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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  Napa Valley Day 2

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Author Topic:   Napa Valley Day 2
carjeff
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posted 06-27-2011 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carjeff   Click Here to Email carjeff     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for all the advice everyone. Burgess, Sojourn, and Solbar have all been added to our list for our Nov trip.

IP: 155.178.4.10

RichardSE
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posted 06-24-2011 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Hello Hawkeye,

We enjoyed Day 2, too. The GEMS wineries are Ladera, Hall Rutherford, Robert Craig, Patz and Hall, Silverado, Terra Valentine and Chappellet. The club members of each of the wineries get free tours and tastings at the other GEMS wineries. In addition, there are discounts on hotels and they have GEMS events.

I agree that Hall Rutherford has some nice, but pricy wines. Neal Family Winery is on Howell Mountain right down the road from Ladera (maybe 5 minutes away). They have some really nice cabs.

Hello damombo,

I thought we might share more than just wines. I don't mind driving, although I really should have planned better. Lois and I enjoy the scenery, too, but I prefer enjoying it sitting down with a glass of wine.

No reason to apologize. I love hearing about wine trips. I have nothing planned at this time, although there is talk about a fall visit with one of my wine friends.


IP: 75.85.130.54

damombo
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posted 06-24-2011 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Sorry Richard - didn't mean to hijack your thread When is your next trip? Time to start planning!!!
and Hawkeye - I do love instant gratification!! Thanks!

IP: 96.8.187.200

damombo
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posted 06-24-2011 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
I have looked at the itinerary you posted here, but you haven't sent one to me. Our family reunion is that same week, otherwise I would be tempted to invite myself along on your trip But I would like to have a copy - for future reference! Maybe I can talk him into a trip in November - I really enjoyed our trip last November...

IP: 96.8.187.200

Hawkeye
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posted 06-24-2011 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Damombo,

I think Napa would be the ideal place to try the knee. You have flatland and you have mountains (small).

We leave for Napa on October 26, have our group the 28th and 29th, then us until we leave on the 2nd. Did I send you the complete itinerary?

-Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.8.79

damombo
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posted 06-24-2011 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Hi ya Hawkeye! I will gladly add all of these to our next itinerary - just don't know when that will be

The hubby's knee is healing beautifully - he's loving the lack of pain when he stands up and walks around. Getting up from a sitting position used to make him wince and he'd have to take a moment before walking off - now he fairly leaps up!

I'm thinking that I should take the approach that he needs to try out the new knee in a familiar setting, like Napa, before we try all the traipsing around in Ireland - that should do it, right? And he did just finish building the wine walk-in closet, and there are a few empty spaces... What are your dates again?

IP: 96.8.187.200

Hawkeye
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posted 06-24-2011 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Damombo,

Glad to see that you are still with us! How is Mr. Damombo's knee coming?

Do add Burgess to your itinerary. The tasting room is in the barrel room which gives you the sense (pun intended) of being in a winery. The last time we were there was maybe in March of 2010 and the tasting room guy was new and not very sure of himself which kind of spoiled the tasting for me.

I don't remember in your writings if you have been to Ladera or not, but it is definitely worth the trip. Again, the tasting room is inside the winery which always adds ambiance to the wines. Both Ladera and Burgess are on Howell Mountain.

If you have room, add Spottswoode and Harris to your itinerary. Spottswoode is around St. Helena and I believe they do tastings and tours on Tuesday and Friday only at 10:00 AM. Their 2008 Estate Cab is just about the best to ever cross this palate. Harris is up above Calistoga and has Thomas Rivers Brown as their winemaker. Their 08 Lakeview Vineyard will rival the Cab of Spottswoode.

Cheers! -Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.8.79

damombo
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posted 06-24-2011 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
forgot to mention - we have been to Solbar twice and enjoyed it each time. An attractive setting and delicious menu - good choice!

IP: 76.31.52.34

damombo
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posted 06-24-2011 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Richard - you are our kind a people! Ribs for breakfast - yahoo!

You did do a bit of driving that day Hall to Neal to Sonoma and back to Calistoga - you really are our kind a people.
Part of my joy when visiting Napa Valley is the driving and the scenery. I live in flat, hot Houston (which I dearly love, having been born here), but the winding roads and beautiful mountains never get old for us. Hawkeye may think my routes are sometimes kooky, but I figure the drive is part of the charm. Shoot - we drive nearly 3 hours every Friday to get to the lake and then 3 hours every Sunday to get back home! but I digress...

Haven't been to Hall or Neal - sounds like my list for our next trip is getting longer, as usual. Just not sure when the next trip will be. We have a family reunion here in Texas in late October and then we hope to visit Ireland next May - so funds and time off have to be thought out. I will be very unhappy and cranky if we have to wait until Fall 2012 to go back!!!

IP: 76.31.52.34

Hawkeye
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posted 06-24-2011 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Richard,

Enjoyed Day 2! What is GEMS?

When we went up to Hall Rutherford, I thought we were never going to get there, then all of a sudden we crested a hill and there it was, high up above everything with views out of this world. The wines were pretty impressive, also. We do have an '07 and '08 Alexander Valley T Bar T Cab in our cooler.

I am not familiar with Neal. Can you elaborate? Wines, location, etc.

I am hesitant sometimes about recommending a new winery (to me) to others. However, I took a chance on Sojurn and all who have visited seem to like the wines.

Looking forward to Day 3.

-Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.8.79

RichardSE
Member
posted 06-22-2011 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Thursday, May 26, 2011

We started out our wine tasting day at Hall Rutherford at 10:00 a.m. Hall Rutherford is located on Rutherford Hill and was easily the most beautiful winery on this trip (their normal tasting room is on the valley floor). The Hall’s love artwork, particularly modern art and there were dozens of examples of it throughout the winery. We arranged the tour and tasting as GEMS members, so we got to enjoy the incredible view from Rutherford Hill along with several other couples. We started with the 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($22 retail) which had a beautiful floral nose and honeydew and citrus taste. When we got to the winery proper, we got to see the special stainless steel fermentation tanks that were almost works of art in themselves. The tanks are set-up so that the winemaker can use his smartphone and check on all the statistics about the juice or wine in the fermentation tanks and make certain adjustments (our host joked, “Yes, there is an app for that”).

Kathryn Hall was the U.S. Ambassador to Austria and the interiors of the cave were lined with repurposed antique bricks and tiles from Austria. Like I said, it was easily the most beautiful winery we visited on this trip. At the end of the cave was a dinning room with the most beautiful grape vine chandelier one could imagine. The roots of the vine contained the little lights and the Swarovski crystals that provide the light and glitter. We had a seated tasting for the remaining wines. The next wine was the 2005 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon ($100 retail) from their Rutherford Hill Sacrashe vineyard. It had berries on the nose, a touch of residual sweetness, elegant tannins and berries on the front of the palate. The 2007 Bergfeld Cabernet Sauvignon ($100 retail) followed. The fruit from this wine comes from the valley floor which they make into a bordeaux style blend primarily of Cabernet grapes. It had an elegant nose with cocoa and a little spice (almost cedar notes). This wine had very good acid and a little anise on the finish. The next wine was the 2007 Exzellenz ($165 retail) also from their Rutherford Hill Sacrashe vineyard. Definitely more powerful than the Kathryn Hall along with more berries and a big finish. The final wine was a 2007 Segassia Vineyard (Mount Veeder) Cab ($150 retail) that was opened the day before. It was showing quite well. The tannins were mellow but still big.

All in all, the Hall Rutherford wines were very good with big tannins and for the most part, needing some time in the bottle. This is due to the fact that the reds we tasted were some of their higher end wines. They have some more approachable wines in the $30 to $50 range that we’ve enjoyed before. I was tempted to get some of the their bigger wines and see how they taste in several years, but I resisted. Not only that, I knew that would probably mean that I’d need 2 boxes to take back with me (I checked a case through to Hawaii – one of the costs of living in Hawaii is that shipping wine through a club or while at a winery ends up costing quite a bit, so checking a case makes sense, but I didn’t want to deal with 2 boxes).

Due to some bad planning on my part, we had a noon tasting back on Howell Mountain at Neal Family Vineyards. We should have scheduled it before or after the Ladeara tasting. This was a straight tasting which was quite enjoyable. I lost my tasting notes for this winery, so I can’t give you detailed information about the wines. We started with their 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc which was followed by their 2009 Rutherford Dust Vineyards Zinfandel. I enjoy zins since it was the first wine I ever collected and I thought that it was a good example of a Napa Valley Zin. The 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon followed. Unfortunately, without my tasting notes, I can’t tell you anything about this wine. I do remember the 2005 Fifteen-Forty Cabernet Sauvignon ($75 retail) even without my tasting notes. The berry and vanilla nose, the blackberry fruit and great structure were good enough for me to purchase a bottle to bring home. I think we had another cab, but I don’t remember the details about it without my tasting notes.

From there, we headed over to Sonoma for a tasting at Sojurn Cellars suggested by Hawkeye and damombo. We had a little bit of a break, so we could taste their Pinot and cabs. The cabs were more elegant and once again, I can’t provide any details since I’ve lost my tasting notes. I’ll provide you more detail about the 2009 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot when we open it up at a wine dinner we’re planning this summer. This Pinot was good enough to take two spots in my case back home.

It was still early and we had forgone lunch up until now (we had the ribs for breakfast). So we walked around downtown Sonoma and happened onto The Red Grape, a little pizzeria that advertised the best pizza in Sonoma. I usually take statements like that with a grain of salt, but I have to say it was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. The leftovers were even good the next morning for breakfast! We spent most of the rest of the day, walking and sightseeing and then relaxing before heading for dinner.

A friend of mine had recommended the Solbar for dinner. Their menu contain lighter, healthy dishes in green and hearty, comfort cuisine in red. As a starter, we had delta asparagus with lemon-garlic vinaigrette, potato gremolata, tarragon and asparagus ribbons ($14). For the main course, we had the tenderloin of Colorado lamb with creamy anson mills polenta, lamb jus, ratatouille, zucchini and herb salad ($34). Paired with it was had a flight they called “Pinot Envy” ($16) consisting of: (1) 2008 Rutz “Sonoma Cuvee” Pinot Noir,; (2) 2007 Gainey Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir; and (3) 2009 Belle Glos “Las Alturas”, Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. I hadn’t heard of any of them before, but they were delicious and went well with the food. It was one of the better meals I’ve had. The asparagus dish was particularly good.

IP: 75.85.130.54

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