With the rainy season nearly behind us, sun-seekers are shaking off their umbrellas and beginning their tasting quest through Wine Country in earnest. Particularly the twenty-somethings, the offspring of the Baby Boomers, who are drawn to the wine culture in Napa and Sonoma. This tasting room tour — an occasional series – is tailored to them because they’re especially fond pairing wine with adventure.
1) Best Movie Memorabilia: Rosso & Bianco, Geyserville
Francis Ford Coppola, the director of “The Godfather” movies bought the winery site from Chateau Souverain in 2006, making it a family-friendly retreat and backdrop for his movie memorabilia – props, Oscars and Golden Globes. There’s the gold phone from the “The Godfather, Part II,” the hat and boots worn by Robert Duvall in “Apocalypse Now” and a platinum record of the “American Graffiti” soundtrack. (The tasting room is at 300 Via Archimedes (formerly Souverain Road), 857-1462, www.rossobianco.com.)
2) Best Castle: Castello Di Amorosa, St. Helena
This medieval-style fortress has107 rooms on eight levels, featuring towers, turrets, a moat and even a dungeon. Daryl Sattui, who also owns tourist-friendly V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, spent 14 years and $30 million building this 121,000-square-foot castle. A popular tourist destination, it is also a working winery, producing a broad range of wines to explore. (4045 St. Helena Highway N. 967-6272, www.castellodiamorosa.com.)
3) Best perch: Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga
There’s a touch of Disneyland as you board an aerial tramway to the winery, a Mediterranean-looking citadel on a 300-foot knoll. During the three-minute ride you spy a sprawl of vineyards on a hillside, a holding pond and a fountain below. The feeling is slightly indulgent and the views are among the best in the valley As for tasting, Sterling makes a strong showing of several varietals, but its best is typically the reserve cabernet. (1111 Dunaweal Lane, 942-3345, www.sterlingvineyards.com.)
Any tasting room adventures you’d like to chronicle?
For those who plan explore this weekend, twitter amongst yourselves and report back.