Wine Country Winners: Our Top Picks!

The Best of Wine Country! 

Based on our 121 winery visits, we have compiled a ‘best of’ list along with honorable mentions in a few categories we think friends, family, readers may be interested in! This was a difficult task given the high quality of the majority of the wineries we visited. But this is a short list of our favorites including the following:

  • Best 50 Wineries Overall
  • Best Wines
  • Best Single Selections
  • Best Experiences
  • Best Bargains
  • Best Views/Grounds
  • Best Tasting Rooms

Best 50 Wineries Overall – wine, experience, setting

  1. Pride
  2. Schweiger
  3. Chappellet
  4. Frog’s Leap
  5. Jordan
  6. Schramsberg
  7. Paul Hobbs
  8. White Rock
  9. Storybook Mountain Vineyards
  10. Regusci
  11. Robert Biale
  12. Ridge
  13. Pine Ridge
  14. Sequoia Grove
  15. Cairdean
  16. Shafer
  17. Ehler’s
  18. Kuleto Estate
  19. Hess Collection
  20. Hall
  21. Vineyard 29
  22. Etude
  23. Merry Edwards
  24. VGS Chateau Potelle
  25. Vine Cliff
  26. Von Strasser
  27. Whitehall Lane
  28. Round Pond
  29. Barnett
  30. Hartford Family
  31. Sherwin Family
  32. Cakebread Cellars
  33. Duckhorn
  34. HdV
  35. Miner Family
  36. Nichelini Family Winery
  37. Tank
  38. Chimney Rock
  39. Lava Vine
  40. Williams Selyem
  41. MacPhail
  42. Benziger
  43. Hope & Grace
  44. O’Shaughnnessy
  45. Soujourn Cellars
  46. Swanson
  47. David Fulton Winery
  48. Chateau Montelena
  49. Cade
  50. Ballentine
Best Wines – these wineries offered a broad selection of wines that we enjoyed across the board!

  1. Pride
  2. Schweiger
  3. Chappellet
  4. Frog’s Leap
  5. White Rock
  6. Regusci
  7. Pine Ridge
  8. Sequoia Grove
  9. Cairdean
  10. Hess Collection
  11. VGS Chateau Potelle
  12. Von Strasser
  13. Whitehall Lane
  14. Hope & Grace
  15. Benziger

 

Best Single Selections – try or purchase these wines if you can!

  1. Pride: anything especially any Merlot (Vintner’s Select in particular) and their Viognier
  2. Regusci: Aldo’s Vineyard Cabernet (2004)
  3. Barnett: Rattlesnake (it sells out, we didn’t try it – but one of the few wines Robert Parker has ASKED to taste)
  4. Martinelli: Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel (again didn’t try it, but it’s very exclusive ,and with a name like that you’d be a jackass to NOT try it if you can!)
  5. Elyse: Morisoli Cabernet
  6. David Fulton Petite Sirah
  7. Hartford Family: Highwire Zin
  8. Trefethen: Halo
  9. Ehlers: 1886 (2011)
  10. Schramsburg: J Schram
  11. Cairdean: Cab Franc
  12. Williams Selyem (Zinfandel & Westside Rd Neighbors Pinot Noir)
  13. Duckhorn: The Discussion (red blend)
  14. Jordan: any Cabernet, especially
  15. Vincent Arroyo: Petite Sirah
  16. Materra: Merlot (economical and highly-rated)
  17. Lava Vine: Petite Sirah
  18. Hess Collection: Small Block Series Malbec and Petite Sirah
  19. Pine Ridge Fortis Cabernet (2011)
  20. Robert Biale: any Zinfandel and Petite Sirah
  21. Odette: Estate Cabernet (2012)
  22. Priest Ranch: Petite Sirah
  23. Hanna Winery: Sauvignon Blanc
  24. MacPhail: Pinot Noir (especially 2012 Wightman House and 2011 Dutton Ranch)
  25. Merry Edwards: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir (2012 Meredith Estate)
Best Experiences – unique tours, special experiences, fantastic hosts, interesting atmosphere, great conversations

  1. Pride
  2. Schweiger
  3. Chappellet
  4. Frog’s Leap
  5. Jordan
  6. Schramsberg
  7. Paul Hobbs
  8. White Rock
  9. Storybook Mountain Vineyards
  10. Cakebread
  11. Hendry
  12. Spottswoode
  13. VGS Chateau Potelle
  14. Lava Vine
  15. David Fulton

 

Best Bargains – most reasonable wine prices

  1. Pine Ridge
  2. Sequoia Grove
  3. Whitehall Lane
  4. Frog’s Leap
  5. Kokomo
  6. Hagafen Cellars
  7. Vincent Arroyo
  8. Laura Michael
  9. Bouchaine
  10. Odette (Adaptation)
  11. Nichelini
  12. Miner Family
  13. Materra
  14. Benessere
  15. Ballentine

 

Best Views & Grounds

  1. Newton
  2. Kuleto Estate
  3. Pride
  4. Chappellet
  5. Storybook Mountain Vineyards
  6. Cade
  7. Shafer
  8. Schweiger
  9. Round Pond
  10. A Rafanelli
  11. Frog’s Leap
  12. Barnett
  13. Iron Horse
  14. Jordan
  15. Sherwin Family
  16. Hanzell
  17. Caymus
  18. Chateau Montelena
  19. Domaine Carneros
  20. St Clement
Best Tasting Rooms -uniqueness, comfort, attractiveness

  1. Duckhorn
  2. Shafer
  3. VGS Chateau Potelle
  4. Darioush
  5. Hess Collection
  6. Cairdean
  7. Tank
  8. Round Pond
  9. Cade
  10. Schweiger

 

Cheers!

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Stay tuned for updates from our Chicago stay!

 

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