By Tilar Mazzeo
This up to date advisor 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 via locals and critics.
Beyond the crowded tasting rooms of Napa’s well known wineries, there’s an genuine, welcoming facet of the valley ready to be explored: boutique estates run via 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 images; and pointers on 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 sort
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Additional resources for Back Lane Wineries of Napa, Second Edition
There is the occasional release to wine club members of extremely small lots of other wines—sometimes as few as a half-dozen cases—including Viognier, Malbec, Syrah, and a reserve Chardonnay. Most wines are from $30 to $50, with a total production of around three thousand cases, and there is no charge for a visit. ROBERT BIALE VINEYARDS 4038 Big Ranch Road, Napa Exit Salvador Avenue east from Highway 29, north on Big Ranch Road Tel. com Tasting by appointment only IN THE WINE ADVOCATE, Robert Parker has called this little winery one of the most elite Zinfandel producers in California, and, if you want to taste how wonderful a Zinfandel wine can be, this is the place to come.
At least there on the main tourist trail, lost in a crowd, you can slink away silently when the experts start in on some competitive and very expensive appreciation. These are some of the enduring stereotypes of Napa—maybe even part of the marketing in some corners of the valley. But nothing could be farther from the heart and soul of this region. The other side of the wine country, and by far the larger side, is surprisingly genuine, low-key, and embracing, a place where enthusiastic amateurs are everyone’s favorite people and where you can spend a long afternoon tromping the vineyards with a small proprietor who is only too happy to share with you his or her little piece of paradise for a remarkably modest tasting fee—and sometimes without charging at all.
There’s also a chic wine bar where you can order up a satisfying meal of antipasti and bruschetta, a range of fresh salads, and some sinful desserts. Most entrees are priced $15 to $20. If you want to enjoy a bottle of your most recent discovery, corkage is just $15. ZUZU TAPAS AND PAELLA 829 Main Street, Napa North on Highway 221, west on Third Street, north on Main Street Tel. m. m. m. m. m. m. m. WALK INTO ZUZU and it’s hard not to feel right at home. And that’s just what the proprietor Mick Salyer was going for when he opened this Spanish-style tapas and paella spot in downtown Napa.