If I asked the wine-loving twitterverse to mention the first winery that comes to mind in Napa Valley, many would probably say St. Supéry.
The reason for this is because Rick Bakas, Social Media Director for St. Supéry, has done a tremendous job not only in managing their brand throughout social media, but in truly engaging wine lovers to talk and share their passion for wine.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to better appreciate wine when I hear people’s experiences, when winemakers tell me their stories, when I learn something new about a particular wine, when I am among friends simply enjoying life with a good glass of wine…
Well, I had a similar feeling when I visited St. Supéry in Napa Valley; their staff was so welcoming, friendly, and knowledgeable about the wine that I couldn’t wait to taste it.
To start, you don’t go directly to the tasting room. Well, you can… but I highly recommend first taking a self-guided tour of their exhibits where you can learn the process of wine making.
One of the coolest displays in the exhibit is their SmellaVision (see photo), where you can sniff and learn to distinguish the aromas from the different varietals. There’s a display for Cabernet Sauvignon and one for Sauvignon Blanc.
After this, visit the tasting room and test your nose on real wine.
St. Supéry Tasting Room
St. Supéry’s tasting room is elegant, comfortable, and their staff is great. Joe is one of the most experienced staff at St. Supéry and I must say I learned a lot about wines during our tasting.
The selection of both white and red wines in St. Supéry is extensive and you can see all the descriptions on their website. But I want to point out two wines that I loved and which I think are of great value.
I simply love this 100% Semillon wine. It is unique, rich, and elegant. The oaky aromas blend well with the nice notes of citrus and peaches. The finish is pleasant with balanced acidity and a velvety texture.
Ah, the Semillon is so refreshing that it makes for a perfect summer wine.
An interesting thing Joe noted is that it’s a white wine that drinks like a red wine. I know, it got you thinking.
2005 Petit Verdot
St. Supéry’s Petit Verdot is an outstanding wine. With a deep purple color and round tannins, the wine is powerful without being overpowering.
The hints of blackberry and cedar on the nose actually reminded me of the SmellaVision exhibit. It has fine notes of toasty oak and plum on the palate with a nice long finish.
Petit Verdot is best paired with red meats and aged cheeses.
So there you have it! If you are visiting Napa make sure you stop by St. Supéry. Not only will you have the opportunity to taste great wines, but you’ll have a memorable experience.
And if you are looking for a great place to stay, check the Napa Marriott.
The Hotel: Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa
The Location: When we’re visiting wine country, we want to stay somewhere boasting location, location, location.
Located in close proximity to downtown Napa (by car) and a skip away from Highway 29, the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa is nestled at the southern end of the valley. Hwy 29, by the way, is main road running through Napa Valley wine country.
A trip to the wineries is quick and easy; simply hop on the highway and drive north. Within minutes, you’ll be awe-struck as you drive past never-ending vineyards, many of which you’ll recognize (Robert Mondavi or St. Supéry, anyone?)!
We found the Napa Marriott Hotel to be a great place to unwind after an arduous day tasting so many wonderful wines.
California casual and very laid-back means there was nothing pretentious or snobby about the hotel.
It was each to his/her own as couples and families alike quietly relaxed beneath the shady porches as they dissected their day.
Some even connected with other guests to pass along handy Napa wine tasting tips.
There’s a $7 million renovation happening as the Napa Marriott brings their 247 rooms up-to-date.
We stayed in the renovated part of the hotel which was elegantly modern and very comfortable.
Our spacious junior suite was a fabulous break from the real world… as if just being in Napa wasn’t already enough.
The suite is comprised of a bathroom (with 2 doors), bedroom, living room area, and a wet bar/kitchenette that has a fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, and sink.
Let’s not forget to mention ample storage space with two large closets… I like to think of it somewhere to store all that wine so it doesn’t sit in your car!
Typical of Marriott hotels, our King-sized cloud in the sky (the bed) gave me the best nights of sleep I had in weeks. The mattress was cushy and the bedding out-of-this-world.
I’ve never been inclined to actually buy what they sell in those hotel catalogs, but I’m seriously contemplating the down comforter and duvet.
Each morning I’d step into the hotel slippers, wrap myself in the plush bathrobe, brew a cup of coffee, and read the paper on the couch before making my way to the Concierge Lounge for breakfast.
Oh, the life!
If you really want to know… The bathroom was big (sorry, no Jacuzzi tub to brag about) and the Bath & Body products smelled divine.
If you need to dry your hair, you won’t find one of those sorry-excuse-for-a-hair-dryer things permanently mounted next to the sink. Instead, check in the closet and you’ll find a real hairdryer with real power and a retractable cord (oh so up-to-date!) hanging in its own black bag. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you have a lot of hair, it’ll make you a happy camper when time is precious in the morning.
Concierge Lounge: If you can upgrade to get Concierge Lounge access, it’ll be well worth the money by breakfast! Not only is the lounge a great place to relax, they also serve:
- Continental breakfast- Eggs, oatmeal, delicious fruit, and fresh squeezed orange juice are a few of the highlights.
- Wine and appetizers- If you don’t get enough wine visiting the vineyards, they serve wines (from Beaulieu Vineyards when we visited) along with cheeses and a different featured dish each night (one night it was pasta with a chicken marinara sauce).
- Dessert- Stop by before you go to bed for some sweets (chocolate cake both nights during our stay), fresh strawberries, popcorn, or pretzels.
- Always available- Bottled water, sodas, Starbucks coffee, and Tazo tea.
There’s also a pool area, fitness center, and the world-class Spa at Napa Valley Marriott. Check out our video for more…
With over 400 wineries in Napa Valley, a visit to the region can overwhelm even the most distinguished wine drinkers!
Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your Napa wine tasting experience:
Start your trip at the Napa Visitor Information Center.
If you don’t know which questions to ask, they do. You’ll leave with brochures, wine tasting coupons (a huge bonus!), and well-highlighted maps to get you started on your Napa wine tasting adventure.
At the very least, know which type of vineyards you want to visit.
With limited tasting time in Napa, nobody wants to spend their time at all the wrong wineries!
It’s okay to share tastings.
Not everyone wants to have their very own! Sometimes it’s nice to share a tasting and be able to check out that extra winery rather than overindulge at one or two. Less is more, right?