2017 Ladera Pillow Road Vineyards Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Just outside of Sebastopol, up in the hills, the cool region benefits this aromatic chardonnay, with aromas of ripe peaches and lemon zest. It’s a refreshing white, bursting with ripe fruit and nice acidity, especially on a warm summer day. Wine tastings are now available at both the new Silverado Trail location and at Brasswood. $55, laderavineyards.com.
2017 Redmon Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville
With 21 months in French oak, this luscious red is grown on a two-acre vineyard, south of Napa where the cooler San Pablo Bay-influenced climate allows for even, steady ripening. Flavors of black plums and blueberries are subtle and alluring. The wine is handled with care, produced in extremely small quantities by Lisa Redmon, owner and St. Helena native. $130, redmonwines.com.
2020 Royal Princess Rosé of Grenache, Sonoma County
Biodynamically farmed, this grenache-based pink wine shines with tasty flavors of grapefruit and watermelon. While it’s not sweet, it feels bright and tantalizing on the tongue, especially as a starter or enjoyed poolside. The small-production wine, with just 160 cases made, is a crowd pleaser at a super reasonable price point. $20, royalprincewines.com.
2017 Smith Madrone Riesling, Spring Mountain
It’s hard to imagine such a classic riesling grown up the mountain in St. Helena. This charmer, with a silky texture and deep flavors of grapefruit and citrus, has a good dose of acidity to pair with your favorite summer foods, such as grilled seafood, goat cheese, or a garden-fresh summer salad. Fewer than 1,500 cases are made so run, don’t walk, to snag one. $34, smithmadrone.com.
2016 Turnbull Leopoldina Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville
Peter Heitz, a fourth-generation family grape grower, nurtures the fruit for this bold classic Napa red atop the Oakville Bench, where the vines’ roots reach deep into the volcanic soil. The rich wine exudes flavors of ripe cherries, plums, and a touch of tobacco, all in the most flattering manner. There’s a splash of petit verdot (2%) to round it off, and just 36 barrels are produced, with 100% French oak. $135, turnbullwines.com.
New Tasting Rooms
Be Bubbly Napa Tasting Lounge
Napa is fortunate to add Erin Riley’s sparkling wine tasting room to the heart of downtown. Bubbles come by the glass, the half bottle, and the full bottle, with seating inside and out. Offerings range from small-grower champagnes and local sparklers to Italian prosecco and Spanish cava. Rotating monthly tasting flights are a fun way to sample the options. bebubblynapa.com.
Lang and Reed Tasting Salon, St. Helena
The Lang and Reed Tasting Salon is an extension of the family’s former offices into a beautiful space used for indoor and outdoor tastings. Known for its cabernet franc and chenin blanc (which are not your usual subjects in the area), this family winery now hosts up to four guests on the front porch of this charming house, located just off Main Street in downtown St. Helena. langandreed.com/tastingsalon.