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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  Brief April Trip Report

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Author Topic:   Brief April Trip Report
posted 05-02-2012 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Bigsemi ans ssala,
After reading your reports on Caymus, I thought it would be a great place to take my group in October. Then I went to their website and saw their tasting fee is $30.00. My group would really balk at that price.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 05-02-2012).]


posted 05-02-2012 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ssala   Click Here to Email ssala     Edit/Delete Message
I should add a tale similar to bigsemi's Caymus one. I had booked an appointment at Benessere mentioning my half marathon race the next day and being supported by my loving wife of 22 years. When we got to the winery, there was our reserved picnic table with a sign which said "For Scott and his darling wife. Good luck on your race", accompanied by a photo of runners. We were smitten with their zin, ordered 4 bottles, and joined their wine club. When the hospitality manager discovered this, he said "Welcome to the family" and disappeared. He came back with a Benessere waiter's key and an unopened bottle of Sangiovese. After "demonstrating" how to use the wine opener, he gave us the bottle. I sometimes lament about the lost art of customer service, but a return to Napa/Sonoma tends to restore my faith.


posted 05-02-2012 04:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hey Bigsemi,
Good to see you back with the living. Thanks for a great report, you always do it up right.


posted 05-01-2012 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
There were a group of 6 us. We rented a 3br house in Napa. The house was great, complete with hot tub, but the owners very serious about meeting us, which we found a bit odd. We squeezed them in as we were heading out our 2nd day.

The traditional Palisades Deli for breakfast, nothing better then their breakfast burritos and mexican mochas!

Envy: Grabbed some 2 for 1 coupons from the Calistoga visitor center and headed over. Nice wines. I enjoyed their Sauv Blanc, and my wife liked the Bees Blend. Tasting fees waived with purchase.

Franciscan: My brother wanted to go here so we gave it a try. The barrel tasting was maybe the lamest excuse for a barrel tasting ever. You got a very limited tour, and a single taste of cab from a french oak barrel, you could opt for an additional taste of the same wine from an american oak barrel if you wanted. Not really what I had in mind when I was booking a $25 per person barrel tasting. After, we went to their main tasting room and tasted several wines. Nothing really stood out. They used a lot of Malbec as a blending grape in their wines, I HATE malbec. If you like Malbec you might enjoy what they are doing there, I was not impressed. Their big French blend was good, and I would have gone for it at $30, but at just over $60 there is way better wine in the valley at that price point.

After, we went for our favorite lunch in the world: Deli meat, Cuvee Rouge, fresh bread, and artichoke garlic cream cheese at V. Sattui. My wife and I also got a nice surprise when we found out we were very prominently featured in V. Sattui's event book that they show to guests at the winery who might be interested in coming to an event or joining their wine club. We are after all VERY proud HALL OF FAMERS!!

After lunch we headed to Round Pond Olive Oil:

We did the olive oil tasting again at Round Pond, always a crowd pleaser. We had a great time, then headed across the street to the winery for their Sunset Lounge. Bottle of Nebbiolo and Sauv Blanc (Both of which were tasting excellent), little snacks, and the beauty that is Round Pond Vineyard. Great way to end a day and start an evening.

Grabbed a late dinner at Gott's and headed to the house for the evening.

Grabbed breakfast at Gott's in Napa. Very good breakfast, but a bit pricey for the amount of food.

Caymus: We had one of those once in a life time tastings there. We just did the walk in counter tasting since the private ones were all booked up, and boy am I glad they were. The wine was great, it was Caymus, what else would you expect. The Chard in the way cool ceramic bottle was awesome! Good Pinot, and Zin. Then came the cab. We first tasted their regular cab. It was great. Well balanced, good fruit, could be laid down for years or drank right away. They have a reserve cab though, $130 a bottle at the winery (Can get it cheaper else where), my wife had had some at a wine bar here in Dallas and wanted me to try it. We asked the first guy helping us, he said it was not possible, then we asked the other large lifter looking guy also working the counter, my wife tried working a deal for the 6 of us, plus another couple we had just met at the winery if we all threw in $16 a piece we could just buy a bottle, well we started talking about lifting, and it was my wife's b-day, and well long story short he "found" an open bottle of the 09 reserve and poured 8 very full glasses of $130 wine, happy b-day to my wife, and props to me on squatting 805. We then proceeded to purchase almost 2 cases of wine between our group, so i did not feel guilty about accepting the free wine. It was one of those experiences you can only have if you spend some time and get to know the people at the winery. No rushing in and out, but talking and sharing life experiences, that is what wine is all about, talking sharing, and making new friends, and what Napa is all about, and why we always consider it our 2nd home. Caymus did us a solid, and I hope I can pay it forward by sending many people their way. We had a great time there and they treated us right.

After Caymus we headed up valley to Sterling. We did the ride up the mountain, always fun, you get a great view. Then the self guided tour and a sit down Reserve Tasting. I was not overly impressed this time around. The price points are great if you are a club member, but otherwise they are bit pricey. It is a good one time ride and tasting, but not really worth the 2nd go around. Others in our group liked their late harvest zin, and Gwurt, but nothing real exciting to me. I loved their 3 Palms Merlot the first time we tasted there, it was just ok this time, again the price point was what really turned me off.

After that we headed back to the house for a short breather before LOBSTER FEST at V. Sattui.

Lobster Fest was a blast. Tons of great food, 24oz lobsters for everyone! Lots of great wine and many of our friends we've made over the years. My wife also crocheted little lobster pins for all of us to wear, and they were the hit of the party, we ended up giving several away to friends that worked at the winery, and we were trying to talk the winery president to put in an order for next year's party. We'll see what happens there .

We headed home the next day. It was a short but sweet trip. We had a really good time and found a couple new wines that we really enjoyed.


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