A visit to Artesa Vineyards & Winery

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From its unique building design, to its spectacular 360-degree views, extensive pairings and excellent wines, Artesa Vineyards & Winery should be on your list for a special day out in wine country.  This really is a wow-factor winery, from the building design, to the incredible views from the hilltop – you can even see the San Francisco Bay on a clear day.

Artesa is located in Napa Valley’s Carneros region and is owned by the largest producer of Cava in Spain, Codorníu.  The tasting room is large, bright and airy and there are plenty of seating areas in the interior courtyard as well as three tasting counters. The outside patio seems to be the best place for tastings though.  On my visit it was mobbed with people taking in the sun, views and sipping on wines and cheeses.

What I loved most about Artesa is that with a chef on site they take food pairings to the next level. Their most popular pairing is the Spanish Tapas and Wine Pairing.  Another favorite is the Vino con Queso, a pairing of six wines and cheeses. Ingredients for the pairings are procured from local artisan producers and chefs.  Chocolate lovers can get their fix in the Chocolate Indulgence pairing that features their signature red wines and single origin chocolates. Each pairing starts with a flute of Sparkling wine and includes an attentive wine educator who will explain the wines, pairings, and stop by every now and then to check on you.

For a quick snack, Artesa also offers a cheese plate plentiful enough to share for $20.  This includes three different cheeses, nuts, crackers and dried fruit.

For those that are looking for a behind the scenes tour, Artesa also offers tours of the winery twice daily.  The wow-factor for me was the barrel room.  Not only is the room extensive, but the Gregorian chant you’ll hear echoing around the cool cellars transforms it into a serene and mesmerizing experience.  The Spanish believe the music shows respect for the wines and that the vibrations help age the wines gracefully.  Tours are $20 per person and include a tasting of four wines.

You’ll only see Artesa Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in stores and restaurants so a visit to the tasting room is a great opportunity to try all Artesa wines including their Albariño, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc and traditional method sparkling wine.  You’ll also want to spend time visiting the gift shop, with its wide variety of books and unique gifts to choose from, you’ll be sure to find some special local souvenirs to take home.  Even if you spend an hour or half a day at Artesa, this is sure to become one of your favorites.

Expert tips:

  • For a special day out or celebration plan ahead and book a food and wine pairing.  The winery also does a cheese plate to share. Sit outside on the patio and take in the incredible views.
  • Do the tour to get a look inside the barrel room and listen for the Gregorian chant.

WineryCritic Ratings

9/10 Overall visitor experience

9/10 Knowledge of guide

8/10 Location

10/10 Architecture and design, landscaping

10/10 Other experiences: Tour, several pairings

9/10 Knowledge of tasting room staff

9/10 Friendliness of staff

9/10 Signage & ease of access

9/10 Quality of the wines poured

Appointment required:  Reservations are encouraged.

Address:  Artesa Vineyards & Winery, 1345 Henry Road, Napa, CA 94559

707-224-1668

www.artesawinery.com

Tasting fees & experiences:

Tasting hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Last pour 4:30 p.m.

  • $15 per person – Classic tasting
  • $20 per person – Reserve tasting
  • $30 per person – Guided winery tour & tasting of five wines and sparkling wine on arrival (11am and 2pm daily)
  • $45 per person – Estate Reserve Experience (reservations required)
  • $45 per person – Wines & Vines Vineyard Tour (10:30am on Saturday & Sundays from June – Oct, reservations required)
  • $50 per person – Chocolate Indulgence (daily at 1:30pm, reservations required)
  • $55 per person – The Ultimate Tasting (Saturday & Sunday at 2:30pm)
  • $60 per person – Vino con Queso – Wine & Cheese Pairing (daily at 11:30am, reservations required)
  • $60 per person – Tapas & Wine Pairing (Daily at 1:30pm, reservations required)
  • $60 per person – International Tapas & Wine Pairing (daily at 2:30pm, reservations required)
  • $80 per person – Food & Wine Pairing (Friday through Sunday at 12:30pm, reservations required)

Good for:  Foodies, architectural lovers

Wines produced: Sparkling wine, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Albariño, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Meritage.

What’s nearby: Michael Mondavi Family Winery, Domaine Carneros

District/Appellation: Carneros, Napa Valley

Contact for appointments:  To book your reservation online, please use the Vino Visit link here.

Date of visit: January 26, 2014

E-mail: mindy@winerycritic.com