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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  Napa Valley Day 3

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Author Topic:   Napa Valley Day 3
posted 06-26-2011 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Hello Hawkeye,

That is the good and bad thing about Napa Valley -- there always new wines and wineries to try, but it's so difficult to be knowledgeable about even a fraction of their wines. I guess it depends on whether you are a glass half empty or glass half full person.

I had not had a Silverado wine for quite a while and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of their wines. I probably would not have gone except that they were a GEMS member and we had seen some information about the little plates and wine at sunset offering. I had thought about joining Robert Craig's wine club even before I even heard of GEMS. They have some great wines, but the tasting room is quite simple in comparison to many of the other wineries we visited.

Hello Damombo,

I have to admit that one of the things I enjoy about traveling is the unexpected treats, although this is the first time that the unexpected treat was a nicely aged wine. I hope you enjoyed your wine time in Texas.


posted 06-25-2011 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
**"He had opened up one of their 1998 Cab Stags Leap vineyard for a VIP and had half a bottle left which he was kind enough to share a glass with me."**

Ah, it is moments like this that make these trips to Napa Valley so special. On just about every trip we've made, some little unexpected treat like that will make for a special, memorable delight and adds so much to the journey.

Great trip reports, Richard. I do enjoy the details - makes us feel like we are right there with you! Except, of course, for the distinct lack of wine in the glass...

But it's nearly wine time here in the Texas Hill Country!


posted 06-25-2011 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Richard,

Another great report. We have not visited Silverado, so should put it on my schedule. Robert Craig is another I am not familiar with. Guess I will have to "get with it."



posted 06-24-2011 10:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Friday, May 27, 2011

We slept in, but still got to Silverado Vineyards early for our 11:00 a.m. GEMs tasting. We sipped on a glass of the 2009 Miller Ranch Sauvignon Blanc ($22 retail) while we waited since we were there early. The view of the vineyard from the terrace was quite enjoyable. I could get used to that.

We were lucky that we could start our tasting early. The tasting was a private seated tasting with Nick Woodhams, the Assistant Hospitality Manager in a little side room with a view of the mountains. Nick was a terrific host and the whole experience was quite enjoyable. Our first wine in the formal tasting was the 2009 Vineburg Vineyard Chardonnay, Carneros ($30 retail). This wine had a flowery, fruity nose with granny smith apple and melon on the palate. This wine had good acid and goes well with food as we would later find out. The second wine was their 2007 Soda Creek Zin ($30 retail). They make less than 400 cases of this wine and it’s limited to club and winery sales. The nose on the zin had a hint of pepper. Tastes of berries and pepper were present on the front end, followed by some light herbs and acid on the back end. This wine had a short finish and hardly any sweetness. We followed this with their 2007 Mt. George Merlot ($35 for club members only). It was quite good with good fruit on the front end and nice acid on the back end. The structure would make it an excellent wine for food.

The 2007 Solo Cab ($90 retail) is sourced completely from their Stag’s Leap District vineyards and was rated 95 points by Robert Parker. The berries on the nose and very good structure and tannins and long finish led me to add one bottle of this wine to my case. I’m looking forward to drinking this in 5 years or so although I suspect that it will be quite drinkable long after that. We ended the tasting with their 2002 Cabernet , Limited. ($125 Retail). Silverado does not issue their Limited Cab every year, only when the winemaker determines they can produce an exceptional wine. At least that is what they say. They have produced the Limited Cab 12 times in 30 years. I have to say that it was exceptional and 2 bottles of this wine found its way into my case. Plums and berries were present on the nose and dried fruit and rich mellow tannins rounded out this wine nicely. This wine was incredible and was not at all tired. I’m debating whether to drink it in the next couple of years or letting at least one bottle age a bit more.

One of things that I had thought about doing at Silverado when I made this appointment was their Friday evening little plates and wine pairing on the terrace. When I made the appointment, they said that they weren’t sure if they were going to start it up again. We were delighted to see that they had and we were lucky that they had an opening for us. So, we left, but we were planning on coming back.

There was still a time before our 1:30 p.m. tasting at Robert Craig Winery, so we headed over toward Oxbow Market for lunch. We decided to go to Gott’s Roadside Diner for a burger, calamari and onion rings.

Robert Craig is also a GEMs member and I’ve been on their mailing list for a while now. I’ve enjoyed their cabs before. The tasting room is in downtown Napa and very convenient. We started with the 2009 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay ($48 retail) had apricots and nectarines on the nose with nice acid balance and a long finish. It would be unfair to call their 2009 La Fleur Rose ($21 retail) a white zin, but it is a rose made from zinfandel grapes. It has a strawberry and rose petal nose with good acid. Their Affinity is one of the wines I’ve enjoyed previously. The 2008 version ($50 retail) had great nose and structure along with berries and coffee accents.

The next wine was the 2008 Mt. Veeder Cab ($70). They make about 900 cases of this wine a year and it’s claim to fame is that the grapes come from Robin William’s vineyard. I liked this a lot and two bottles made it to my case. It almost had a pepper, spicy nose with cassis and dark chocolate on the front end followed by a nice long finish. The 2008 Howel Mountain Zinfandel ($50 retail) was a prototypical Napa Zin, black pepper on the nose and on the finish after the raspberry fruit. We finished with a 2007 Spring Mountain Cab ($70 retail) with black cherries and a little sweetness on the front end.

We did some sightseeing and relaxing before heading back to Silverado for our small plates and wine pairing. The terrace was beautiful, the sun was out and the wind was starting to die down. There were still a few gusts which ended up spilling a little wine onto Lois’ jeans, but after that, everything was great. The pairings ($35 or $25 for club members) started with the 2009 Vineburg Chardonnay and a melon and Prosciuto Lollipop. The apples and crisps of the wine paired perfectly with the melon and prosciuto. The next pairing was their 2007 Sangiovese ($28 retail) and a Bruschetta with fontina cheese and sundried tomato pesto. I really liked the tomato pesto and I’m going to have to learn how to make that. The raspberry nose and fruit went really well with the Bruschetta.

Their 2006 Merlot ($35 retail) was paired with seared duck on wild rice cake and cranberry reduction. The rice cake was a little soggy but the fruit from the wine and duck and cranberry were a great match. We had chatted a few times with Nick while we were doing the food pairings, but he was kind enough to stop by with an extra wine. He had opened up one of their 1998 Cab Stags Leap vineyard for a VIP and had half a bottle left which he was kind enough to share a glass with me. If they had been using the Solo designation in 1998, this would have been the 1998 Solo. This wine was incredible! There was plum on the nose, really incredible fruit and mellow tannins. It still had a lot of fruit and good acid. At this point, I decided to join this wine club also (Lois says I can’t join any more unless I decide to leave one).

The final pairing was their 2007 Cab ($46 retail) and steak with fig and olive tapenade. The olive and fig were well balanced and the acid in the cab provided a great counterpoint to the olive, fig and steak. We finished the pairing with some Merlot filled dark chocolates – or I should say that Lois finished the pairing with the chocolates. I finished it with the rest of the 1998 Cab. The chocolates were so good, Lois ended getting a couple of boxes of them, one for a friend. All in all a wonderful evening and I can’t say enough good things about Nick.


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