Master the art of wine tasting

Competitive wine tasting

Wine tasting in St. Helena, CASome people taste wine competitively. This year, the world was surprised when a Chinese team got a perfect score, identifying twelve French wines by taste alone. If you’d like to become an expert in the art of wine tasting, join a wine club and go to wine tastings. Learn to recognize the different notes in the taste of Cabernet Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs.

Wine tasting at a vineyard near St. Helena, CA

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, a 10-minute drive from St. Helena, holds tastings in its barrel caves, where visitors can sample current releases and library wines and learn about the process of making and storing the wine. One tasting fee can be waived by joining their wine club.

The 2010 Signature Vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, a deep purple wine with a slight red edge that comes from the best two barrels of the vintage, has an aroma worth a full paragraph of description. It begins with a strong cassis, with streaks of plum and red berries and highlights of crushed roses and anise. The oak adds elements of tar to the bouquet. The palate of the ’10 Signature is similar to the aroma, with the taste of black, blue and red fruits, licorice, tobacco and rosehips. This wine is a showpiece for the skill of the Anderson’s Conn Valley winemaking team. Anderson’s wines are sold online and in five locations in Napa Valley, and many other locations nationwide. Join their wine club and order some of their wines today.

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Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grow almost anywhere

Wine clubs offer Cab collections

Cabernet Sauvignon in St. Helena, CACabernet Sauvignon usually matures for up to a year and a half in barrels of high-quality oak. Napa wineries trying to create the perfect Cab draw from the best grapes of multiple rootstocks and vineyards, combining them in vats of French oak for just the right balance. An example this is the Signature Cabernet Sauvignon of Conn Valley Vineyards, which comes only from the best of the vintage. The 2011 Signature Cab is a dark purple and red wine with an aroma of berries, blue flowers, anise and minerals. It has a fruity palate of blackberries and blueberries with a hint of violets. Many wine clubs offer collections of Cabs from different parts of the U.S, so you can explore the similarities and differences between them.

Some very good Cabs near St. Helena, CA

Among the world-class wines made at Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards near St. Helena is a famous Cabernet Sauvignon. The Conn Valley Cabernet has been rated one of the top Cabernets in the world since the inaugural vintage of 1987. The fruit is more like mountain fruit than valley floor fruit. The Conn Valley Cabernet is a chef-style wine. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate describes the 2010 Cab as “an elegant, finesse-styled effort to enjoy over the next decade.” They also offer Estate and Signature Cabs, which are of particularly high quality.

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards has been owned and operated by the Anderson family since 1983. Wine club members save $25 buying the 2013 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon online. If you’re looking for a good wine to serve at a special occasion, order a bottle today

Join a wine club and visit Napa wineries

Touring Napa wineries

Napa wineries in St. Helena, CANapa Valley is a great place for a vacation. A lot of vacation packages will let you tour the Napa wineries alone, as a couple or in a small group, or you can make your own itinerary. The usual tasting fee is $10 to $20 per person per winery. Draw up your budget accordingly. Many Napa wineries have their own wine clubs. Joining them to get discounts on their wines, and to be invited to complimentary tastings and parties for yourself and your friends.

One of the best Napa wineries near St. Helena

Some of the best California wines come from Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley. The vineyard is a 40-acre estate just south of Howell Mountain, near St. Helena. Wine Merchants Gourmet includes them in one of its Middle Valley tours.

One of the more famous wines produced by Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards is the intense dark purple and red 2011 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon. Drawn exclusively from the best five barrels of the 2011 vintage, this rare wine is the child of a wet, cool year that produced low yield but high quality. The wine has an aroma of dark berries, leather, tar, spice and minerals. The palate holds the fruitiness of blueberry, with hints of violets, smoke and the finest tannins from barrels of French oak. This is a wine that will improve for decades. By ordering six bottles of Anderson’s wine per year, you can join their wine club, giving you discounts on many of their finest wines, tickets for two to their parties and a complimentary cave tasting. Buying 12 or 24 bottles will gain you more tickets and the chance to bring more guests. Join today.

Napa Valley’s wine caves

Wine caves and cave tours

Cave tours in St. Helena, CAWine caves are the perfect places to store and age barrels of wine. Well out of the sun, they’re cool but not freezing all year. They also have a relative humidity of at least 75 percent. This reduces the loss of wine through evaporation that would otherwise happen when storing a non-airtight barrel for years at a time. Winemakers have used natural caves and quarries for centuries. With the growth of the wine industry in California, winemakers couldn’t always find natural caves tours in the mountains of Napa Valley. So they made their own, hiring the same workers and explosives experts that dug the silver mines in Nevada and tunnels through the mountains to create the best places for wine storage.

Cave tours of a winery near St. Helena

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, not far from downtown St. Helena, holds tastings in its barrel caves, where current releases and library wines may be sampled and visitors can learn how they make and store the wine. One of the wines in its library is the dark red 2009 Éloge. A fine blend from an excellent growing year, the ’09 Éloge has an aroma with a core of concentrated dark fruits, with cedar, violets, toast and streaks of red currants. Its flavor is similar — deep and full-bodied with concentrated dark fruits, spice and mocha. Cave tastings are $65, but one tasting fee can be waived by joining their wine club or making a $100 purchase. Join today.

St. Helena a center of the California wine industry

The St. Helena area

St. Helena wineries in St. Helena, CA

St. Helena, “Napa Valley’s main street,” has been known for its wineries since its founding. Sixteen different American Viticulture Areas are within Napa Valley. The St. Helena AVA is in the northern part of the valley, where it gets less cool air than the southern parts. Its soil includes gravel-clay soils in the southwest and rich volcanic soils in the northeast. Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs and Merlots all come from St. Helena wineries.

A winery near St. Helena

Some of the best California wines come from Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley. Just a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Helena, Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards produces world-class wines at affordable prices. At the vineyard, you have the chance to meet the owners and wine-makers and taste excellent wine stored in a cave.

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards produces an Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 Estate Reserve might be their best ever. The growing season of this dark purple and red blend was perfect for both yield and quality. The aroma has many notes, including cloves and licorice. The palate is deeply layered with dark red fruit, spices, new leather and a rich, silky mouthfeel. There are hints of orange peel in the finish.

Anderson’s wines are sold online and in five locations in Napa Valley, and many other locations nationwide. By ordering six bottles or more per year, you can join their wine club. This will get you a discount on many of their finest wines, including a $10 discount on the ’13 Estate Reserve. Join their wine club and try a bottle today.

The process of wine becoming wine

Barrel tasting with a wine club

Barrel tastings in St. Helena, CA

Many wine clubs hold barrel tastings, where you can try partially aged wine. The fermentation itself is already complete, and was done in a vat. Then the wine was transferred to a barrel for the aging process. In the case of red wine, the wine turns browner with age. The aroma becomes less fresh, and the bitterness of phenols is replaced by a more mellow flavor. The oak of the barrels secretes vanillin into the wine, adding to its complexity.

Barrel tastings near St. Helena

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley, a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Helena, holds tastings in its barrel caves, where current releases and library wines may be sampled. Tastings are $65, but one tasting fee can be waived by joining their wine club or making a $100 purchase.

Try a recent Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a complex wine grown from numerous clonal varieties of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. An older Estate Reserve Cab, 2007, was formed by a cold and dry early and middle year, with a sudden burst of heat around Labor Day that helped the grapes produce more sugars. The result was a dark ruby red wine with an aroma of dark chocolate, roses and cigar box. Its flavor is balanced between fruit, oak and acid, with sweet tannins and hints of coffee and chocolate cake. Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards has been owned and operated by the Anderson family since 1983. Anderson’s wines are sold online and in five locations in Napa Valley, and many other locations nationwide.

Many kinds of wine grapes in Napa Valley

Napa Valley grapes

Napa Valley wines in St. Helena, CAIn a tradition well over a century old, vineyard workers are harvesting the grapes that Napa Valley wines come from. Napa Valley wines come in many varieties — red, white, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel — depending on what grapes they come from and where they were planted. Every part of the valley has a subtly different combination of sunshine, rain, mist, soil moisture and soil composition. To make a great Napa Valley wine, the vineyard tries to find the right kind of grape for each terroir.

If you’re planning to visit a winery in Napa Valley, see if it has a wine club. Joining this club will let you save money on tasting fees and the wines you buy from the club. Many wine clubs offer different selections of wines, as well as collections of wine — the highest-rated wines, or all-Napa Valley wines, or all one particular kind of wine.

Napa Valley wines from a winery near St. Helena

Some of the best California wines come from Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards in Napa Valley. Instead of a busy tasting room, the vineyard offers you the chance to meet the owners and wine-makers and taste excellent wine stored in a cave. Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards has been owned and operated by the Anderson family since 1983. Anderson’s wines are sold online and in five locations in Napa Valley, and many other locations nationwide. By ordering six bottles or more per year, you can join their wine club, giving you discounts on many of their finest wines.