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

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Author Topic:   Napa Valley Day 5
posted 07-03-2011 04:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Richard,

A great review of your complete trip, thanks. I have added some of your visits to my "to do" list in the future.

Wish we were in Hawaii with you. It is reaching 100 degrees here the last couple days. Hot even for southeast Tennessee. Also very dry. I grow and hybridize daylilies and the lack of moisture has been hard on them.

Will look forward to your next trip and review. Thanks.



posted 07-02-2011 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Here's the information about the fifth and final day we spent in Napa Valley:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

This was our bicycle and sightseeing day. We had planned on stopping in at a few wineries while biking without any appointments, but we were enjoying the ride so much, we ended up passing on tastings during the day. For dinner, however, we went to Domaine Chandon’s release dinner ($95 per person including wine pairings) for their 2009 Carneros Pinot Meunier. Joel Burt, Domaine Chandon’s Assistant Winemaker was one of our hosts and Chef Perry Hoffman from Etoile prepared the meal. We had received an email from Domaine Chandon about the release dinner and it just so happened it was while we in Napa, so we made reservations.

Before dinner, we were treated to Etoile Brut while we had a chance to mingle with the other guests and learn about each other. The sparkling wine was quite nice, with hints of ginger, cinnamon and apple. The dinner reminded me how wine has an almost magical way of bringing complete strangers together. Of course, we all had an interest in wine as a foundation, so that helped. We didn’t get to meet everyone, because the first dozen or so people we met were so interesting.

One of the people we got to chat quite a bit with was Joel Burt and his lovely fiancé. Joel was in his early thirty’s and quite knowledgeable. He got his degree from Cal State University, Fresno, but as he said, he went to University of Robert Mondavi.

The first course was pan roasted dayboat scallops with green garlic, english peas and preserved lemon. It was paired with their 2009 Carneros Chardonnay ($26 retail). The scallops and particularly the preserved lemon matched well with the Chardonnay which also had lemon and citrus tones. I thought that the floral nose of the wine was particularly memorable. The second course was Liberty Farms duck breast with bing cherries, celery and blue foot mushrooms. The second course was paired with the release wine. The Pinot Meunier ($35 retail) was very good and I was able to get 2 bottles to fill out my case. The grilled duck and cherries matched well with the fruit jam flavors of the wine. As a special surprise, Joel mixed two lots of whole cluster barrel samples of the 2010 vintage as a counterpoint to the 2009 (which was only partially made with whole cluster wine). The whole cluster wine was earthier and a little more complex even though it needed more time. The group was about evenly divided between the 2009 and the 2010. I preferred the 2010 even in its youth.

The third course was strawberry rhubarb Napoleon with pink peppercorns and star anise ice cream. I’m not normally a desert person, but the strawberry, rhubarb, peppercorns and star anise provided incredible levels of tastes. It was paired with their 2007 Russian River Reserve Pinot Noir. The cocoa, cherry and vanilla flavors were a good match for the dessert.

If you’re in Napa during one of their Tastemaker dinners, I heartily recommend it. For $95, you get a great dinner and some very enjoyable wines. I don’t know if it was because it was their own wines (they do Tastemaker dinners with winemakers and wines from other wineries), but the wine was poured quite freely. Joel and Perry did an excellent job of matching the wines with food. Most importnatly, you get an excellent chance to meet with someone who was instrumental in crafting the wines you’re tasting.

That was it for our time in Napa. All in all an enjoyable visit.


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