Any list of California wineries where you can enjoy art along with your Cabernet will probably feature Cliff Lede Vineyards prominently. The Stags Leap destination has a long history of pairing visual art with drinkable art in a wow-is-this-for-real setting. Lede’s a rock enthusiast, with vineyard blocks named after seminal songs.
Currently the winery has a spotlight on the art of Bernie Taupin, painter and long-time lyricist for Elton John. So, if you are in California and can’t get enough of Elton John on his final world tour, be advised his artistic partner has a big exhibition going in Napa Valley. “Reflections” collects decades of Taupin’s poppy images (that’s pop-py as in pop music or pop culture, he doesn’t paint poppies that I know of). Limited edition prints and original works created in a tribute to Taupin’s half-century partnership with Elton John are available to view (and purchase) now through the end of June.
Bernie Taupin’s definitely not the only reason to visit. Cliff Lede’s a younger operation (started in 2005) and the place is really beautiful and sleek and new, with public and private tasting areas and its own inn with spa services, and the whole insanely lovely Napa Valley right outside the door. Their Bordeaux-esque wines are big and dark with hallmark Stags Leap Cabernet character; big but balanced, with a pronounced blackberry pie quality and ample hints of oak, licorice and stone (often with markedly floral bouquets).
Fans of wine and pop art who will be within striking distance should definitely take a peek.