Luna Vineyards is one of the first wineries that you will come to as you leave Napa and head up the Silverado Trail, one of the two main roads running through the Napa Valley. The winery is beautiful, a recreated Tuscan villa surround by acres of vines growing primarily pinot gris grapes. Here, they specialize in Italian varietals and you’ll find wines like Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese on their wine list. This vineyard was founded in 1995 by George Vare and Mike Moone, wine industry veterans who saw a niche for some of these Italian-style wines in Napa. The vineyard’s name, Luna, is “moon” in Italian (it was inspired by founder Moone’s last name).
I started my tasting with some of Luna’s most widely recognized wines, their Pinot Grigio and their Lunatic Red and White wine blends, all of which were extremely enjoyable. The wines that were a little more exciting were some of those that are only available at the winery (or in very limited distribution) because they’re made in very small batches. All of their reds had really complex, spicy flavors to them and smooth finishes. Their Howell Mountain Merlot and their Canto were both favorites for me on this trip.
The winery has a great look to it, and the tasting room inside is extremely welcoming, so that you feel you’re at a friend’s house – although I have to admit that furniture is a lot more upscale than my friends or I have in our homes! If you’re going to stop by, like I did on my #weekwithILX road trip, be sure to visit the villa’s tower, which is accessible through the main bar area. The tower is a beautiful spot to have a snack and look out over the vineyards from a vantage point about three stories up. Unfortunately, it was raining during my visit, so the view wasn’t quite as spectacular as it would be on a clear day.
Since I have a sweet tooth, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Luna’s dessert wine, Mille Baci, a Late Harvest Pinot Grigio, really appealed to me during the tasting. I literally bought the last bottle of their 2005 Late Harvest Pinot Grigio when I left, and plan on pairing it with some spice cake and gingerbread cookies later this month. You’ll have to wait until next year to get some of the next batch.