Cab is king in the Napa Valley, and Calistoga is no exception to the royal rule. Although Calistoga is home to some unusual varietals such as charbono, Cabernet Sauvignon still reigns supreme. In fact, nearly every winery in Calistoga produces cabernet as a sole varietal or in a percentage as a blend with other varietals. With over 50 wineries in town, that’s a lot of cabernet to taste!
Valley cabs typically grow in a classic vineyard fashion — on the valley floor, but there are mountain cabs that grow in the high reaches of the Palisades, Mayacamas and Diamond Mountain regions. Estate cabs grow on vineyards owned by the wineries producing the wine, including grapes sourced from Rutherford, Oakville, Carneros, Knights Valley, Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Lake County and beyond. Throughout the Napa Valley, Cabernet Season is celebrated from October through winter, when temperatures are mild, tasting rooms are cozy and experiences personalized and intimate.
The full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon is traditionally known for its notes of coffee, licorice, vanilla and oak, with a palate of bold, jammy burst of deep berry flavors. This is a wine that pairs well with beef, lamb, and game meats, and nutty, aged cheeses and dark fruits (blackberries). It’s a year-round favorite for wine lovers who prefer a bold, big red, cabernet during cooler months and with summer burgers.
With so many options, how can one possibly choose? To start you on your way, we recommend experiencing the Winter in the Wineries Passport during Cabernet Season. The program begins the first Saturday in December and runs through the first Sunday in February each year, with a cost of just $60 per person. Once you have a Passport in-hand, you’ll receive complimentary tastings at each stop within the participating Calistoga wineries, with a bonus of discounts on lodging, spa, retail and restaurant experiences.
Outside of Passport season, if you’re visiting Calistoga during spring, summer or fall, check out the listings of Calistoga Wineries and Regional Wineries to explore on your own and discover your new favorite cabernet!