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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  Wine Country Day 5 . . .

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Author Topic:   Wine Country Day 5 . . .
posted 11-03-2010 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Believe it or not, its actually NOT raining here today ...first day in several that is dry. I do all my computer stuff with my coffee in hand in the am, so I must have just jumped on at the right time today.
Hawkeye, I believe that you and I are kindred spirits in the planning department- we often do lots of research, then find a few key places to visit and leave the rest to chance.
Since we spend our time in Sonoma, I am not much help to you here for Napa planning, but I'm learning a lot. SOMEday...I want to plan an extended "wine country" vacation of about 3 weeks, maybe a bit more, and spend several days in all the No. Cal wine producing areas including over in the Sierra Foothills as well as Lake County. I haven't convinced "Left Brain" that we really can afford that trip, but if I pester long enough it may come to pass sooner rather than later.
So, I am taking notes on your visits and keep them in my wish file.


posted 11-03-2010 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
It's a rainy day here too! But I don't complain about any rain in Texas anymore - after that 2 year drought, we welcome all rain!!
Sounds like a fun day on Spring Mountain - sorry you missed the Terra Valentine tasting, but that can be revisited another trip. Was it rainy and dreary when you were on the mountain? We we visited last February it was - and I kinda enjoyed the drippy, gloomy views. Then in September it was a glorious day and the views were pretty fantastic.
Haven't been to Spring Mountain or Guilliams yet. I don't know that we will have time to hit the Spring Mountain District this trip - you've given me so many new places and we only have two days on the Napa side of things!
Glad your picnic was tasty - we thought that Palisades was a good choice, too.


posted 11-03-2010 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Yesilovewine,

Must be raining at your place too. Lots of time for the computer. However, I am going to have to get busy and work on our Chattanooga Daylilies 2011 catalog here pretty soon. Have some speaking engagements coming up that I need a catalog to distribute.

I spent more time planning this trip than any in the past. In the past, it was kind of a shotgun approach . . . "Have we been there? I don't think so. Let's do it." When asked what we do with all the time we spend in the Napa Valley, my wife responds, "We drive up the road and we drive down the road." That is okay, but then you get to stopping at all the same places. So, this time I said, "We are going to find some newer wineries for us plus some that are small." We did that.

I got some of my ideas from Damombo. I looked at the winery maps and one of the maps has red dots beside the winery name if they are open to the public, and black dots if they are by appointment only. I studied the web pages of those with black dots to see if they made things we liked, etc., then went from there. I will say that I am not sure I like all appointments because it dosen't leave any time for spontaneity. We did cancel all of our appointments on Tuesday because of this reason.


posted 11-03-2010 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Another wonderful report, Hawkeye. How do you find out about all these small places? I love that I have rarely heard of the places that you visit.


posted 11-03-2010 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Day 5 - Monday, October 25 - It has been probably 10 years since we ventured up Spring Mountain. This was also the day we were checking out of the Stevenson Manor Best Western Inn in Calistoga and moving to Yountille.

Up the mountain a short distance we went. Our first stop was at Spring Mountain Winery. A little known fact, at least to me, is that Spring Mountain’s ‘73 Chardonnay finished 4th in the 1976 Paris tasting. We found their wines to be very approachable. The ‘08 Savignon Blanc was one of the best we have tasted on this trip. It had the clean citrus taste that I prefer. We enjoyed the ‘07 Pinot Noir very much. It was a little more bold than most Pinot’s we have tasted. The ‘06 Cab is bold with a nice long finish and 100% Cab. Two bottles of this Cab are following us home. The best of all we tasted was the ‘06 Elivette. A blend of 81% Cab, 7% Cab Franc , 7% Petit Verdot , and 5% Merlot. WOW! I would have loved to bring this one home but it was a little above my price point. However, it seems on every trip to the valley, my price point goes up.

On up the mountain to Robert Keenan. I remember this winery from several years ago because of their distinctive label. Most of the wines we tasted were very good, but the ‘06 Napa Valley Cab was excellent. Robert Parker rated this Cab at 90 points and it was every bit of that and at $45.00, it was an excellent buy. However, my favorite of the visit and the one following me home was the ‘07 Napa Valley Zin. At $34.00 per bottle, I wished that I had more room at home. It was easily one of the best Zins that I have tasted.

For lunch, we had picked up a picnic at Palisades Deli & Cafe in Calistoga and it was every bit as good as touted. Since it was so chilly outside, Keenan let us sit around the round table inside their tasting room for our lunch.

Our next stop was a Schweiger Vineyards. Schweiger is a family operation. The father does the vineyards, the son is the winemaker, and the daughter, Diana, is the tasting room manager. She guided us through a tasting of Savignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cab, and their blend, Dedication. I just wish she would lay off the “my father this, and my father that.” We were given a special tasting of the 01 Merlot, which was tasting quite good, and it is the one following us home. Normally, Merlot is just not bold enough for us, but this one was special.

Clear up at the top of the mountain, was Pride Mountain Vineyards. This was one I remembered from several years ago. They were tasting three wines this day. The ‘09 Viognier was really not my cup of tea. The ‘08 Merlot, which is blended with 10% Cab was one of the better Merlot’s we tasted. However, the ‘07 Pride Mountain Cab is composed of 82% Cab, 12% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, was tasting excellent and was the one we purchased.

Starting back down the mountain, Guilliams Vineyards was our next stop. Again, this is a small family run operation. We even got to “punch down” some juice while we were here. I don’t find my Guilliams sheet, but we purchased the ‘05 Cab and at $45.00 per bottle, we thought it a very good buy.

We thought we had a 3:30 tasting appointment at Terra Valentine Winery, but when we arrived, we were told that their last appointment was at 2:30. Bummer!

We then drove to the Yountville Inn and checked in. For dinner, we went to one of our favorites, the Rutherford Grill. Now, everyone knows that the RG is really of the Houston’s chain, but it seems a chain restaurant is not welcome in the valley so they just called it the Rutherford Grill. I pigged out (pun intended) on BBQ ribs, fries, and their special cornbread. My wife had the vegetable plate and thought it excellent. The RG has the best service in the valley in my opinion.


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