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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  Wine Country Day 1 . . .

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Author Topic:   Wine Country Day 1 . . .
posted 10-28-2010 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Wow Hawkeye! You guys did get started in a big way. So, the secret winery wasn't the one I was guessing; I thought it might be
Lewis Cellars. Oh well.
Can't wait to hear more about your trip- I'm getting mighty thirsty reading this and thinking I may have to find a way to head to CA soon.


posted 10-28-2010 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
Bennet Lane sounds good. We'll have to check it out.


posted 10-27-2010 01:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Terrific - sounds like a wonderful day! And we will expect at least as much for each day!!


posted 10-27-2010 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
I am going to post day 1 before I forget that I was even here . . . I chalk that up to age.

I had several objectives for this trip. I plan trips a couple months ahead (book flights and rental cars 4-6 months ahead). My first objective for this trip was to taste at some of the smaller appointment only wineries that we had not previously tasted. I believe I accomplished this objective with flying colors. My hours at the computer on WineCountry.com and Google paid off. Many of the suggestions came from Bulletin Board members on WineCountry.com

Day 1, Thursday, October 21, 2010 - Our day started with a 3:30 AM wake up and on to the airport for a 6:00 AM flight to Atlanta and then connecting to Sacramento. We actually arrived in Sacramento 30 minutes early at 10:15 AM PDT. On to the rental car and the drive to Calistoga.

As we traveled up Hwy 29, probably starting a little south of St. Helena, the crush was in evidence. The odor of grapes permeated the air and my taste buds started perking up in anticipation of the forthcoming tastings.

After checking in at The Stevenson Manor Best Western Inn, we headed for our first appointment 3:00 PM. This BW is a cut above the normal BW. We have stayed here for years, at least for part of the trip.

When we arrived for our appointment at Vineyard 29 winery, we joined a group already there at a big round table for a food and wine pairing. There were probably ten of us around the table. We tasted three of Vineyard 29 wines, an ‘08 Savignon Blanc which was tasting very good, their ‘06 Cru Cab which was acceptable, and the ‘08 Aida Estate Cab which is just about the best that has traveled across my palate. At $195.00 per bottle, it was a little over my price point. However, one of the men across the table was talking about Magnums. This is worth a stop if you can afford the high end Cab.

Also around the table at Vineyard 29 were Jim and Karen Knighton who sell most of the grapes from their vineyard to V 29, but also had some of their grapes made into wine under their own label, Knighton Family Vineyards. We were treated to a taste of their Cab which was tasting well, but could lay down easily for several years.

From there we drove a little north of Calistoga to one of our perennial favorites, Bennett Lane. The tasting started with their ‘07 Chardonnay which I could drink, and Chards are not among my favorite. Then we got into the good stuff. An ‘06 Maximus that is a blend of Cab, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. At $35.00 per bottle, it drinks at a much higher price point . . . a superb wine! If the tasting had stopped here, it would have been worth the $10.00 tasting fee. But wait, there was more. Next we were treated to the ‘05 Merlot. Now, I am not a Merlot person, just not enough body, but this Merlot was what I refer to as a Cab drinkers Merlot, with plenty of body. Then, they pulled out the heavy stuff! An ‘06 Cab was on the agenda, and I thought it was outstanding. I asked how long you could lay down this Cab and was told 15-20 years. I told him I couldn’t purchase this wine because I don’t have 20 years to wait. Then he told me it could be consumed now, so I purchased some. At $55.00 per bottle, you receive a wine that drinks at a much higher price point. Then we went to the ‘05 Reserve NV Cab, and WOW, it was superb. We had just had a bottle about a month ago with a nice NY steak. Probably should have purchased some more. Bennett Lane, in my opinion, is a MUST addition to your tasting schedule.

Thursday night, six of us went to a wine cave dinner at Hans-Fahden Winery. The cave was alight with candles sparkling throughout bouncing off the glassware on the tables. This was a 3-course dinner with wine. The main course was grilled petit filet Mignon and crab oscar which was about as tender as I have ever eaten. The wines were okay, but nothing special . . . the ambiance was outstanding. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys fine dining. I understand that this is the number one venue for weddings in the area! I was ready to schedule a time to re-state our vows, but my wife said once was enough. Is she trying to tell me something?

That, boys and girls, was the first day. Please don’t expect this much detail for every day.


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