. Rombauer is available by reservation only and their picnic tables are open on a first come first serve basis.