9 Unique Food and Wine Pairing Experiences in Napa Valley

  • Wine
  • by DEVIN PARR
  • on AUGUST 31, 2022
  • 23918
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Courtesy of Round Pond | Kiyomi Wall
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Sipping a beautiful wine: lovely. Enjoying a bite of delicious food: A delight. Sipping a beautiful wine alongside a bite of delicious food and experiencing the perfect food and wine pairing? Transcendental.

There’s just something magical that happens when all the elements of a well-made wine mix with the flavors and textures of a creative dish. You are transported to tastebud nirvana. Now factor in the stunning backdrop of Napa Valley and you have yourself the ultimate Wine Country experience.

Tasting rooms abound in Napa Valley, but not all Napa wineries offer food and wine pairing experiences alongside wine tastings – especially ones that go beyond the usual wine and cheese – so we have curated a list of some of the most spectacular.

FOR BUBBLE LOVERS

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Courtesy of Domaine Carneros

Domaine Carneros

1240 Duhig Road, Napa, CA 94559, (800) 716-2788

Mention Napa Valley sparkling wine and the mind instantly goes to Domaine Carneros. Founded by the family behind French Champagne house Taittinger, this iconic Napa Valley winery is celebrated for its grower-producer méthode traditionelle sparkling wines and pinot noir, all sourced from six estate vineyards in the Carneros appellation.

Don’t let the name fool you. The Ultimate Chips & Dip Experience is anything but basic. Sip three of the winery’s top sparkling wines while you nibble a selection of Tsar Nicoulai Caviar’s artisanal caviars, gourmet potato chips, toast points, and, of course, crème fraiche in the dreamiest of food and wine pairings.

FOR THE CABERNET SUPERFAN

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Courtesy of Sequoia Grove

Sequoia Grove

8338 St. Helena Highway, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 944-2945

This Rutherford winery is considered one of the pioneering cabernet sauvignon producers that helped put Napa Valley on the global wine map since its founding in 1979. Tucked among the majestic Sequoia trees, the winery is also celebrated for its efforts to preserve the long-term sustainability of Napa — from its partnership with Save the Redwoods to being one of the first five vineyards certified under the new Napa Green guidelines.

For $125 per person, Sequoia Grove offers The Ultimate Wine & Food Experience: A Taste For Cabernet. This delicious Napa Valley pairing experience invites guests to sample Sequoia Grove’s single-vineyard and reserve wines paired with unexpected dishes created by host and winery chef Britny Maureze to showcase the immense versatility of the cabernet grape.

FOR BACON ENTHUSIASTS

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Courtesy of Priest Ranch Winery

Priest Ranch Winery

6490 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 944-8200

This St. Helena winery invites guests to their Yountville tasting room for what they promise to be unexpected Wine Country experiences, both when it comes to what’s in each bottle, as well as each wine tasting. Priest Ranch’s unique lineup features everything from zippy grenache blanc and sauvignon blanc to still and sparkling rosés to hearty cabernet sauvignon and red blends.

Everything’s better with bacon, and wine is no exception. Reserve the winery’s Bacon & Wine Experience and dig into four thick cuts of rich pork belly expertly paired with four wines selected to bring out the best in the bacon – a simple, but delicious wine tasting challenge.

FOR THE EVERYTHING’S BETTER WITH BUTTER CROWD

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Courtesy of Handwritten Wines

Handwritten Wines

6494 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 944-8524

Founded in 2009, Handwritten Wines compares each wine’s vintage to a person’s handwriting – no two are the same. Self-described as “A gathering point for a community of like-minded and passionate lovers of wine and the literary arts, fostering a culture of exploration and discussion,” this Yountville tasting room focuses on small-lot cabernet sauvignon sourced from vineyards in Napa Valley’s top appellations.

There are few things in life better than the simple pleasure of bread with butter. Make that a Bouchon Bakery baguette and artisan butter, throw in some white truffle potato chips, Stagberry salame, aged reserve Gouda cheese, and a lineup of five Napa Valley hillside and Mountain District cabernet sauvignons, and you have yourself a life-changing food and wine tasting. This is what guests can expect with Handwritten’s Bread and Butter Experience.

FOR A GARDEN-TO-GLASS EXPERIENCE

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Courtesy of Round Pond Estate | Kiyomi Wall

Round Pond Estate

875 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 302-2575

This premium cabernet sauvignon house in the heart of Napa Valley’s Rutherford district is run by the second generation of the founding MacDonnell family. Not only is the winery known for its meticulously crafted bottlings, Round Pond has also cultivated Spanish and Italian olive trees for the production of artisan oils using a state-of-the-art mill, as well as red wine vinegars, all of which can be tasted on site.

The Il Pranzo wine tasting is not to be missed. Start with a tour of the winery garden and olive grove and proceed to a thoughtful four-course tasting experience. Sip a selection of wines paired with courses prepared by Estate Chef Fernando Arias using seasonal ingredients from the garden you have just visited. Talk about a true garden-to-table experience.

FOR EARLY RISERS

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Courtesy of Ehlers Estate

Ehlers Estate

3222 Ehlers Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-5972

Located in the Napa Valley’s St. Helena appellation, Ehlers Estate is all about history, philanthropy, and exceptional winemaking. The winery is currently owned by the Leducq Foundation, which provides research in cardiovascular disease and stroke. Ehlers is also dedicated to organic farming for their estate vineyards from which they craft elegant and age-worthy wines from classic Bordelaise varieties.

They say early morning is the best time to taste wine, as it’s when your palate is most primed. Catch the serenity of the Napa Valley morning mist rolling off the vineyards as you experience the Start Your Day wine tasting, featuring five Ehlers Estate wines alongside a selection of decadent, freshly baked croissants.

FOR SUMMER CAMP LOVERS

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Courtesy of Facebook: Clos Pegase

Clos Pegase

1060 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 942-4981

A powerhouse Napa Valley winery that produces wines exclusively from its 450 acres of estate vineyards located in many of Napa’s premier growing regions, Clos Pegase boasts a gorgeous property that features 20,000 square feet of wine caves dug into a volcanic knoll, a Cave Theater for events, and a peaceful Heritage Garden with a collection of rare, drought-tolerant plants and trees planted in a commitment to water conservation.

By no means a guided wine tasting in the traditional sense, it’s still worth booking the Cabana S’mores & More experience. Cozy up in one of Clos Pegase’s cabanas with six of your favorite people and roast marshmallows over the fire pit for some ooey gooey s’mores… paired, of course, with a selection of the winemaker’s favorites.

FOR A LITTLE EDUCATION WITH YOUR WINE

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Courtesy of Baldacci Family Vineyards

Baldacci Family Vineyards

6236 Silverado Trail, Napa CA 94558, (707) 944-9261

This family-owned, small-production winery sits in the heart of Napa Valley’s esteemed Stags Leap District, with vineyards in Calistoga and Los Carneros as well. Known for its wide range of different wine styles, Baldacci Family Vineyards offers an exciting portfolio of everything from single-vineyard cabernet sauvignon to traditional method sparkling wine, to classic chardonnay, and even sweet and spicy late-harvest gewürztraminer.

Book the Perfect Pairings Experience and learn to push the envelope on what it means to create a match made in food and wine heaven. Red wine with fish? Sure! White wine with steak? Go for it, says Baldacci Family Winery. Guests are introduced to the basics of food and wine pairing and how to create a memorable meal centered around specific wine selections. The experience culminates in a tasting of three wines paired with three unique dishes, and a detailed discussion of how each flavor component enhances the paired wines.

FOR CHOCOHOLICS

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Courtesy of Facebook: Hess Persson Estates

Hess Persson Estates

4411 Redwood Road, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 255-1144

Founded in 1978 by Donald Hess and perched high atop Mount Veeder, this well-known winery champions sustainable farming and winemaking practices, crafting exceptional wines from classic grapes like chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, zinfandel, syrah, and others. The winery is also home to a private art collection which is open to the public, as well as a selection of unique and immersive wine tasting and tour experiences.

Sweet-toothed wine lovers will want to book the indulgent, two-hour Wine & Chocolate Experience. Guests are invited to roll up their sleeves to create their very own chocolate bar with guidance from Hess’s in-house chocolatier, Chef Jason Collins, as they learn about the unique flavor profiles of each ingredient. The experience culminates in an immersive wine and chocolate tasting featuring truffles created by Chef Jason to pair with each wine.


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Author

Devin Parr

Devin Parr is a San Diego-based freelance writer and consultant specializing in wine, travel and lifestyle. In addition to covering the global wine industry, she is the resident expert in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, serving as the region’s ambassador on behalf of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association. She holds a certification in wine expertise from the Apicius International School of Hospitality in Florence, Italy, as well as the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma. In 2017, she was named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine's Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers. Follow her adventures at @thesocalwinegal and www.devinparr.com.

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