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

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Author Topic:   October Trip, Day 5
Hawkeye
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posted 11-11-2011 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Kod,

I stand behind my earlier comments about purchasing or not purchasing wine. I never feel that I have to. Pay attention to Damombo and Carjef, they are regulars. I know that some of the places I went were disappointed that I did not purchase more, but tough knuckles.

We have never been to the wineries you mentioned, especially David Arthur with their high tasting fee. I found another on Spring Mountain that wanted $100.00 top taste and I told him I had never tasted his wines but they could not be worth that much.

Just go and have fun, don't feel obligated. If you like the tasting and wines then purchase . . . if not, don't. I am sure they will get over it.

-Hawkeye

IP: 68.169.184.155

Kod
Member
posted 11-11-2011 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kod     Edit/Delete Message
At the start of my trip planning, I did communicate with a few wineries about their expectations. Its not an easy thing to do but I did get the idea that buying a couple of bottles was not worth us visiting. Erna Schein and Morlet Family are 2 examples. The most obvious was David Arthur,who actually wrote that the whole purpose of their "hospitality program" was to get people on their mailing list. They came right out and told me that we should not come just for the experience and if we were not prepared to be on the list and order a lot of wine not to bother coming ( and they have a large tasting fee). Since then, I have not bothered to bring this up and basically followed your advice. I do think now after reading all the advice that if there is a tasting fee I do not have to feel funny not purchasing unless I want to and if they don't like it, tough nuggies. I will be sure to give a trip report. Thanks again Hawkeye.

IP: 68.45.99.199

damombo
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posted 11-11-2011 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Kod - here's my 2 cents worth.

When it's just two of us, and we've made an appointment, then I don't feel obligated (especially is there is a tasting fee) to make a purchase.

There isn't going to be quite the hospitality that Hawkeye described because he was taking a crowd and had made special arrangements for that. We have visited a number of small wineries where I've made the appointment and they know it's just us two. They are happy to have us come and happy to chat and describe their wines and their process. We have always managed to find at least one wine that we liked, more often LOTS of wines that we like, so we usually do buy at least one bottle. But if we go someplace and none of the wine is to our liking, or the price is too much for us, we just thank them for a lovely time and say goodbye. Believe me - not everyone buys wine every time - and the wineries are used to that.

But if that is going to make you feel awkward, then maybe read about them on their websites and try to decide if they will be in your taste and budget range.

Cheers!

[This message has been edited by damombo (edited 11-11-2011).]

IP: 96.8.187.200

damombo
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posted 11-11-2011 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Sounds like a delightful day, Hawkeye. Making me a wee bit sad - today is the day we should have been flying to San Francisco, then Sunday over to Napa. <sigh> Think I need to head to the closet with my straw...

IP: 96.8.187.200

Kod
Member
posted 11-11-2011 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kod     Edit/Delete Message
Hawkeye,

As you know I am leaving tomorrow, Your visits certainly sound great but I can not help but think that unless I am prepared to purchase a significant amount of wine I should not pursue going to these wineries. For the hospitality you received I would think that a financial return (more than 2-4 bottles of wine) would be expected.

IP: 68.45.99.199

Hawkeye
Member
posted 11-11-2011 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Day 5, Saturday, October 29

What a great day to be in Napa Valley. The morning was crisp and clear with temps heading for the mid 70s. I do believe this is my second favorite place on earth. The first is right where I live.

The morning began with a car caravan to Redmon Winery in St. Helena. We tasted here with Lisa, the owner last year and were blown away by her wines. She makes three varietals, Chardonnay, Cab and a Cab blend, all in small lots of 250 and less cases. She gives a great talk about how she and her husband got started and how they have gotten to where they are now. We brought some of each home with us plus joined their wine club. Here is what the website says about the Chard: “Crisp and fruity, the flavors combine with hints of melon, white peach and apple”. Their 08 Cab blend comes from the Garvey Vineyard in Rutherford. “A blend of Cab, Merlot and Cab Franc is a fruit forward and very approachable wine. Milk Chocolate (Mrs. Hawkeye’s favorite) anise, cassis and dark berry compliment the soft tannins”. The 08 Cab comes from their estate vineyard in St. Helena. “Black cherry, raspberry, Asian spice and cassis blend together”. One of my favorite Cabs of the week. I have now tasted the 06, 07 and 08 and all were outstanding. Very limited supply. No tasting fee and the group loaded up and joined the wine club.

Our next visit was at one of my favorite places in the Valley, Chase Family Cellars. We have gotten to be good friends with Jeff Blaum the winery manager. In addition to tasting wine today, we were to have a BBQ lunch, and what a spread they arranged for us. There was pulled pork BBQ, beef ribs, salad, cole slaw and lots of the great Chase Zin. Jeff was supposed to be there for the group but had tickets for the last game of the World Series. Guess which he chose? In his place, Katie Simpson, winery owner and Rebecca Martin, hospitality hosted us. I will have to say that we got the best of the deal as they were much prettier than Jeff. We tasted the Savignon Blanc, Cab, 07 and 08 Hayne Vineyard Zins all of which were very good. But we had to settle on one and it was the 08 Hayne Vineyard Reserve. From their website: The 2008 Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel Reserve is made from our favorite five barrels of juice from the 105 year-old vines. Darker and a little more complex than the Estate Zinfandel the reserve is a great bottle to let age a bit. With just over 100 cases produced this wine is a certainly a collector's Zin. We paid $35.00 per person for lunch and wine. Normally there is no tasting fee.

From Chase we went to the Cab house, Baldacci Winery. They make several Cabs from various appellations around the valley. Our favorite is their Diamond Mountain Cab but because we already had some in our cooler, we did not purchase here. Several of the group did, however. The tasting fee was $10.00.

Next on the list was Steltzner and a tour of their caves. I believe this was the least favorite winery of the group. They said the wines just did not measure up to what we had been having. I believe the tasting fee was $10.00.

The last stop of the day was to taste J. Gregory Cellars owned by Mark and Kandice Jessup. Mark was a previous owner and winemaker for Jessup Cellars in Yountville, and Kandice many of you will remember as the tasting room manager at Biale, now promoting her own label. We were invited to their home which was clear at the end of the Silverado Trail and then some. They really put on a spread for us on their patio overlooking views of the valley. There were cheeses, meats, bread, crackers, olives, etc., etc. to enjoy with their 06, 07 and 08 Cabs. What a great flight tasting it was. They are so new that their label is in the process of being printed and we would have to wait to have our order shipped. Also, we were treated to a tasting of Bure Family Wines hosted by Mark’s son Adam. This is a winery that I have never heard of, but there are probably lots of those. The owner, who is from Russia, used to play professional hockey for the Montreal Canadians. We ordered the 09 Cab to be shipped when Jessup ships our order. What a great way to end the day and none of the group was interested in dinner.

IP: 68.169.184.155

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