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A “Must Stop” for us on every trip to Napa is Joseph Phelps Vineyards in St. Helena. Aside from having the opportunity to taste some of our favorite wines, one of the reasons we had to visit was their newly renovated tasting room.

Completed in late Spring, 2015, it offers guests great views of the valley and vineyards below. The major improvements include: newly created private tasting areas, a library and barrel room, enhanced vineyard views and a new state-of-the-art kitchen, all of which provide an unrivaled Napa Valley visitor experience. The best part of these renovations is that the building’s historic redwood exterior and outdoor tasting areas were largely unaffected by the renovation, and, in fact, we thought they were enhanced by them!

Phelps offers a variety of tasting experiences and we opted for a private tasting in the beautifully appointed Library Room. Our “Absolute Must Tries”: we began with the 2013, Freestone Vineyards Chardonnay, which is 100% estate-grown from the Sonoma Coast. Next was the 2102, Freestone Vineyards Pinot Noir, another 100% estate grown vintage from the same Sonoma Coast Vineyard.

We then had the pleasure of tasting the 2012, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon another 100% estate grown vintage aged 18 months in 40% French and American oak barrels and 60% two year old French oak barrels.

We saved the best for last, what we consider the “gold standard” of American Meritage blends…the legendary Joseph Phelps Insignia! This 2011 vintage is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petite Verdot, 4%, Malbec, 2% Merlot and 1% Cab Franc. This is another 100% estate grown wine that is aged for two years in 100% French Oak. If you have never had Insignia you are missing a real treat, we have never had a bottle that we did not absolutely love! To make plans to experience Joseph Phelps wines go to; or call (800) 707-5789.