Mark P.
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15 winery reviews
   - 9 in Napa Valley
   - 6 in Sonoma County
1 wine trail review
11 first reviews
2 helpful votes


Member since:
August 2009

Location:
San Francisco, CA

Favorite Winery:
St. Supery (Napa, CA)

Favorite Region:
Sonoma, CA

Favorite Wine:
Port

Markham Vineyards

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The grounds at Markham are tremendous and honestly are probably the highlight of a visit. They make several good, very reasonably priced wines. I woouldn't expect to be blown away by the quality but I did really like the Sauv Blanc and Petit Sirah. It's tasting room is very modern and it's a good stop for groups.



 
03/07/2010

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Gundlach Bundschu Winery

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I think that Gundlach has one of the most impressive grounds in Sonoma. The tasting room is beautiful plus the surrounding area includes a small lake, picnic areas and even a couple of hiking trails. I wish that I had more time to spend there. Since they have a few wines that are less common in Somona, I tasted those - a Cab Franc and a Gewurztraminer. Both were impressive. They are moving to making all estate wines next year and the staff was very excited about the current zins available. They were quite nice. I would highly recommend a visit here especially if you have some time to explore the grounds.



 
11/19/2009

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Benziger Family Winery

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One of Benziger's claim to fame is being a certified biodynamic farm which is the highest level of green certificate to the best of my knowledge. The entrance is really nice and the property is quite sprawling - I'd encourage you to take a tour if you have time. I really like the feel of their tasting room and the service was great (we did visit on a weekday so it was pretty quiet). I did the single vineyard tasting at the main bar. There are a couple of other options. I was pleased with the wines. I enjoyed the sauvgnon blanc and cab. They have a ocuple of ports but it wasn't for me even though I enjoy ruby ports.



 
11/19/2009

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Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

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Jacuzzi has one of the nicest tasting areas in Sonoma. This new estate has an Italian villa feel with a super back patio for relaxing. Take some time to check out the tower and the hall rooms in the back if they are open. The tasting room is spacious and very well appointed. Jacuzzi also has an olive press on site and they offer olive oil tastings in a separate room. They have a great spectrum of olive oils from mild to more peppery. You'll dig it. As for the wines, I was pleasantly surprised. They have several Italian wines and I enjoyed the Arneis and Sangiovese.



 
11/19/2009

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Schug Carneros Estate Winery

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Schug is definitely a place for those who appreciate Pinot. The tasting room is small and doesn't have any of the bells and whistles of other spots. So, don't expect to be awed when you walk in but you'll be impressed with the wines - especially if you appreciate a good pinot. I was surprised to learn that they also have a couple of great chardonnays. Combined with great service in the tasting room, you'll be happy that you stopped by.



 
11/19/2009

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B.R. Cohn

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B.R. Cohn is a great place just north of Sonoma. Bruce Cohn's journey from Doobie Brothers manager to winery owner is an interesting tale. The grounds are nice with plenty of olive trees. While the tasting room is not stunning, I really enjoyed their wines. I actually favored the sauvignon blanc and the silver label cab rather than some of the red blends. My favorite was the port (accompanied by some chocolate). However, the port is somewhat pricey but it is very high quality. Also, the gift shop is actually one of the nicer in Sonoma.



 
11/19/2009

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hope & grace wines

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Hope and Grace has a cool little tasting room in Yountville (not at the estate). The room is perfectly nice but it's hard to compete with the great settings of some of the nearby wineries. I really enjoyed the Malbec and thought that the Pinot was quite good as well. If you're in town, I would recommend stopping in.



 
10/19/2009

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Prager Winery & Port Works

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I love Prager since they make great port right in Napa. The atmosphere is definitely quirky (dollars bills stapled all over the room, jokes from the servers, etc.) but the estate is beautiful. The wine will definitely satisfy your sweet quota between the port and tasty riesling. The riesling might be the best wine here. Give it a try but be prepared for a slightly non-standard tasting experience.



 
10/16/2009

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Silver Oak Cellars (Napa)

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I prefer the Napa Valley Cab (over the Alexander) but I still feel that both are slightly overpriced. But, Silver Oak has earned their rep.

Silver Oak's tasting room is very modern and spacious (unfortunately, that is courtesy of a fire from a few years back). The rest of the grounds don't offer much.

Overall, I would recommend a Silver Oak visit - especially since there wine is so well known. Nothing particularly spectacular but you'll likely have a nice experience there.



 
10/16/2009

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The Hess Collection Winery

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Hess has a great location in the hills above the valley. To me, the art collection is the best part of this winery. There were definitely a few thought provoking pieces on display during our visit. I think that the collection at the winery is only about 25% of the full Hess collection - that's impressive.

It's a fairly popular place so the tasting feel is not really that intimate but the wines are quality. I really enjoyed the Cab. Tasting was only $10 so you can't really go wrong at that price in Napa.



 
10/16/2009

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Beringer Vineyards

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Beringer seems to be one of the most popular spots in Napa - I'm not really sure why. The grounds are cool and I do like the historic Rhine House. However, the main tasting room is fairly small. The staff doesn't seem as professional or engaged as other wineries. If you visit, I would recommend stumping up the extra cash to taste in the Rhine House - it's definitely a better setting. As for their wines, I guess that they are good quality for the price but I think the quality gap between the reserve bottle and regular bottles is very wide. The reserve bottles of the cab are usually quality but I am less excited of their other wines.



 
10/16/2009

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Frog's Leap Winery

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Frog's Leap has one of the most comfortable tasting rooms in Napa. In addition to a relaxing place to taste, the grounds are beautiful. The back gardens are extremely well maintained and a nice place to chill after your tasting. Another plus of this winery is that they are super committed to being a green operation.

Their wine isn't the best for my palate but there are some solid wines in their lineup. I'm partially to their Sauv Blanc.



 
10/16/2009

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St. Supery Vineyards & Winery

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St. Supery is a great spot for tasting. Chardonnay is usually not my favorite but the St. Supery Chard is fantastic. Their Sauvignon Blancs often earn scores in the 90s from various reviewers.

The grounds are nice but not the most spectacular in Napa by any stretch. The tasting staff has always been engaging and quick to offer information about the winemaking process.



 
10/16/2009

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Napa With A View

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I did this trail last weekend and the views lived up their billing. Pride Mountain was probably my favorite stop but all were interesting. Best glass of wine on the trip was the Pride Mountain 2006 Cab.

10/16/2009




Storybook Mountain Winery

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Super friendly owners who will give you a great history of the estate and . These guys make great zinfandels. They have a nice little cave where the tasting takes place. The rest of the property is nice but not as stunning as others in the valley. Make sure to get a reservation before visiting - I get the impression that they don't have a ton of visitors.



 
1 person found this review helpful
10/15/2009

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Chateau St. Jean

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Best spot in Sonoma. The chateau, gardens and vineyard are amazing. The perfect setting for wine tasting. I would highly recommend bringing out-of-town visitors here. It's a perfect example of California wine country.

I've always had attentive and interesting servers in the tasting room. Plus, I really enjoy their riesling and chardonnay.



 
1 person found this review helpful
08/26/2009

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