Ahhh, sparkling wine. It’s not just for celebrations and brunch anymore. In fact, I think it’s perfect for any reason, any day.
Don’t you agree?
In the middle of Cabernet Country, these five Napa Valley wineries provide exceptional sparkling wine experiences — and they’re great additions to any wine tasting itinerary.
Three cheers for bubbles! Hip hip, Hooray!
I’ve long been a fan of Mumm (and a visitor, and a taster, and a wine club member…), so let’s start there.
Located on the Silverado Trail in Rutherford, they have lovely, welcoming grounds and buildings. I frequently recommend this winery to our guests because it’s accessible, accommodating and attractive.
Here’s a peek at the indoor tasting salon.
While appointments are only required for the winery/art gallery tours, they aren’t required for the traditional seated tastings hosted on the terrace and in the salon. However, if you’re the proactive type you may want to reserve a table ahead of time. It can get busy.
Are you more the spontaneous type? No worries. On those busier days just head down to the lower patio and get your bubbles by the glass.
At any rate, choose the location and wine option that best suits you, take a nice deep breath, then get busy absorbing all that beautiful Napa Valley scenery. *Inhale* and …. Ahhh.
Oh, Mumm. It’s been too long. I miss you. Let’s hang out soon, ‘kay?
Located just off Highway 29 in Yountville, Domaine Chandon is another fantastic stop. The grounds are wide and shady with tended lawns and sprawling gardens. The winery itself is pretty slick too.
There’s a wine and gift shop as you enter, and a tasting salon/terrace upstairs. No appointments are necessary for traditional tastings, so belly up to the bar for a flight of bubbles or grab a table outside and enjoy your wines al fresco.
My favorite approach? Bring a bottle to the back yard and relax in one of the many Adirondack chairs overlooking the vineyards and the valley.
Rinse and repeat. Enjoy.
As one of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, Schramsberg is the granddaddy of Napa’s sparkling wine houses.
While their bubbles are some of my favorite, the highlight of visiting the winery is definitely the cave tour.
The Schramsberg caves were hand-dug by pick axe over a century ago. They’re dark and damp with a mossy growth extending down from the natural rock ceiling.
The cave walls are lined with row after row of resting wines, and if you look closely you might see the wood offcuts and bottle caps that hold it all in place. Seems tenuous to me, but I suppose after 125 years of successfully stacking bottles they feel pretty confident in their skills.
After the cave tour is the tasting, and my bet is that you’ll leave with some bottles in hand. Too good to pass up.
The winery, which does require an appointment for tours and tastings, is located in the western hills of Calistoga. Schramsberg is 21+ only, and you’ll need to leave your pets behind for this tour.
Domaine Carneros, located at the southernmost end of Napa Valley, is also well known for their sparkling wine. And though this chateau is one of the more popular wineries in Carneros, you’ll still likely have success booking an appointment for the same day.
Image courtesy of domainecarneros.com
Indoor tastings are available, but if weather allows I’d recommend requesting a table on the terrace. It’s lovely and lively, and every seat comes with endless vineyard views.
Domaine Carneros offers wines by the glass in addition to their wine flights, and if you are feeling peckish you can complement your bubbles with one of the cheese or charcuterie plates on the menu.
Either way, kick back and enjoy the setting, the wines, the snacks — and the fantastic people watching.
The JCB Collection has a few different locations for your wine tasting pleasure, but today I’m referring to their luxurious and opulent tasting salon in the heart of Yountville.
Choose the Bubble Flight in the tasting salon, or go for the educator-lead experience in the private tasting room. Either way, the deep, rich colors in the tasting salon are a perfect contrast to the bright sunshine outside. Plus, the museum-like presentation of the retail items provides plenty of eye candy.
Image courtesy of jcbcollection.com
Have the bubbles gone to your head yet? Wander next door to the Atelier Fine Foods, where you can pick up fancy cheeses, caviar, olive oils, and plenty of other french-y snacks for pairing with all those tasty bubbles.
Image courtesy of jcbcollection.com
Ultimately, whether you begin or end your day with bubbles, I think you’re making the right decision. So, clink those glasses and get tasting. Plenty of time for red wine later…
Ice Cube Says:
Chickity-check yo’ self
before you wreck yo’ self.