Wine Tasting Notes, 2008: Palmaz Vineyards, Napa

Once you’ve seen the winemaking operations at one winery, you have pretty much seen them all. These days, certain equipment has now become de rigueur for any modern facility: stainless steel tanks with glycol jackets, bladder presses, crusher-destemmers. If you visit enough wineries, you will see these items over and over again, and you may even begin to recognize specific models of each. After a while, the winemaking facility itself can only provide a passing interest to the seasoned visitor (and the focus should be on the wine, not the winery, anyhow). I did discover an exception to this rule, however, when I toured the state-of-the-art facility at Palmaz Vineyards yesterday.

Built into Mt. George on the southern tip of the Vaca Mountain Range, Palmaz Vineyards is an incredible winery, to say the least. The winemaking operations are completely underground, occupying a space that is [… read more …]

Napa's Top 25 Wine Tours

Outside Quixote (left) and outside Schramsberg (right).

These types of lists are always debatable — if not questionable — because you have to wonder about the author’s credentials. Who really comes up with these lists, and much do they know about anything? It’s a fair question. Lots of travel writers have come to the Napa Valley and covered the wine scene, and there are plenty of opinions about all kinds of wineries.

My own perspective is uniquely local. I’ve lived in Napa for over 10 years and have spent most of that time as a professional chef (at the moment, I work as a chef-instructor at a local cooking school). Over the years, I have taken breaks from restaurant life to work as a wine educator. I spent a year at Grgich Hills pouring wine, and I spent three years at Nickel & Nickel hosting tours and tastings.

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