6 Great Wine Lists

Where to go and what to buy off six great wine lists



The Best wine list in Napa Valley for mature wines.

 
 
Address: 587 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574
Phone:(707) 967-0550
 
After a day of tasting current releases you might want a change of pace to enjoy over dinner, and something mature that can show the true potential of the Napa Valley seems quite fitting, even if it does represent a different era of winemaking. Fortunately that is the specialty of Press, mature Napa Cabernet in particular and while their list is packed with trophy wines, it’s also got more than a few hidden gems. First off let's plan our dinner, this is a steakhouse for all intents and purposes, which works well with the wine list’s focus of course.
 
So what’s for dinner then? Well I do love my grilled octopus, which can work quite well with older red wines, and then I want a steak and you can’t get any better meat than that from west coast wunder-butcher Bryan Flannery so let’s not fool around here! Let’s add in some sides, which are plenty big to share and this is the menu I’m having; now we just need to find the right wines to pair with it.
 
Grilled octopus with Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, Swiss chard,and micro celery $16
Bone in Dry aged rib-eye from Bryan Flannery $49
Loaded mini baked potatoes, and roasted Maitake mushrooms $12 and 416 respectively
 
This is the place for back vintage local reds so let's not screw around. We’re on a budget, which I’ve arbitrarily set at $150 a bottle, and while that might make things a bit tight there are plenty of options to choose from here. Among all the trophies I found stand out wines from several solid producers that will all deliver a lovely aged Napa Cabernet experience within our budget.  
 
1982 Girard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley  $130
1982 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain $150
1985 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain $140
1983 Ritchie Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley  $150
1978 Ch Souverain $145
 
I think the 1990 La Jota is the pick of the bunch here, though I would certainly enjoy a well preserved bottle of any of these. If you would prefer something younger, or cheaper, the list has two great values from the very fine 2007 vintage. You could pick one, or the other, or opt for both, and still just about stay under budget while enjoying two of Napa Valley’s finest Cabernets. It’s actually a very interesting pairing, two near neighbors on Spring Mountain producing classic Cabernets!
 
2007 Ritchie Creek Cabernet Sauvignon $80
2007 Smith-Madrone cabernet Sauvignon $75
 
And finally, for those really looking for the gems here and willing to venture beyond the usual there are two wonderful wines on the list, both very reasonably priced and perfect for the menu. The first is Delia Viader’s Cabernet Franc heavy blend Viader from the 1992 vintage ($145). This is absolutely at peak and a fascinating wine that engages you with subtlety and elegance more than power. The second option is Turley's 2001 Library Vineyard Petite Sirah($95), which i admittedly have not had for several long years now but the last time I had a bottle is was a grilled steak lovers dream and given how Petite Sirah tends to fade slowly I would imagine that this bottle is holding up just fine. 

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Comments

  • Snooth User: zinfandel1
    Hand of Snooth
    154660 994

    Impressive article. I can use this for my next trip to the west coast. I would like to see more articles like this.

    Sep 09, 2013 at 1:12 PM


  • Just a "small" question: Why did you not mention the Shenandoah Valley (Amador County), just a hop & a skip from Napa and Sonoma??? However, if your intent is to inform persons about good wine regions, etc, why give so much space to Napa and Sonoma that EVERYONE already knows about??? [Personally, I literally grew up with Napa wines in the 50's & 60's. . .However, when they began reading their press clippings, I moved to the Sonoma vintners. . .And, when THEY became a bit too big for their britches, I left them and "discovered" the Amador wineries in the 80's and 90's and I still exploring their fine wines. . .easily the equal of the Napas and Sonomas; and, without the traffic jams; the "elitism;" and, the general commercialism that prevails in Napa; Sonoma; and, now the Central Coast (by virtue of "Sideways"). . .

    And, I find a "friendliness" that is the way it USED to be in Napa and Sonoma! [And, in case, anyone wonders, I have NO ties to any of the wineries in Amador other than I REALLY enjoy the wines; and, like the people I encounter there. . .And, I like to share a "good thing" <smile>

    Sep 09, 2013 at 3:45 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 198,343

    This is not an article about wine regions, it's an article about wine lists. If you want to share restaurant wine lists that are really outstanding in Amador county, we'd love to add them to the list of restaurants in Napa, Sonoma, Seattle, and the Willamatte Valley that were included in the article.

    Thanks Zinfandel 1. I'll try and keep them coming. And frankly can't wait for my next visits to some of these places!

    Sep 09, 2013 at 5:10 PM


  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 2,865

    Well, GdP, we cannot wait for your next visit out this way, either!

    Someone will always be disappointed that their fave wine region was left out. Amador is not such a small hop, skip and jump and, keeping in mind that Snooth has a national and international readership, proximity to a city with an airport is one of many considerations that also goes into these articles, I'm sure. One could also make the argument that the Santa Cruz Mountains (Ridge, Rhys, Villa Mount Eden, plus Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos and Village Inn in Woodside) deserve mention, or Monterey/Santa Lucia Highlands, if it's wine country you want.

    As someone who grew up here and traipsed to Napa as a kid behind his wine-enthusiast parents, I agree things have changed. But this is where people go and that's the focus of the article. That said, I've had dinners with winemakers and assistants from Napa wineries, and still have pleasant visits to tasting rooms--you just have to seek out the independents like Smith Madrone, Bell, Chappellet, and the like. As for Sonoma, yes, it's getting more corporatized, but not so much that I'd tell people to stay away. Nope, I'd help them find a good place for a meal and a glass of wine!

    That said, I'm going to be in Napa for a conference on Columbus Day weekend, so I will definitely put this article's recommendations to work.

    Sep 09, 2013 at 7:55 PM


  • Snooth User: Jeff Nott
    589275 9

    One of the most impressive wine lists I have ever come across is at Café Riacci in Palo Alto, CA. When last I was there, I asked for a particular bottle on their list. The server then asked "What year would you like?" I asked " What do you have?" Her response "Every year between 1997 and 2010". Apparently this is the same for most of the wines they carry and it is an extensive list. And the food is fantastic!

    Sep 09, 2013 at 8:50 PM


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