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CHAPTER 1

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THE BEST OF THE WINE COUNTRY

integrates an impressive modern art collection—including a sculpture garden—with a state-of-the-art winemaking facility that features 20,000 square feet of aging caves. See p. 71.

  • Domaine Chandon (Yountville): Founded by Moët et Chan- don, the valley’s most renowned sparkling winery combines the grandeur of a world-class French champagne house with a hip, fresh, and extremely festive tasting experience. Strolling with a glass of bubbly in hand through this estate’s beautifully mani- cured rose gardens—complete with pond and sculpture—is a quintessential Wine Country experience, while boogying the night away adds another dimension to this Napa stalwart. If you just can’t bear to leave between the time the sun sets and the DJ begins, no worries. Just pull up a chair in their fancy French dining room or in the more casual salon or patio and relish the pastoral splendor. See p. 56.

  • The Hess Collection (Napa): Half the fun is winding your way to this beautiful and secluded hillside winery, which is as much about contemporary art as it is about fermented grape juice. Spectacular gallery spaces show off their stunning collection and the gift shop is one of the most tasteful in the valley. It’s a gorgeous place. See p. 54.

  • Joseph Phelps Vineyards (St. Helena): Intimate, comprehen- sive tours and knockout tastings make this one of my favorite wineries to visit. An air of seriousness hangs heavier than har- vest grapes when you first arrive, but the mood lightens as your knowledgeable guide explains the ins and outs of winemaking and you begin to taste five to six varietals. These range from sauvignon blanc to what’s bound to be terrific cabernet. (Wine Spectator regularly awards Phelps’s cabernets and blended reds with scores in the high 90s, and aficionados have been known to come close to brawling over bottles of the coveted Insignia cabernet.) Don’t forget to reserve ahead; tours and tastings are by appointment only. See p. 67.

  • Quixote (Napa): A tour of some of the most incredible and unusual architecture and rich, juicy petit syrah is free with the price of an intimate tasting at this exclusive winery that recently opened to the public. See p. 55.

  • Schramsberg (Calistoga): Old hand-carved caves complete with cobwebs, echoes, and loads of ambience; a comprehensive walk through sparkling wine production; and a grand finale

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