Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Viansa Winery, November 12, 2012

Winery - 8 / Wines - 4
Range:  1 to 9 (9 is best, 5 is average)
At the entrance to Carneros from SF, nice deli, great views, broad selection of wines.

The middle of November is probably the best time to catch the autumn colors in Napa Valley.  Since my mom relocated to California when I was born, she has always longed for the New England color palette that she left behind.  So, I try to make an annual pilgrimage to Carneros and Napa Valley before all of the vines drop their leaves.  I had to start late, so by the time we arrived in Carneros we were hungry for a tasty lunch.  Viansa Winery is the ideal place to stop along the way as they are basically the second winery on the route from San Francisco and they offer a deluxe deli counter inside the winery.  The fact that you can pair a glass of wine with your lunch isn’t such a bad thing either.

The entrance to Viansa Winery from the parking lot.
The folks at Viansa put a lot of thought into the winery facility, giving it a definite European flair with some old-world influences.  The courtyard that greets you as you approach from the parking lot is richly landscaped and features piped-in music.  You have to climb a flight of stairs to get to the dining patio and tasting room entrance, but it is worth it.  The view from the patio overlooks the southern Carneros area with visibility for miles.  Just off to the left is Cline Cellars, and off to the right in the distance are the rolling hills where the best of the Carneros colors can be found along Route 121.   

The view from Viansa Winery looking toward downtown Sonoma
Inside, the old-world theme is carried out with great detail, especially around the windows.  On each end of the tasting room are wine racks full of the winery’s production, while in the middle is a deli counter where you can select from a number of well-crafted snacks and lunches.  When ordering your lunch, you will have the option to pair it with a glass of their wine.  In good weather, take your wine outside to the patio and enjoy the fresh air and panoramic view.

The deli counter inside Viansa Winery
Because we bought our lunch with a special Black VISA Signature card, we were entitled to two free tasting flights.  We were a little pressed for time, so we opted for just a quick flight to check out their wines.  My mom enjoys good Chianti, so I picked a Sangiovese for her to try while I tried their Zinfandel.  Neither wine was particularly interesting, made in a style that pairs better with food than drinks well alone.  We decided not to pursue any other wines this time and continued on our way to Napa Valley … time was running short for our trip.
Based on this experience, I would rate the winery as an 8 and the wines offered as a 4.  This is consistent with my previous visit.

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