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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  July/Aug trip

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Author Topic:   July/Aug trip
posted 08-05-2011 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Great report!

As I sit here looking out at the fried Texas landscape, I dream about temperatures in the 80's... and rain...


posted 08-05-2011 07:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Bigsemi,

What a fantastic trip review . . . thanks. You make me wish my October trip was here instead of 3 months away (last of Oct.)

Last time I was at Gustavo Thrace, I was not too thrilled with their wines. They had run out of their cab with a group overlapping ours. Not a lot of personal contact and just not great. I believe how you are treated has a lot to do with how much you like their wines.

Other than the above, we have not had a lot of contact with downtown Napa.

Our group will be tasting at Reverie in October, We have never been there so was very happy to hear your great report. While up on the mountain, we will also taste von Strasser and while there, will taste Barlow who is now tasting groups at von Strasser. We will also taste at Diamond Terrace where Thomas Rivers Brown is the winemaker.

We have tasted at Round Pond but it has been a while. Guess we should revisit. Still have a 2008 Round Pond Rutherford Cab in our cooler.

Pizzeria Tra Vigne is one of our favorite lunch stops also. Their pizza is excellent and about that time of day I need to tank up on my Diet Coke.

We enjoyed Zahtila Winery also. Laura Zahtila-Swanton and her husband, Mike, run a good ship. Their wines are very good, their winery dogs are fun and Mike (when we were there) was an outstanding host. A great variety of varietals (am I allowed to say that) and very friendly hosts makes this a great venue.

On our October trip, we will be visiting 5 new wineries (to us) on Howell Mountain. Really looking forward to the trip.



posted 08-04-2011 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
Amy and I flew out to Napa on July 30th. We flew out on Virgin America. Pretty cool plane, free tv, music, games, and for the time being you can check out a google chrome notebook for free so you get free wifi.

We picked up our car at Thrifty and headed up to Napa. We arrived around noon in Napa, just in time to grab lunch at Gotts by Oxbow Market.

After lunch we went across the street to taste at Gustavo Thrace (Of Bottle Shock Fame). The wines were nice and ended up buying a Merlot signed by Gustavo, and 2 Third bottle Table Reds.

We then wandered around down town Napa for a while. We stopped in a cool little shop called Vineyard Dogs. The owner was very nice and gave us a sizable free sample of Lamb Lung, nick named "Puppy Crack". When we got home it was as good as advertised, both dogs loved it, so I guess we'll be heading back to her shop in Sept to buy some for the dogs. We went into a few other shops and then headed over to our hotel, the Wine Valley Lodge, clean and cheap.

We got cleaned up, I dropped Amy off to get her toes done for the party that night. I picked her up about an hour later and we were off to V. Sattui for the Festa Italiana. It was a great party, lots of really good food, wine, dancing, and friends we've made over the years.

Sunday morning we headed up to Calistoga for breakfast burritos and coffee at Palisades Deli, yummy as usual.

We had a 10:00 at Reverie. We tasted/toured with Chris, if you go ask for Chris. We wandered all over the property tasting at each stop, the coolest spot being in the middle of a small Redwood grove. The wine was great, Chard, Cab frac, their blend, and a couple different cabs. We joined the wine club. They do 2, 6 bottle shipments a year, so you end up getting one bottle of everything they produce. Another very cool feature of the club was being able to host a wine dinner in the winter or spring. They close from Nov-April, and during this time they travel to several major cities around the U.S., Dallas being one of them. You provide the guests and food, they bring all the wine. Should be lots of fun. For joining the club we each got a t-shirt, and they threw in a bottle of their blend, since we were going to be in town for a couple more days.

After that we headed to V.Sattui for lunch, we got a couple items off the grill and relaxed under the oaks.

After lunch we had a 2:00 at Round Pond. We are members here and actually never have done a tasting, so we figured we take advantage of the free tasting. We ended up meeting a young couple on their first trip to Napa. He was 25, she was 21 and they had just been transferred to the area by the coast guard. They were pretty clueless when it came to wine or the area, so we reached out to them and tried to offer up as much knowledge as possible to them. The Round Pond tasting was out on their huge deck in the middle of their vineyard. The actually the largest continual property in Rutherford, 400 acres. We tasted their Sauv Blanc, awesome, and 2 of their Cabs, both of which were very tasty, each wine was paired with a small food offering. It was a great setting for a tasting, and it was nice to make a couple new friends.

After the tasting we took them back up to V. Sattui to give them a chance to taste a much wider variety of wines. Both of them being fairly new wine drinkers were still very much enjoying wines on the sweeter side. We found our good friend Emery and had a great time as usual. They were able to taste all kinds of different wines to zero in on what they liked, he liked their Rieslings and she really liked their Gamay. After tasting for about an hour we exchanged info, and they headed home, and we went back to our hotel. We took a late nap, and then headed to Down Town Joe's around 8:00 for dinner. I grabbed a burger, and Amy had the polenta.

Monday Amy slept in and I went and got a workout in at Basics Gym.

We headed up Silverado trail around 10:30 and stopped at Regusci. We were not really impressed with anything. The wines were average and they really liked their wine a lot, prices from $40 -125. We shared a tasting for $25.

After the tasting it was close to lunch time so we headed over to Pizzeria Tra vigne. We split a salad and small pizza. This is one of our favorite places to go. It is inexpensive and the food is all really good. Great pizza.

After lunch we headed up to Calistoga to do a tasting at Zahtila. A great little mom and pop winery. Very good wine. We brought home a 07 Cab, and their port style wine. They have 2 great winery dogs, Rocky and Zoe, both who are quick to greet you at your car!

After the tasting we headed back to the hotel for a nap. For dinner I went out and picked up some bread, cheese and deli meat and we relaxed in our room with some tasty eats, and a little TV.

Tuesday Amy had a massage at Napa Massage and body Care and I got another workout in. She loved the massage, and I had another great workout at Basics.

We got all cleaned up and headed up to V. Sattui for a very special lunch. As HoF members we are entitled to a once a year lunch with the winery President Tom Davies, we were also joined by their wine maker, Brooks Painter, and Vineyard Manager, David Baher. It was a beautiful lunch with several courses, a couple bottles of wine and very diverse conversation from the winery, teaching, to my powerlifting. From the sound of it they don't do very many of these lunches, which is a shame. I know we'll be taking full advantage from here on out. It was so great to get to spend a hour and a half talking to the 3 guys most directly concerned with the wine production. After our wonderful lunch we headed down to the members cellar so Amy could taste the just newly released 1998 Port. It's the best Port I've ever had.

After our V. Sattui visit we headed back to the hotel for a bit.

For dinner we went back to Gott's. Tuesday nights are local's nights at Oxbow and Gott's. Gott's has half off cheese burgers on Tuesdays, so 1 for Amy and 2 for me and we were good to go.

After dinner we headed back to hotel to get packed up to head out early in the morning for SFO and our flight home.

It was a great visit. We made several new friends, found 2 new wineries we really liked, and had an amazing lunch with the guys that matter the most at our favorite winery. Could not have asked for much more. On top of all that it never got over 87 the whole time we were there, a nice change from the 112 here at home. Can't wait to head back out in Sept!!


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