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

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Author Topic:   Napa Valley Day 1
posted 07-02-2011 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
Hawkeye you'll really enjoy Cade. The tour and tasting is cool. They tell you all about their leed certification. Wines are great, love their red blend and sauvignon blanc, and nice views as well.


posted 06-24-2011 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Richard - sounds like a very nice first day. Appreciate the detailed report.

We haven't been on Howell Mountain just yet - my favorite trailblazer has some interesting places he's going in October (I'm speaking of Hawkeye, of course!), so I'm looking forward to his reports

I just looked through my attempt at organizing our wines - a spread sheet on Numbers (the Apple equivalent of Excel). All I saw was a Merlot from Luna that came from Howell Mountain...

Also just checked out the Burgess website and the Howell Mountain Vintner's and Grower's Association. Burgess looks gorgeous; will have to get there next time we visit. On the HMV&GA site http://www.howellmountain.org/index.html I saw Cakebread, so I rechecked my spread sheet, and sure enough - we do have a Howell Mountain Cab! The Dancing Bear from Cakebread - the wonderful, luscious cab that is their finest. We have the '05 and the "06 - and our wedding anniversary is next month!... perhaps we will open the '05.

I'm off to read about day 2...


posted 06-24-2011 04:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi LL,

Welcome to this Board. Thanks for jumping in.

Why didn't I mention Burgess Cellars? Simply because we have been there many times and the ones named will be new to us. In fact, I have two bottles of '96 Burgess Howell Mountain Cabernet in our cooler right now. Our first visit to Burgess several years ago turned out to be very special as Tom Burgess did the tasting that day. What a charming man.

Richard - I had not heard of any of these Howell Mtn wineries either. It was strange how I came upon them. I was looking at wineries that Thomas Brown Rivers serves as winemaker and saw that there were two up on Howell. I called and made an appointment and asked if there were any others that could be visited and these were the ones I was given. I really enjoy visiting several wineries in one appellation to see how they compare.

Two you might want to check out are Spottswoode and Harris (above Calistoga) Both have very powerful Cabs.



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posted 06-23-2011 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for librarylady   Click Here to Email librarylady     Edit/Delete Message

Nice answer about Howell Mountain wineries. But I'm curious, why wouldn't you recommend Burgess Cellars as well? They have an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, and their price point is very reasonable.



posted 06-22-2011 10:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Hello Hawkeye,

You're not going to be disappointed with the Napa Valley Ladera. It's available for about $28 at my favorite wine store and at that price it's a great value.

I saw your post about the wineries that you're visiting in October. I'm not familiar with any of those Howell Mountain wineries that you're going to other than O'Shaughnessy. I can't wait to hear about your impressions about the Howell Mountain wineries.


posted 06-22-2011 04:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Richard,

Thanks for such a great report on Day 1. About one year and a half ago we attended a wine and food pairing dinner here in Chattanooga featuring the Ladera wines. Shortly after we made a trip to Napa and visited Ladera. Considered the wines to be very good to excellent. Strange as it seems, we have 2 bottles of the '06 Ladera Howell Mountain cab in our cooler. We thought it to be excellent, but will have to check out your $39.00 bottle.

In October, we are going to explore Howell Mountain a little more. We will be visiting Black Sears and Outpost (both have Thomas Rivers Brown as wine maker), O’Shaughnessy, Arkenstone and Cade. Really looking forward to this experience. I like tasting several wineries in an appellation to compare with each other.

Will look forward to your next posting. Cheers.



posted 06-21-2011 11:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
I'm finally putting together my notes from our trip at the end of May.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We had an early lunch in Davis, California – I wanted to try a hot dog I remember being really good when I was going to school. It was not as good as I remember, but it was one of the better hot dogs I’ve had. We had a great time in Davis, but that’s off-topic, so we’ll skip onto Napa.

We got into Napa a little after noon. We had some time before our 2:00 p.m. appointment at Ladera Vineyards, so we stopped in at Flora Springs to see their new tasting room (at least new for me). The new tasting room was quite nice. They have a social networking room with wifi access and computers for people to facebook and tweet about the wines they had just tasted. Winecountry.com has a coupon for two for one tasting for their signature tasting, so we decided to try that. For $20, they pour four wines. The first wine they poured for us was the 2009 Flora Springs Barrel Fermented Chardonnay ($30 retail). If I’m drinking wine for wine’s sake, I normally drink red wines, but this Chard was very good. It had nice fruit and good balance. The next pour, the 2008 Ghost Winery Cabernet Franc ($40 retail), was quite good. It seems that more wineries are producing cab francs for club and winery only sales. This wine had a cherry nose and taste with a big finish. I liked the acidity.

Trilogy was next, which I’ve always enjoyed. The 2007 version ($65 retail) was incredible, full of berries and fruit and an incredible, long finish. It will definitely benefit from some age (probably 5 years or more), but it was very drinkable now. The final wine was their 2008 Wild Boar (Pope Valley Single Vineyard) Cab ($85 retail). It was full of tannins that will need more than 6 more years in the bottle. Even with the tannins, the fruit was present, so you could see this being a great wine several years from now.

We noticed that a number of people were having baby back ribs with their wine, so we asked where they got them. The butcher right outside the back door of the tasting room makes ribs or chicken on Wednesday (alternating every week). We were still full from our early lunch, but we picked up a plate ($10) to share for later. The ribs were fall off the bone delicious! Next time we’re in Napa on a Wednesday around lunch, we’ll plan on a Flora Springs tasting and ribs or chicken. We still had some time, so we stopped in at Dean and Deluca and browsed the aisles of food and wine. That’s one of my favorite pastimes.

We worked our way up Howel Mountain to the beautiful Ladera Vineyards. It’s one of the older wineries in Napa (built in 1886), but completely restored. Daniel Saavedra was a wonderful host and the wines were so incredible, we ended up joining their wine club even though we were already a member of fellow GEMS member, Chappellet. The tour started with their 2009 Howel Mountain Sauvignon Blanc ($25 retail). The wine had a great nose with a hint of sweetness. The wine was crisp with a hint of green apples. Next, we took a walk up to the highest of three levels of the winery. The renovations to the winery did not change the gravity fed method of producing wines. At the highest level of the winery, we had a glass of their 2007 Malbec ($40 retail) which was quite good. At the winery, I thought that this was the second best wine we tasted there, but later when we had a wine we purchased for a picnic, I had to reconsider. Thereafter, we walked down to the lowest level of the winery and by several rows of grapes that are planted for the purpose of allowing visitors to see and taste the grapes when they visit in September and October. We missed out on that, but will look forward to that when our next trip to Napa in the fall.

We ended our tour inside their caves. I have to admit that walking around the caves with the sweet smell of oak barrels always makes me happy. Inside the caves, there was a dining room where we finished our tasting. I think because we were GEMS members, they included plates of local cheeses and meats with our seated tasting. As good as the wines were, they paired really well with food. The 2006 Howell Mountain Cab definitely deserved its 94 point Wine Spectator rating ($70 retail), but Lois liked the 2007 Napa Valley Cab ($39 retail). The Howell Mountain Cab was full of berries with nice structure but not overpowering tannins.

The 2007 Napa Valley Cab is sourced from 3 of their vineyards - Pope Valley, Howell Mountain & Lone Canyon. They make more of this wine than the others and it was definitely more approachable at a younger age. There was lots of berry on the nose and on the front end. Drinking this wine on our picnic made me appreciate it more. Letting it breath just brought out the lush berries and mellowed the tannins. It is well worth the $39 retail price (my wine shop has the 2006 vintage for $28 and I picked up 6 bottles there and it was very similar to the 2007).

The last wine we tasted in the dining room was the 2006 Lone Canyon Cab ($65 retail). It was very good but I did not like it as much as the Howell Mountain. The style was more European than Napa and it was already starting to develop into a nice wine. The highlight of the tasting, however, was a barrel tasting of their 2009 Howell Mountain Cab which is scheduled for bottling in a couple of months. Definitely something worth waiting for.

That was pretty much for the day in Napa. Due to a minor mix-up, we had to go back to Sacramento for dinner with friends, so we didn’t do any other tastings for the day, although we had wine with dinner. I don’t know if my age is catching up with me or I should be spitting more, but I will be planning only 2 tasting a day for my next trip. Especially with wine with lunch and/or dinner, that’s more than enough wine for me.


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