Play: The Coombsville AVA was officially established in December, 2011. It is named for Nathan Coombs who purchased the land in 1836. Known for Cabernet Sauvignon and volcanic ash, this exciting locale is producing a wide range of other varietals as well. Since the wineries are family-owned and small producers, call ahead for an appointment. Here are the wineries we visited:
From its perch atop a hill, Porter Family Vineyards has a striking view of the Coombsville region. The wines are crafted in a cave hidden fifty feet beneath the hill. We sampled their wines in a stunning tasting room. Favorites include the 2008 Sandpiper Red (Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Merlot), the 2009 Cave Dweller (Cab/Syrah) and the 2009 Chardonnay.
Ackerman Family Vineyards produces delicious Cabernet Sauvignons in a beautifully serene setting. Their Bordeaux-style wines (we tried the 2005, 2006 and 2007) are rich and silky. Choose one of their specialty food pairings and take pleasure in the picturesque views as you sip their appealing wines.
The land that includes the restored home of Henry Hagen and his Cedar Knoll winery is today the site of Palmaz Vineyards. Located at the foot of Mt. George, the amazing four-level cave is the same height as a 15-story building. Savor small hors d’oeuvres with some of their elegant wines including the 2010 Napa Valley Riesling “Louise” and the 2007 Palmaz Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
After a day of wine tasting, the pools at the River Terrace Inn and the Westin Verasa offer a soothing respite. There’s also bocce ball at the Westin and complimentary bikes at the River Terrace Inn. If your idea of relaxation includes a spa, then head to La Pelle Spa for one of their luxurious treatments.
After dinner, Silo’s is the place to mellow out to cool jazz. Night life in downtown Napa is heating up so find music, a movie or uncover a new wine bar.
Shop: Just before you reach downtown Napa, check out the latest arrivals at the Napa Premium Outlets (707-226-9876). Once in town the General Store is a longtime favorite for a wonderful selection of artisan goods, wine country accessories and hearty fare. The Oxbow Public Market is another treasure trove of good eats, great wine and relaxed dining – all by the riverfront. Stroll through town and find more boutiques, antique shops, tasting rooms and restaurants.
And of course, wineries and tasting rooms hope you’ll buy wine when you visit, so don’t disappoint.
OTHER ESSENTIALS: Coombsville Vintners & Growers; Downtown Napa; Visiting Napa Valley
PATTY BURNESS can be found on Twitter at @pattygb