Many wineries are particularly well known for one or two varietals. If you’re a fan of a particular type of wine, it’s worth planning a trip to the wineries—and regions—that specialize in it.
Cabernet sauvignon is the king of California wines, and the Napa and Sonoma Valleys are where some of the best Californian cabs are made.
- Shafer Vineyards, where you might be lucky enough to taste its Hillside Select cabernet.
- Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, home to the vineyards that beat the best in the world in the famous Paris tasting of 1976.
- Beaulieu Vineyard, where bold cabernets are laced with the distinct flavor of “Rutherford dust”.
- Inglenook, one of the best shows in the valley, courtesy of owner and filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.
- Pride Mountain Vineyards, with panoramic views of both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
- Silver Oak, where you can compare the Napa and Alexander vintages.
Pleasures of Pinot
The cooler parts of Northern California, particularly Sonoma, are home to arguably the best pinot noirs and pinot-based sparkling wines.
- Domaine Carneros, its flagship Avant Garde pinot noir is a Carneros classic.
- Landmark Vineyards, the highly regarded Kastania and Grand Detour pinot noirs are sourced from coastal vineyards.
- Siduri Wines, taste cult-favorite pinots from major growing regions on the West Coast.
- Dutton-Goldfield Winery, one of the valley’s best pinot vineyards.
- Hartford Family Winery, sample some highly praised vineyard-designate Russian River pinots.
- J Vineyards & Winery, finely balanced pinots are paired with an inventive tasting menu.