Though Silverado Trail boasts some marquee vintners, such as Mumm Napa and Stags' Leap, on my recent trip my companion and I chose to split a tasting at each of three smaller wineries that grow all or some of their grapes.
Starting near the trail's northern end, we pulled into Dutch Henry Winery and parked near a cluster of weathered wooden picnic tables, a bocce court, and a very large cat lolling in the sun. With its rural vibe, Dutch Henry feels like a pleasant throwback to the days before high-design tasting rooms became the Napa norm. Grateful Dead music played inside the workaday winery building, where we were the only visitors.
We chatted with the host, John, during our $25 tasting of four current releases, which included a powerful 2010 estate reserve cabernet sauvignon and a silky 2011 blend of syrah, grenache, and merlot named "Three Redheads," after the winemaker's kids. John apologized for not having a sample of the winery's estate-produced extra virgin olive oil, which was sold out.