By Tilar Mazzeo
This up-to-date consultant to the small and "secret" back-lane wineries and tasting rooms of Napa profiles over 70 hard-to-find, real boutique estates that function world-class, artisanal wines respected through locals and critics.
Beyond the crowded tasting rooms of Napa’s renowned wineries, there’s an actual, welcoming part of the valley ready to be explored: boutique estates run by way of passionate winemakers who handcraft world-class wines. Back Lane Wineries of Napa uncovers greater than seventy of those gemstones that locals and critics revere yet few viewers ever see. up-to-date with new wineries, eating places, and native sights; maps; full-color photos; and tips about wine-tasting etiquette, wine transport providers, and itinerary making plans, this advisor will arrange oenophiles and starting wine-lovers alike to dwell the great life—Napa kind
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Extra info for Back Lane Wineries of Napa, Second Edition
About 80 percent of the production is in the Zinfandel that has made the winery famous. Food & Wine magazine has, in recent years, twice rated the Black Chicken label as the best Zinfandel over $20 in California. There is also a small production of Syrah and Petite Sirah. Wines range from around $40 to $75, with special pricing (and exclusive event invitations) for the fanatical regulars known as the Black Chicken Society. The charge for a tasting in the working winery, where you can look out over the vineyards and mustard blooms, is $10.
The geological striations found along the walls and ceilings of the caves—which range from black lava and red magna to that signature white ash—tell the history of what makes Napa such a uniquely prosperous wine-growing region. Early settlers started making wine on the site of White Rock Vineyards, here in a small valley at the foot of the Stag’s Leap range, back in the 1870s. The Vandendriessche family has been carrying on that tradition in pastoral seclusion since the 1970s. The winery is located down the end of a small lane, well off the beaten path, and you won’t find any sign pointing the way.
Many wineries will ship your purchases home to you directly, provided your state allows this. The costs are generally prohibitive for a single bottle of wine, but for several it is quite reasonable. For purchases of a case or more, ask whether there is flexibility in their wine club program. The discounts are significant if you are a member, and generally your only commitment is agreeing to purchase a case of wine over the course of the year. Often, the wineries want to ship the wines to you quarterly, but, when I wanted to get a few cases to my summer place in New England, I never had any trouble persuading local winemakers to send me the entire annual allotment at once, at a significant savings in the shipping.