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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  My Napa Trip - Day 1

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Author Topic:   My Napa Trip - Day 1
posted 03-13-2011 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
The spider window is still there. I have a few pictures of it that I hope to include in a slide show on TA, like the one Hawkeye did.

Speaking of Prager, I was never a big port person, but I just couldn't stop thinking about the three wonderful ports I had there. So on a whim, I ordered two bottles yesterday, the Royal Escort and the Aria. I rarely pay that much for wine, but I just had to have a couple of bottles. I am sure they will last quite a long time!


posted 03-12-2011 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for the trip report, Wolfman. It's fun to read about someone else's experience at some of the same places. Like Hawkeye says, We all have different palates and we all have different experiences. Although, it sounds like we must have had the same pourer at Clos Pegase - I remember a very sarcastic, dry fellow! And the money at Prager - it was fairly crowded the day we were there (maybe 3 years ago) and we were in a corner, trying not to get in anyone's way. I looked over my husband's shoulder, and there, taped to the wall, was a dollar bill with our first names on it Kinda kooky! Oh, and the "web site" window full of cobwebs - it was still there? We had heard a rumor that a new cleaning company didn't know the significance and had cleaned it up - oops! But perhaps it was simply a rumor - or the spiders have been workin' overtime!


posted 03-10-2011 08:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
I was there on Feb 19th. They were tasting older vintages when I went in, and there were all pretty good, and nice prices.


posted 03-09-2011 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi bigsemi! Thanks for the Charbono info.
About Raymond...have you been there previously? If so, are the wines tasting about the same? I know nothing about them except that the one wine we had was just awesome- perhaps one of the top 5 I've ever had.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 03-09-2011).]


posted 03-09-2011 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
Charbono: Not too many in the valley. Summers on Tubbs Lane in Calistog makes a great one! Yes it is red, Italian varietal.

Love Prager. We were members for a few years. Aria is great, and the Royal Escort is one hell of a vintage port.

Raymond was a good tasting, and again they are in the middle of a lot fun changes.

Tasted at Peju several years ago, we liked it, but have not been back in a while.

That was a lot of wineries for one day, we normally try to stick to 2-3 a day.


posted 03-09-2011 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Thank you wolfman, for such a thorough report. I just love it when those of you who CAN write, do.
Left brain has had Hess Collection wines in the past and tells me that he has had a few that would rock my world. My only experience with them has been general distribution offerings that were just not that stellar, so I am still undecided on whether to visit them or not. Maybe we need to do the vetical of Cabs.
However, that Viognier sounds really interesting as does the Charbono. I've never heard of that before... is it red? And what can you compare it to that would give me an idea of what its like?
I wish you had kept Raymond, too. It sounds like it may be a local favorite, though. If the rest of their wines are close to as good as that Cab we drank about a month back, I can see why. Let's hope someone can fill us in soon.....


posted 03-09-2011 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
I was going to post my itinerary before we left, but you know how hectic things get. Just for grins, I will post my original plan and make short comments on the places we actually visited.

1) Hess Collection - This was our first stop and I was looking forward to the art collection after the tasting. We shared two different tastings, an "Artezin" and the current releases. We passed on the "Hess Collection" which is a vertical tasting of 4 cabs.

If I remember correctly, the Artezin was a line by one of their senior wine makers that was now creating some of his own wines and was very "hands on" with these wines. The most interesting thing I noted here was a 2008 Napa Valley Charbono. I had never heard of it and found it to be very unique.

The current releases had some nice surprises, especially the "Small Block" series, and we ended up purchasing a 2009 Small Block Viognier (which I liked better than the Sauvignon Blanc) and a 2008 Allomi Vineyard Petite Sirah. We tasted a Small Block Syrah, but I was more impressed with the Petite Sirah.

The art collection was very interesting, but I guess that is true of any collection. I was impressed with the number of pieces, and hey, it was free!

2) Grgrich Hills - The last time I was there it was too crowded, so I was happy we made it this time. We chose their current release tasting and was pleasantly surprised by their Chardonnay. I knew they were known for it and it was nicely balanced and not too "oakey". Also, as expected, their Cab was very good.

We had a wonderful pourer and were having a nice conversation, until "rude lady" barged in the door. Oh well, next stop....I'm on a schedule!

3) Peju - Very nice tasting room and I took quite a few pictures. The wine was ok, but didn't blow me away. One thing we both noticed was the amount of wine poured - it was about half of a normal tasting. I also felt the pourer was pushing a sale a little too hard.

4) Rutherford Grove - Nice and quiet tasting room with a fire going. Our pourer was very opinionated, but was very helpful. I believe these were mostly estate wines and we purchased a Merlot.

5) Raymond - We skipped this one and now I wish we didn't after asking some locals.

6) Prager - I didn't know what to expect, but I am so happy we stopped. I just don't know why I didn't buy anything. This is a small family run business. We were served/educated by Richard who was very nice, polite and entertaining. We started out with a Petite Sirah and then tasted a few Ports - Royal Escort, Noble Companion Tawny, and an Aria. My favorite was the Aria, which I never heard of before. I guess it is basically a white port, but it tasted like Frangelica liquour. Very nutty with a wonderful finish. Their Tawny Port was also wonderful. Come to think of it, the Royal Escort was good too!

We spent a lot of time here and met some wonderful people from the Bay area. The tasting room is small, but their "hook" is all the money taped to the walls and the "spider window".

7) Clos Pegase - This was our second visit there, mainly because I love their Pinot Noir (because it doesn't taste like a Pinot). Our pourer was Peter who I just got a kick out of. He was very sarcastic and dry, and he looked like the love child of David Caruso (CSI Miami) and Timothy Busfield (Thirty Something).

I was not impressed with their wines this time and the tasting fee was too expensive - $20. We felt a little better about the fee after they let us join a tour that was just starting. It was interesting to see the caves.

8) Rombauer - We decided to skip Rombauer this time as we were both tired, hungry and just wined out!

Overall, I really enjoyed the day and were glad we came on a Friday. It was not very busy at all and we received a lot of attention at most tasting rooms. I thought some of the tasting fees were getting out of hand, so I will keep that in mind next time. I had a bonus day in Napa on Saturday before we went to San Fran, so I will follow-up with that report. Sunday was spent in Sonoma, so I will jump over to that board later.


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