Wine Country Weekly: Review of downtown Napa (part 2)

The city of Napa is going through a revival. Here is your guide to urban wine tasting rooms in and near downtown Napa. Photo: pureCru Winery, Napa CA. Image: S Perkovich

SONOMA, CA, January 18 ― The region of Napa, California is well-known for its award-winning wines. What is perhaps less well-known is the availability of wine tasting in the city of Napa.

The beauty of wine tasting in downtown Napa is that your group can stroll from tasting room to tasting room. Including wine bars, there are over twenty wine tasting locations here, and they are the only tasting rooms for some of the finest boutique wineries. 

If you stop in the Downtown Napa Visitors Center before you start, you can pick up a wine tasting card and sample at twelve different tasting rooms for $25. 

If you want to explore, there are also several wineries only a short drive away. Consider driving (or hiring a car) to a few of the wineries on the perimeter of town to start, then work your way downtown to finish off the day. 

John Anthony: Conveniently located next door to the Andaz hotel, this chic tasting room is delicious on the eyes and the palate. There are only three varietals that John produces: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Tasting suggestions: ‘10 Church Vine Sauvignon Blanc, ‘08 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and ‘08 Oak Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon. And a bonus, they are open late!

John Anthony Winery, Napa CA. Image: John Anthony

Mason Cellars: They’ve been around since 1972, so they know their wine, and in particular Sauvignon Blanc. Mason offers an unusual experience for white wine lovers. Try the side-by-side Sauvignon Blanc tasting to experience the complexities of this varietal.  Tasting suggestions: ’10 Pomelo and the ’08 Mason Reserve.

pureCru Wines: This tucked away tasting room is the genious of long time Napa winemaker Mitch Cosentino. With Pure Cru, Cosentino is getting back to his roots in winemaking from a hands on approach producing small quantities of unique blends. Cosentino has more than 30 years of winemaking under his illustrious belt with more than a thousand awards. That’s one big belt! Tasting suggestions: 2007 PureCoz Napa Valley and 2009 M.Coz Red Mertiage Blend.  

Winemaker Mitch Cosentino, pureCru wines, Napa CA. Image: pureCru

TASTE at Oxbow: Not to be confused with Uncorked at Oxbow, this super chic tasting room features wines from Waterstone. This tasting room is a delight to just be in.  At Waterstone they focus on making luxury wines at an affordable price. Luxury wines indeed! Tasting suggestions: ‘11 Sauvignon Blanc, ‘08 Pinot Noir “Carneros”, ‘08 Zinfandel and don’t leave without trying their tribue to Miles Davis, “Study in Blue” red blend.

Uncorked at Oxbow: Co-owners are Bruce Ahnfeldt and Celeste Carducci, who opened in 2002 and also own the elegant and historic McClelland-Priest Bed and Breakfast Inn. Along with winemaker Julian Gonzalez and consulting winemaker Paul Hobbs, Uncorked produces the Ahnfeldt and Carducci brands. They offer wine, art, music, education, food pairings and wine blending sessions in their Napa tasting room. Be sure to try the ’10 Provocative Chardonnay, ’07 Ahnfeldt Merlot Black Label, ’08 Ahnfeldt Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, and my favorite, the ’07 Ahnfeldt W/L Classic Cab.

Trinitas Cellars: This delicious gem of a winery is hidden at the back of the recently renovated Meritage Resort and Spa just outside downtown Napa. When you walk into the tasting cave your senses are assaulted by a mix of fragrances of rich jam, cherries, smokiness and lush tannins from the tasting room, and lavender and cucumber from the spa across the cave. Who wouldn’t want to spend the day here? There are far too many wonderful wines to count at Trinitas, but at least be sure to try: ‘09 Rose’ary, ’07 Mendocino Old Vine Zinfandel, ’08 Meritage, and ’07 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Napa, CA, Trinitas Cellars tasting cave. Image: Trinitas

Check the Discover California Wines Website for information on all southern Napa Valley and Los Carneros region wineries.

Come and discover – or rediscover – downtown Napa for yourself. Experience the cultural rejuvenation of this historic town as it comes back into its own. Enjoy the luxury of its hotels, the balance of its wines, the flavor of its cuisine, and its beautifully restored buildings. Take your time and stroll through town as you see pieces of history as well as the future of downtown Napa. 

As you might imagine, it is impossible to list here all of the amazing places worthy of exploration. The Downtown Napa Association has done a wonderful job of highlighting most of the options on an easy-to-navigate DoNapa website. Plan your trip today.

Insider Tip: Before beginning your adventure, visit the Downtown Napa Visitor Center for all the latest and greatest info on what’s happening while you are in town.

Read more of Sherrie’s work at Wine Country Weekly and Out And About San Francisco in the Communities at the Washington Times. Follow Out and About on Twitter and on Facebook for even more inside scoop. Follow her on Pinterest to follow the visual story.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Sherrie Perkovich

Sherrie is a perky, music and wine-loving, Northern California local that seeks out and spreads the word about San Francisco experiences as well as unforgettable wine-related travel experiences.  She is CMO of The Grape Hunter USA, where they focus on helping artisan wineries and developing unique wine travel for consumers. Follow her on Twitter @BigNoseWino

Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all.  If it’s happening near SF, Sherrie is in on it.  Follow her columns,  for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco ~ San Jose treats and Wine Country Weekly.  


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