Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Some of Napa's Best Wine Is Off The Beaten Path

Napa Valley is home to an almost uncountable number of vineyards and wineries. Many of them (and certainly most of the big names like Mondavi and Beringer) are along the main strip that runs the length of the valley, the St Helena Highway. While there is certainly some great wine to be found there, I tend to prefer wineries that are a bit more unique and off the beaten path. One of my favorites is Casa Nuestra in Saint Helena.

I first visited in the summer of 2011, and instantly fell in love with it. The atmosphere is very relaxed and laid back, almost like a farm house (the two goats they have living on the grounds certainly add to that vibe!). More importantly, the wine is also really good!

Though they're quite small (total production is only about 2000 cases a year), they produce a wide array of wines - from Napa standards like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to lesser-known varietals like Chenin Blanc and Cab Franc, to a few I'd never even heard of before like Verdelho and Meritage (the latter is a blend). Typically a couple hundred cases of each. I've yet to try anything of theirs that I didn't like - and the wide variety of tastes, textures, and tannins means there's something for everyone :)

I visited again for my birthday during the spring of 2012, and it was just as I'd remembered it (except the goats were all grown up).

The tasting fees are very, very reasonable ($10 per person, if memory serves) - and they'll waive them if you buy some wine. During the second visit I decided to join their wine club, since there's no other way to get their wine on the east coast. I now get to enjoy three new bottles of assorted Casa Nuestra wines every three months!

Next time you're in Napa, make it a point of stepping off the beaten path - you might find yourself a little gem like Casa Nuestra!

Casa Nuestra Winery & Vineyard
3451 Silverado Trail North, Saint Helena, CA
(707) 963-5783

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