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A Winemaking Stroll Down Bennett Lane

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By Robert P. Farmer

bennettLaneWinery3.jpgAlthough it was the birthplace of Wine Country as we know it today, Calistoga is often overlooked among the visiting public. Or, more accurately, it's not overlooked so much as it is not quite reached. Snuggled into the northernmost region of the Napa Valley, Calistoga frequently proves just a bit too far up along the lengthy, easily sidetracked winery trail of the Valley. Too bad. Because some of Napa's true gems await the tenacious traveler with the stamina - or planning foresight - to alight upon Calistoga.

One such gem is Bennett Lane, situated near the edge of the Mayacamas Mountains. Bennett Lane is not one of the household names associated with Napa Valley, but the still-young winery has quickly garnered a reputation as serious producer - earning especially high recognition for its cabernet sauvignon and for its tasty everyday varietal appropriately called Maximus. The vision of owners Randy and Lisa Lynch, Bennett Lane typifies the potential for high-caliber cab grown in the northern stretches of the valley - where warm summer sun and volcanic soil give the fruit a compelling intensity. Bennett Lane's winemaker, Grant Hermann, grew up in the area and learned at an early age the importance of sourcing local fruit and attention to detail when aiming for the sort of quality that he has achieved at Bennett Lane. His efforts have not gone unnoticed. In less than half a decade, more than a dozen Bennett Lane wines have earned 90-point scores from Wine Spectator, and the publication has twice given the Maximus Vintage its "outstanding value" recognition.

At the Calistoga Wine Stop

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calistogaWineStop.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - At Calistoga Wine Stop, you aren't just another wine taster among a sea of others. Here, you receive personalized wine service and recommendations. Need a wine pairing suggestion for dinner tonight? Want a wine for everyday consumption? Not sure what wine to get for a special occasion? Whatever your wine needs - Calistoga Wine Shop has you covered!

The Pelter family has owned this shop for over 20 years; they have worked in the wine industry and have a wealth of knowledge to share with you. Through personal relationships, Tom and Tammy Pelter have sought out wines you most likely could not book a tasting with at the winery,  let alone find on grocery store shelves. These hand-selected wines from Napa and Sonoma producers off the beaten path with limited production are something special.

Wine Tasting in Calistoga, CA

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All "four" one and one "four" all. We've got four winery recommendation stops for your wine tasting itinerary in Calistoga! All boast gorgeous views and grounds, some really good wines, and will make for one memorable visit to Napa Valley Wine Country.

bennettLaneWinery2.jpgBennett Lane Winery
If you haven't heard of or tried Maximus, here's your chance to. Bennett Lane made a splash on the wine scene a few years back with this varietal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Not only does it taste great, it's priced at only $35 a bottle - quite a steal! Stop by their tasting room for a taste and glimpse into the world of wine-making. Tasting fees are only $10 per person.  Bennett Lane also offers offer a more hands-on experience with their "Varietals Fruit Flavor" program where one you learn will learn in more depth the wine-making process, an aromatics lesson, and a custom blending session. See the site for more details.

castelloDiAmorosa.jpgCastello di Amorosa
It's become one of the most popular attractions in the valley. One is sure to fall in love with this 13th century Tuscan style castle with the "romance of Italy and the wines of Napa". Guests and visitors agree - a tour is not to be missed. They include a tour led by a Castle guide, a barrel tasting, and complimentary tasting of current releases and range from $31 - $41/per person. Tastings alone range from $16 to $26 per person. Advance reservations are highly encouraged as the winery can get quite crowded throughout the day. And who wouldn't want to attend a party, gala, or other festivities at such an amazing winery. Be sure to check out their calendar for events held year round.

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