9 Places to Taste Excellent Napa Valley Chardonnay

  • Wineries
  • on APRIL 9, 2024
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9 Places to Taste Excellent Napa Valley Chardonnay

By Devin Parr April 9, 2024

When we hear about the “Anything But Chardonnay” (ABC) crowd, we can’t help but wonder why—with so many different styles and expressions depending on where the grapes are grown and how the wine is produced, we’re confident that there’s a Chardonnay to please every palate.

One of the top places in the country to experience this versatile wine grape is none other than the Napa Valley. With variations that include steely, mineral-driven, cool climate bottlings and rich, ripe white wines with tropical fruit for days, Chardonnay lives up to its chameleonlike potential in the hands of Napa’s talented winemakers.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite places in Napa Valley to sip Chardonnay. We promise that even the strictest of ABC devotees will find something they like in this lineup.

Stony Hill Vineyard

3331 St. Helena Highway North, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-2636

Stony Hill
Photo courtesy of Stony Hill

A tucked-away treasure, high on Spring Mountain’s rocky slopes, sits Stony Hill Vineyard—one of the first post-Prohibition wineries built in the Napa Valley. With its volcanic mountain soil, limestone sub-layer, and northeast-facing placement, Stony Hill’s terroir is perfectly suited for growing their preferred style of Chardonnay grapes. Sip their storied Chardonnays at their newly redesigned Residence estate. With its warm, welcoming mid-century modern aesthetic modeled after Stony Hill’s original Chardonnay label design, this uniquely Napa experience is well worth the trip up the hill.

Insider Tip: Stony Hill Chardonnays are unlike the oakier varieties in California. Because they are barrel-aged, without the malolactic fermentation, Stony Hill Chardonnays are like liquid gold—bright and fresh with hints of pear, apple, and lemon zest.

Cakebread Cellars

8300 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA 94573, (800) 588-0298

Cakebread Cellars
Photo courtesy of Cakebread Cellars

The very first wine that Cakebread Cellars’ founders, Jack and Dolores Cakebread, released after founding their winery in 1973 was a Chardonnay. With over 50 years of perfecting their craft, this iconic winery continues the tradition of producing beautiful examples of Chardonnay from their vineyards tucked within the cool Carneros appellation. Cakebread Chardonnays are known for their delightful acidity and notes of apple and pear, of which you can try yourself during one of their seated tasting or tour experiences.

Insider Tip: Don’t miss the chance to book Cakebread Cellars’ Chardonnay Tasting, which celebrates 50 years of producing some of Napa’s best Chardonnays. During this communal seated tasting, you’ll sample four single-vineyard, limited-release bottles, each highlighting interesting differences to help hone your palette—and your love of Chardonnay!

Goosecross Cellars

1119 State Lane, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 944-1986

Goosecross Cellars
Photo courtesy of Goosecross Cellars

This family-owned and operated winery in Yountville is known for its dedicated hospitality, welcoming atmosphere, and world-class wines. Take to the scenic deck to sip Goosecross Cellars‘ expertly crafted wines found only at the winery, including the Burgundian-style Napa Valley Chardonnay, made from Dijon clone fruit from the winery’s Corrotto Vineyard on the Napa side of Carneros.

Insider Tip: Members of the three-tiered wine club enjoy complimentary tastings on the “Club Patio,” plus other perks, making it a must for fans of Goosecross’ small-production, winery-only portfolio.

Hess Persson Estates

411 Redwood Road, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 255-1144

ATV Tour Hess Persson Estates
ATV Vineyard Tour. Photo courtesy of Hess Persson Estates

Hop aboard a luxury ATV for an educational vineyard tour and wine tasting at Hess Persson Estates. This family-owned Napa Valley winery atop Mount Veeder may be known just as much for its three-level Hess Collection Art Museum as it is for its Lioness Chardonnay. Stop by to marvel at highly eclectic contemporary art, walk the collection with their Director of Art, or book a Tour of the Palate experience, a guided museum tour followed by estate-exclusive wine tasting paired with three-course seasonal bites.

Insider Tip: Hess Persson is one of the few Napa Valley wineries that offers a hands-on blending experience—in it, you can play winemaker for the day and create your own custom blend to bottle and take home.

Beaulieu Vineyard

1960 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 257-5749

Beaulieu Vineyards located in Rutherford, CA
Photo Courtesy of Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) located in Rutherford, CA

With over a century of winemaking in the region, Beaulieu Vineyard (“BV” for short) has long been known as an iconic Napa Valley wine producer. While Cabernet Sauvignon is the grape the winery is most known for, of which BV produced one of the earliest “cult” Cabernets in the region, BV crafts several different varietal wines and blends worth noting. In fact, it was one the first producers in the area to start making distinctive Chardonnay from Carneros. Today, BV makes several different Chardonnays from single vineyards and blends from throughout the region, each revealing classic varietal character and diversity of terroir.

Insider Tip: Because of the winery’s history in crafting exceptional Cabernet wines, most of the tasting experiences offered are focused on Cabernet wines. To shift your attention to Chardonnay, it’s best to reach out to the winery directly to ask about a customized tasting experience for your group, or even a virtual tasting experience, which you can do from the comfort of your home.

Oasis by Hoopes – Hoopes Vineyard

6204 Washington Street, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 944-1869

Oasis by Hoopes
Photo Courtesy of Oasis by Hoopes

Led by second-generation proprietor Lindsay Hoopes, who learned about farming and cultivated a deep respect for Napa Valley terroir through her father Spencer, Oasis by Hoopes is a welcoming retreat from everyday life. More than just a winery, this regenerative farm and animal sanctuary is a family- and pet-friendly destination for wine fans young and old to immerse themselves in California wine culture. Here, you can sip multiple vintages of Hoope’s Genny’s Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay, which blends an old-world approach to production and farming, with a respectful nod to Napa terroir.

Insider Tip: For a total Wine Country getaway, book a stay at the Hoopes Farmhouse, a picturesque 1890s farmhouse that sleeps up to eight, featuring a full kitchen, pool, and wraparound porch overlooking the fruit orchard and vineyards.

Mayacamas Vineyards & Winery

1155 Lokoya Road, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 224-4030

Mayacamas Vineyards
Photo Courtesy of Mayacamas Vineyards & Winery

This historic property dates back to 1889, when it was built into the side of a dormant volcano crater in the shadow of Mount Veeder. Known for their incredible consistency through generations of ownership, as well their reflection of classic winemaking traditions, Mayacamas’ wines are widely recognized for their outstanding quality. Their Chardonnay is no exception, regularly heralded as one of the greatest examples of American Chardonnay and celebrated for its remarkable ageability.

Insider Tip: Visits to this iconic winery are reservation-only. You can book a tasting in advance at either the Mayacamas Downtown Tasting Room or the Vineyards Estate through the winery’s online reservation system.

Flora Springs

677 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-8032

Flora Springs
Photo Courtesy of Flora Springs

While officially founded in 1978, grapes were first planted on this St. Helena property, located at the foot of the Mayacamas, in the late 1800s, which marked the start of Flora Springs’ fascinating history. The winery produces several different Chardonnays, each with a unique flavor profile, from the juicy and tropical Family Select Chardonnay to the limited-production Flora’s Legacy Chardonnay, made from a barrel selection of the finest Chardonnay of the vintage, in honor of Flora Komes, the inspiration for the winery.

Insider Tip: Flora Springs feels so strongly about the quality of their Chardonnay and other white wines that the winery has been a leading proponent of the movement to introduce the #whitewineemoji.

Quilt & Co. Tasting Room

807 Main Street, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 777-8198

Quilt & Co.
Photo Courtesy of Quilt & Co.

Located in the heart of downtown Napa, this tasting room concept is the passion project of fifth-generation winemaker and Napa Valley native Joseph Wagner. You can taste through Joseph’s full portfolio of wines under one roof, exploring the diverse expressions of the Chardonnay grape. A flight of Belle Glos, Napa Valley Quilt, Böen, Elouan, and others will highlight the distinct acidity, aroma, oak influence, and flavor profile of a wide range of Chardonnay styles. Experiences include curated wine flights, sharable charcuterie boards, and food and wine pairings in collaboration with Quilt & Co.’s sister restaurant next door, Avow.

Insider Tip: Can’t make it to the tasting room? Book a guided virtual tasting experience with one of Quilt & Co.’s knowledgeable staff members, complimentary with the purchase of six bottles.