I had a chance to visit one of my favorite "Anti-Napa-Snobbery"* wineries, Hopper Creek south of Yountville on Friday. I love creative, fancy architecture and all that, but these hidden rustic, low key wineries to me are more fun. They are less "professional" in some ways, but very enjoyable to visit.
Hopper Creek offers fantastic cabs, merlots, (and petit sirahs) from Napa and Sonoma County. There is usually a Border Collie eagerly cadging ball tosses. The tasting room manager usually has a PBR on the counter in front of him. The owner's son in law was watching a commercial fishing reality TV show (he was a fisherman for 25 years he said!). He actually gave me a bottle of 2003 cabernet made from grapes grown down the driveway by an area wild man (he looks like a viking) but never sold. It was awesome maturing cabernet!
Corison-definitely more polished than Hopper Creek, but Cathy Corison is so low key and anti-snobbery and she hires fantastic people that are genuinely pleasant and fun to talk with. The tasting room is a beautiful New Englandish barn...not pretentious in any way.
Donkey and Goat. Fantastic "natural" winery in an industrial park in Berkeley. I love the savory, tangy character of their wines.
Fields Family Winery in Lodi. So...my impression of Lodi as being nothing but Michael David "cough syrup" wines is false. There seems to be a new school. This hidden winery located in a basic metal building north of Lodi, made balanced, tangy, and quite nice wines. Loved the Syrah, and they offered a Mount Veeder Cabernet that knocked my socks off already! (Also liked the wines at Sant Jorge nearby. Not rustic at all, though
). Lodi is not as conventionally scenic as Napa or Sonoma, but given that Northern California had a massive amount of rain early this year, even the pastures of San Joaquin County looks like Ireland right now. Plus, the old bush vines are amazingly picturesque!
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach