Maybe it’s our recently published  Napa Weekend Getaway Guide  or maybe it’s the westerly summer wind, but lately something has us California dreaming ‘round the clock. If you’re as thirsty as we are to explore America’s wine country one tasting room at a time, here’s a little head start that will transport you to the heart of Napa—no airfare or AirBnB required. Try these four wines from some of the region’s best vineyards, and you’ll be in a Napa state of mind before you know it. Think of them as a boarding pass in a glass.

  1. Swanson Merlot

Swanson has been crafting tiny batch wines made from intriguing varietals since 1985. But while the batches are small, the tastes they hold are mighty. Their intensely flavored, expressive Napa Valley Merlot pours on bold fruit flavors and a long, smooth finish that will pair beautifully with home-cooked meals on the savory side. It might even have you saying nom before your first glass is finished.

Tastes a little like: Spice, Plum, Cocoa, Cherry

Pairs well with: Sushi, Chili, Goat Cheese, Steak

Try it if you like: Pretending you don’t secretly say ‘nom.’


  1. Girard Artistry Red Blend

This Bordeaux-style red blend from Girard Winery is velvety soft, and as complexly elegant as an Impressionist masterpiece. The balance of dark chocolate, spicy, and fruity notes makes it play equally well with classic family-style comfort food as it does with savory fancy-ish party dishes. Any way you serve this artful blend, it’s a feast for the palate.   

Tastes a little like: Dark Chocolate, Blackberry, Leather, Baking Spices

Pairs well with: Grilled Steak Tips, Pasta w/ Marinara & Meatballs, Baked Salmon

Try it if you like: Fine art and/or coloring books for grownups


Clos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon:

This smooth yet complex Cab Sauv boasts a deep purple hue and a heady mix of dark fruit notes. Which is another way of saying it’s every bit as epic and dreamy as the mythical flying horse it sports on its label. Hints of ripe black cherries, plums, and blackberries mingle with violets, graphite, black licorice and wild sage for a brooding, exotic, and nearly-religious experience. Hallelujah.

Tastes a little like: Blackberry, Vanilla, Licorice, Cedar

Pairs well with: Beef Stew with Root Veggies, Grilled NY Sirloin, Sharp Cheddar & Bleu Cheese, Pepperoni Pizza

Try it if you like: Stormy nights and Game of Thrones re-runs.


Cosentino THE Franc:

This Cabernet Franc is a dark and silky wonder that smells as good as it tastes. Breathe in the sweet and spicy notes of fresh herbs and cloves, and enjoy the intense flavors of fruit with hints of black pepper on the palate. Serve it with everything from formal dinners to snackier occasions, it will stand up to the most savory recipes in your repertoire.

Tastes a little like: Raspberry Jam, Blackberry, Plum, Herbal essences

Pairs well with: Roasted Turkey, Hamburger Sliders, Baked Swordfish, Brie.

Try it if you like: Autumn and Classic Literature