The Napa Valley is renowned for its full-bodied Cabernets, Merlots, and Pinot Noirs. But for those of us who prefer the fairer grape, there are plenty of noble white wines to taste as well. Here are a few local wineries that specialize or include whites in their wine portfolios.
Trefethen Family Vineyards’ white wine flight features five selections: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Quandary, Chardonnay and Harmony Chardonnay. The winery has long been regarded as one of the world’s top white wine producers: At the Gault Millau World Wine Olympics, held in Paris in 1979 on the heels of the famous “Judgment of Paris” tasting, the 1976 Trefethen Chardonnay was declared “The Best Chardonnay in the World.” The winery offers two tasting levels: Classic ($25 per person) and Reserve ($40 per person), conducted by professional wine educators, seven days a week from 10 am to 4:30 pm. A two-hour Vineyard and Historic Winery Tour ($45 per person) immerses visitors in the history of the Trefethen property and the family’s approach to crafting world-class, estate-grown wines.
Bouchaine Vineyards offers Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, a crisp Vin Gris, and three types of Chardonnay. Guests can opt for a private vineyard tour overlooking the San Francisco Bay where they’ll learn how weather dictates acid in their crisp whites; they’ll also be able to taste Chardonnay from different types of barrels, thereby understanding white wines as a sensory experience: new oak fermented, old oak fermented, and stainless. The Estate Tasting fee is $20 per person, the Barrel Tasting and Vineyard Tour fee is $50 per person (advance reservations required).
Tamber Bey Vineyards accommodates white wine lovers with its White Flight of Five, which includes Sauvignon Blanc from Oakville and three different styles of Chardonnay from Yountville: Sans Chêne (unoaked) Chardonnay, a traditional Napa Valley Chardonnay and its barrel-fermented and barrel-aged Dijon Chardonnay from the Deux Chevaux Vineyard. To finish off the flight, they pour their Provence-style Rosé. Tastings are $45, by appointment only.
Peju Winery’s Classic Tasting allows guests to customize their tasting experience by selecting which wines they’d like to try. This list offers several white wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Carnivál (French Colombard) and Province, a unique red and white blend served chilled. Its portfolio also includes a Dry Rosé, Peju Pink, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Dry Orange Muscat, and Riesling, all available to taste upon special request. Guests who prefer not to do a full tasting can enjoy many of these wines by the glass or bottle. Tastings begin at $40.
Crosby Roamann features a tasting experience that starts with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc as guests walk in the door. They then proceed to the cellar for a barrel tasting, which includes usually two whites out of barrel, in addition to two reds. They then return to the tasting room for a seated bottle tasting, including three white wines (a combination of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and, when in stock, Rosé) in addition to two to three red wines. Upon request, they can also offer a strictly white wine flight – for example, a vertical of Sauvignon Blanc or several vintages of Chardonnay. Tastings are $40, by appointment only.
Leto Cellars’ winemaker/owner Brad Warner is known for his reds, but his whites are what he drinks most often at home. At Leto Cellars, you’ll taste through such wines as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling with the people who made them. Tastings are available at 10 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. The $50 per person fee is waived with a purchase of $50 or more. By appointment only.
Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards offers four white wines and three varietals, including Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay, and Southworth Reserve Chardonnay. Tastings are $25 for a daily tasting or $40 for a tour and tasting. By appointment only.
Yao Family Wines features a White Wine Tasting Flight ($25) that includes a 2017 Napa Crest Sauvignon Blanc, a 2016 Napa Crest Rosé, and a 2016 Yao Ming Sparkling Wine – Brut. It also offers these wines by the glass or by the bottle.
The Napa General Store has a wine bar from which you can choose four selections from its list of hand-picked, small production Napa Valley white wines. You can also order anything by the glass.
Photo credit: Emily Byrski