In this episode, we talk about our visit to Sterling Vineyards in Napa Valley. Sterling Vineyards was founded in 1964 by Peter Newton, an Oxford Scholar, paper tycoon and London Financial Times writer from England.
Sterling Vineyards sits atop of a mountain overlooking a valley in Calistoga. They have aerial tram which is the only one of its kind in Napa Valley, offering amazing views as visitors on your way up to the winery. When designing the winery, the planners needed a way to transport visitors and staff to the hilltop winery with minimal impact on the hill, and decided on the tram.
Once we got up the mountain and into the winery we enjoyed the Platinum Experience. This included a one hour food and wine education tasting. We had a flight of four of their small production reserve wines, one Chardonnay and three Cabernet Sauvignon wines, each paired with an amuse-bouches. The thought behind this experience is that food pairings help keep the wine flavors on your plate longer and change how you perceive the texture of the wine.
We enjoyed all of the food and wine pairings but the one that really blew us away was the Chardonnay pairing. Their 2014 Reserve Chardonnay was paired with house made ricotta cheese with agrumato olive oil and lemon zest. Chewing the wine with the food really changed the flavor of the wine and brought out the fruit of the chardonnay. It’s definitely a pairing that we are going to recreate in the future. This experience is not cheap and will set you back $95 per person.
If you re not able to spring for the Platinum Experience, the General Admission experience was also wonderful. The $35 fee includes a ride on the aerial tram and self-guided tour of the lower portion of the winery. During the tour there are different stopping points where someone pours you wine, which is awesome, and you learn about each stage of the wine making process. You can also enjoy the view of the valley from their patio area.
Something that you don’t normally get at Sterling is time with their Director of wine making, Harry Hansen. Tony was able to capture Harry talking about a newly release wine from Sterling called Iridium as well as his philosophy around wine making. So in this episode, we play some of that conversation.
Overall, no matter what experience you choose, I believe Sterling Vineyards is worth a visit the next time you visit Napa Valley.
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