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The Best of Napa Continues...

Visiting Napa in Style
Visiting Napa in Style

The Napa series continues with first-class wines, exceptional travel and accommodations.


When traveling to Napa, you don’t want to drink and drive, so be sure to arrange for quality transportation. It makes all the difference. Napa Tours and Transportation is the best way to travel in Napa and beyond. For over fifteen years Napa Valley Tours and Transportation has delivered excellent service.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Graham, a Napa local and President and CEO who created this company seventeen years ago with only one car. He was most gracious and after we spoke, he connected me to Mike Basayne, the head of Corporate Development. Mike arranged everything perfectly for me and confirmed my information immediately via e-mail. When I had changes to the schedule, it was no trouble and he kindly made arrangements that fit my needs. The staff at NVT is professional, polite, and caring.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with Mike Basayne to discuss the range of vehicles and services that the company provides. With ninety cars in their fleet, they are able to meet the needs of individuals and small groups. Vehicles range from a three passenger Mercedes 5550 to a five passenger Mercedes R350, to a new Cadillac XTS three passenger or sedan and the Lincoln MKT. Full complimentary Mercedes sprinters are available, and Lincoln limousines as well. NVT has luxury vans and a number of mini coaches that handle anywhere up to 37 passengers.

My experience with them was top notch. Bob Matheny was our driver. He was efficient, on time and personal. No request was too small or too big to be taken care of. We were driven to wineries, restaurants and events; each time the driver was there before the actual time and waited patiently by the car even when we dined late or spent more time than originally planned. Bob was there to be of service to our needs and made us feel very special and taken care of. They were obviously dedicated to making our trip a memorable one. My flight was out of Sonoma, and NVT drove me to not only the airport, but also to my favorite bakery in Sonoma: Costeaux’s.

Whether driving to various locations, wine tours, corporate business and special events … they are there to make your trip the best experience.

Mike Basayne shared, “The company has really grown, especially due to our strong and valued relationships with our partners for seventeen years, which we celebrated this year. We have had a very successful year and a big part of it has to do with our relationships and the big groups that come to Napa Valley. There are more and more groups that want to visit and depend on group vehicles because Napa is a destination.”

We stayed at Harvest Inn, a lovely cottage surrounded by quaint gardens and lush greenery. Our backyard was a beautiful vineyard. The patio was perfect for sipping wine and watching the sunset against the vineyard. The room was large and a perfect size for two people. The bathroom was very nice and included a shower and bathtub. The soaps and lotions were natural and especially made for Harvest Inn. You can sit and sip in front of the fireplace. The two large leather chairs and are perfect. The bed is quite comfortable and breakfast is included and served at the Harvest Wine Country Kitchen. European Continental breakfast with a nice array of breads, pastries, a hot dish, cold and hot cereals, breakfast drinks and fresh fruit and of course hot brewed coffee. I would be more than happy to stay there again. Next time I would spend more time roaming around the surroundings of the Redwood Grove Sanctuary, swim in the pool, enjoy a signature Harvest Inn spa treatment and relax as I looked upon the vineyard from my patio. Enjoy the wine tasting and culinary delights of Napa, but make sure to indulge in all that Harvest Inn offers.

Caymus wine is unforgettable. The stunning entryway to the winery is one not soon forgotten. We were greeted on the property with a class of the Caymus single vineyard Belle Glos Melomi Pinot Noir. Belle Glos is the brainchild of son Joe Wagner. I desire Belle Glos. It is an exceptional Pinot Noir and uniquely stands out within the Caymus family of wines. There are several varieties of Belle Glos, which you will experience through this article and hopefully with your own palette.

Caymus is amazing with their clients. They give them what they ask for and with that comes Conundrum, a red blend of varietals that come together harmoniously. Conundrum also has a white varietal that is pleasing. Belle Glos Melomi is fruit forward and rated number one for wine over $15.00. Belle Glos Dairyman 2011 is dark, rich, beautiful, expressive and recently released. The Pinot Noir’s pick up the area it’s grown in such as The Russian River and Sonoma area. Caymus wines are consistent from year to year. You know with Caymus you will always get a great bottle of wine. The Caymus Cabernet 2011 was smooth, luxurious and had stunning layers. It was picked ripe. In 1972 the parents and Chuck Wagner created Caymus Special Select from the best lots in the valley, and it shows.

Karen Perry, Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Caymus said “I think of a family being in Napa Valley that has for 100 years continued a legacy. The farmer’s first and it shows their products. It is a pleasure to be around that passion.”

We then sampled the Caymus 2010, which received 96 points. It was delicious, with vibrant currant and deep fruit, cedar and a tobacco essence. Caymus Special Select 2003 is at its peak. It is more developed and aged beautifully. Karen Perry said, “It is important to have a good library of wines.” The 2003 is succulent, lush and hearty. Caymus Special Select 2010 is a combination of fruit and spice with more tannin.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Joe Wagner. He said, “The consumption of Pinot Noir will surpass Cabernet in the next 10-20 years. We keep putting quality in the bottles we make. We make what we want to drink. Instilled within me is experience and tinkling until you get the style and depth that you want. We are fortunate that Caymus has a stable of wines complimenting each other, standing on their own. We produce wines, we are proud to have on a wine list. Longevity, integrity of the wine all play into quality and consistency. We sit around the table and taste the wine consumers enjoy. Tasting the environment individually and calling out the bad, upgrading the good. This place is special. When I decided to do Pinot, I started playing around with it with dad’s guidance and love for it.”

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