Chiles Valley is an area in the Vaca Mountains above the Napa Valley. Here, three wineries have established the Chiles Valley Wine association. We recently visited these three hidden wineries, each one very different from the other. We began our trek with a visit to the Catacula Lake Winery, the largest and newest of the three wineries. To get to this area, one must travel up Highway 128 from the Silverado Trail to Chiles Pope Valley Road. We took this road to the left and traveled four miles to the entrance of Catacula Lake Winery.
Catacula Lake Winery opened in 2001. The building is very big with an almost unbelievably sized tasting room. It is very spacious and can accommodate a busload of visitors. That’s very optimistic given the backcountry location of this winery. We spent a good 75 minutes at the winery and did not see another visitor during that time stretch. It is a beautiful and quiet setting in these mountains with a view of Catacula Lake located just below the winery’s picnic area. This is the perfect spot for anyone who wants to get away from the crowds for wine tasting and enjoy a peaceful, quiet picnic in the Napa wine country. There is also an added bonus in the reception area of the winery. The walls contain attractive murals of historical events in California.
For a $5 tasting fee we tasted four wines. The prices of the Catacula Lake wines are reasonable. We enjoyed the current release of the Estate Cabernet priced at $22 and the Estate Old Vine Zinfandel priced at $24. We thought both wines were very good wine values. Even a better value, was a 2001 Estate Zinfandel on sale for a case price of $144. The Sauvignon Blanc is the only white they produce and we thought it was just an average tasting wine.
The Good: Beautiful setting, perfect spot for a picnic, red wines that are good tasting and reasonably priced for the Napa Valley.
The Bad: Out of the way drive from the Napa Valley.