Napa Valley is an environment committed to preservation, populated with those who perfect the essence of multi-layered taste -- be it food, wine or both.
French Laundry and Bouchon are in Yountville, also known as nirvana for Thomas Keller pilgrims. Exceptional wineries are tucked away, often from highway view, in Rutherford, Saint Helena, Oakville, and Calistoga. Resorts are also hidden: The Inn at Carneros (up a side road, behind a garden wall), Calistoga Ranch (in a private canyon), Meadowood (at the end of Meadowood Lane and near the base of Howell Mountain) all removed from plain sight, all worthy of joyous discovery.
Those who retreat to Napa that often engage in wine tastings also discover trends. On a recent journey, I uncovered the emergence of late harvest wines that are becoming increasingly well-known and more appreciated than ever before. Swanson Vineyards makes three exceptional late harvest wines, and has evolved into one of the leaders in this field.