Our Napa Valley wine tasting tour itinerary left some room for happy discoveries. Even in May, you had to make reservations for tastings, so spontaneity had to be tempered with some pre-planning. Andy fell in love with the Schweiger wine reviews and the fact that it was a family-owned and operated winery set up on Spring Mountain in St Helena. It was a long shot, but the word-of-mouth about the wines was so good that we had to take a chance that they could get us in on one of our remaining days in the area. And luck was on our side!
Visiting Schweiger Vineyards & Winery
Of course, while luck was on our side in getting a last-minute reservation at Schweiger Vineyards & Winery, the weather definitely wasn’t. As we drove up Spring Mountain, the rain started coming down. So, the dream of the idyllic outdoor wine tasting had to be quickly reassessed (and the grounds were still gorgeous, even as the storm kicked up).
On the one hand, Andy and I had just been boosted the month before the trip, so we felt as protected as we could be for an indoor tasting. On the other hand, I’m immunosuppressed, so being around people inside without masks was the riskiest move I had made. But we decided to go for it. In the end, it was just us, the wine educator, and a small group of people (including one of the owners’ family members). They kept us well-separated on opposite ends of the airy tasting room, and after a bit, I was able to relax, remove the mask, and hope for the best (in the end, we were all fine).
Speaking of family, Schweiger is truly independent and family-owned. We loved that it was a multi-generational winery and that you might see Fred or Sally Schweiger in the tasting room at any time – and they have been working on that land since the 1960s. As it was, we did see their grandson, who was with the other party braving the rain and enjoying the exceptional wine. It’s a warm, welcoming place, and we’d love to go back when we could enjoy touring the grounds, as well.
Our Schweiger Tasting Menu
We began our wine tasting with a 2019 Chardonnay, Estate. Now, you know that I’m not a big Chardonnay fan, but I appreciated the balance of this wine. I got some acidity, and the French Oak wasn’t overwhelming, so you didn’t get that big hit of butter that so many California Chardonnay wines (particularly in Napa Valley) had as signatures. Andy loved the white peach and apple notes he got from the wine. If you know us, don’t be surprised if you see this one pop up one day soon.
Our next taste was of the 2018 Cabernet Franc, Estate. I’m finding myself enjoying Cab Francs more and more, so it didn’t surprise me that I was delighted by the blackberry and plum notes that I got from this wine. Andy swears he got cherry and chocolate, as well. I can definitely see this pairing well with a variety of meats and cheeses. When we return (and we will), we’ll be trying this one again. And I hear that the 2013 vintage of this wine has aged incredibly well (although tricky to find!).
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate also grabbed our attention. The color is so dark that we couldn’t help but keep doing the white paper test we learned in wine club. This is a complex wine. For us, blackberry, chocolate, and tobacco were the dominant notes on the palate. Andy got barnyard on the nose, but he is far more sensitive to that than I am, so I’m not surprised I didn’t. I was thrilled to find the wine to be velvety smooth – far more so than I thought it would be given the color. It would be tough to decide between drinking this one right away and holding it for a couple of more years. In fact, I’m almost certain we’d be drinking it right away because I’ve met us.
It should come as no surprise that the 2015 Dedication, Estate was my favorite wine. The winemaker lists the breakdown as 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, and %4 Malbec. This is a smooth wine with an intoxicating blend of dark fruit on the nose and the palate. Both Andy and I got an earthiness that was perfect. It was a limited production wine because of challenging conditions that year, which means it is somewhat harder to find and a bit more expensive, but it is worth the search. Also, you can find the 2016 Dedication, Estate on the winery’s website.
Although the tasting ended with the Dedication, our excellent wine educator gave us an extra pour. I got a bit more of the Cabernet Franc, and Andy got a chance to taste the 2018 Napuro. The Napuro is a dessert wine described as a “White Port-style wine Napuro, white peach, freshly sliced Honeycrisp apple, Asian pear, and honeycomb swirl on the nose, like walking through a wild orchard in summer.” And Andy fell in love with this one. In fact, he also bought a second bottle to share with friends because he knew they would appreciate the taste and love trying a White Port-style wine.
Do You Need a Reservation for a Wine Tasting at Schweiger Vineyards & Winery?
Yes. All the Spring Mountain wineries had changed over to reservation systems. This allows them to be staffed appropriately to give you the attention you will want when tasting these fantastic wines. This was true for all of the wineries in our Napa Valley wine tasting tour.
Does Schweiger Have Outdoor Wine Tastings?
They do. We saw lovely tasting patios all around the property. Alas, we got caught in a rainstorm and couldn’t take advantage of them. But if the weather is on your side, I highly recommend sipping wine while overlooking the lush acreage. We certainly plan on taking advantage of the grounds during our next stop.
How Long Does the Wine Tasting Last?
The Estate Tasting Experience is scheduled for about 75 minutes. We were there a bit longer because we wanted to ask questions, and we got a chance to savor (or re-savor) additional wines. If you book the All-Terrain Vineyard Experience (which we would love to do next time, assuming we don’t get rained out again), it runs about 2 ½ hours.
How Much Does a Schweiger wine tasting cost?
The Estate Tasting Experience costs about $50 per person unless you are a Club member. That’s wonderfully reasonable, given the quality of wines you are tasting. It was also one of the least expensive stops on our Napa Valley wine tasting tour.
Can You Bring Pets to Schweiger?
Yes! In fact, you are likely to see the family’s adorable dog at the tastings. Their only rule is to keep your pooch on a leash during your visit.
Where is Schweiger Vineyards & Winery?
Schweiger is located at 4015 Spring Mountain Rd, St Helena, CA, 94574. Enjoy!
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