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  June Trip to Napa

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Author Topic:   June Trip to Napa
RichardSE
Member
posted 07-31-2012 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Hello Hawkeye,

Ladera will be coming out with a new wine, but obviously not with Lone Canyon fruit. The Howell Mountain cab is still my favorite, so I'm not nearly as sad as I could have been.

It's funny, I thought that you had suggested Neal Family to me. Since you like Ladera, you'd like Neal Family. The wines are great. You have to make an appointment, but it's a very friendly, open place. I heartily recommend it. It's the type of tasting experience that I think you like.

I saw your October Howell Mountain tastings in the other post. I don't know if you'll have time to fit in a tasting at Neal with O'Shaugnassey, Ladera, Black Sears and Spence. In November, we'll probably do a day in Howell Mountain and hit the first three and Neal, but I also wanted to try Spence. Maybe I'll see how you enjoy it.

IP: 108.59.136.30

Hawkeye
Member
posted 07-31-2012 05:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Richard,

Thanks for the report. As you know, Ladera is one of my favorites too. Sorry to hear about the sale. You find something good, then it is no longer there. We will be going back there in October.

We have not been to Neal Family (so many wineries, so few days) so will put them on a future list. We will do a day with our group in October on Howell.

-Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.8.252

RichardSE
Member
posted 07-30-2012 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Here are my notes for Day 2:

This was an incredible day. We started it off in the morning at Ladera which is my current favorite winery. I had ordered a case of the 2002 Lone Canyon Cab after purchasing a mixture of their Lone Canyon library wines that were on special. Rather than shipping the case, I had them hold it for me to take back as luggage. I was saddened to learn that they will no longer be making their Lone Canyon cab. The story is that Bill Harlan was looking to acquire another vineyard to make another high end wine and tasted a bunch of cabs and made an offer to Ladera for their Lone Canyon vineyard. They declined, but then got an offer too good to turn down, so no more Lone Canyon cab from Ladera. Since they were out of the 2002 Lone Canyon (except for my case that I picked up), we tried the 2003 vintage which I had back home when I first tried the 2002 vintage. I had thought that the 2002 was superior and I still do, but the 2003 opened up nicely after a while and went quite well with the food. I figured that since there would be no more new Lone Canyon cabs from Ladera (I don't think I want to spend what Bill Harlan is going to charge for wines from that vineyard), I got a few more bottles of the 2003. It went really well with the cheeses and salumi that they served for the club tasting.

From there we went to visit Neal Family and had some great wines along with an impromptu tour by the wine maker, Gove. I love that you often get tastings and tours with Gove or Kelly -- it's so fun to talk with one of the winemakers about what they were trying to do with the wines. We brought back a couple of bottles of the Fifteen-Forty Cab. Every time, I think I should choose another wine to take back, but I really love that wine. They were pouring and selling the 2005 vintage still and despite lots of other good cabs and a zin, I keep coming back to it. Technically, it's a few dozen feet too low to be Howell Mountain cab (elevation 1365 rather than 1400), but it has much the same characteristics. Intense blackberry and cassis flavors and complex tannin structures. At six years old, it's very drinkable, but I'm hoping to see what it tastes like in 5 years or so (If I can wait, that is).

We ending our Howell Mountain trip with Outpost. I have to say that I was a little disappointed. I'm not saying that the wines were bad --they weren't as good as either the Ladera or the Neal Family wines. It could have been that after tasting some amazing cabs with some age on them, it wasn't fair to try a fairly young 2009 Howell Mountain cab which I thought was the best of their wines. I'll let you know in a few years since I purchased 3 bottles and I'll probably open one about then. The other disappointing thing was that even though we purchased 3 bottles, we were charged two tasting fees (we didn't realize it until we got home and saw the credit card statement).

After the wine tasting, we freshened up and went to the Westin for our La Toque GEMs wine dinner. The La Toque food was good, but suffered a little from the fact that it was dinner for about 75 people. However, many of the wines were incredible. I'll have to update this post because I don't have my notes here, but I have to mention a few highlights that don't involve the wines per se. Before the dinner, there was a reception and you got to mingle and meet with other GEMs members, the winemakers, principals and marketing people for the various wineries before finding a table to sit at for dinner. Lois and I ended up at a table with Phillip Corallo-Titus, the winemaker for Chappellet and Rachel Miller, one of the tasting room hosts for Robert Craig along with two very nice couples (GEMs members like us). Phil (a fellow Davis grad) was very interesting and we got to chat quite a bit not only about Chappellet and the wines he makes there, but also his family's wines and how future generations might continue the business. I'm always amazing at how much passion winemakers have for what they craft.

More latter

[This message has been edited by RichardSE (edited 07-30-2012).]

IP: 108.59.136.30

RichardSE
Member
posted 07-30-2012 09:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Yesilovewine,

We ended up finding an accent tile that we liked in Oakland at a place called Import Tile. It had quite a few different tiles in stock and we only needed 6 sheets of black and red glass tiles. I know that red glass is difficult and expensive to make, but finding any in Hawaii was so hard!

Hawkeye,

Sorry, I wasn't here to answer your question. Ssala is right. Chappellet gives their special wines the Pritchard Hill designation. The grapes are of course from Pritchard Hill.

IP: 108.59.136.30

ssala
Member
posted 07-15-2012 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ssala   Click Here to Email ssala     Edit/Delete Message
Pritchard Hill wines are produced by Chappellet.

IP: 75.70.79.148

Hawkeye
Member
posted 07-15-2012 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Richard,

I just looked in Preiser Kee for Prichard Hill. Either I am going blind or it is not listed. Can you give me some information and location? Thanks.

-Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.28.96

yesilovewine
Member
posted 07-03-2012 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Richard.
We are looking at tile these days too. Quite an adventure, isn't it? Have y'all checked out the tile place in Sonoma? There is a tile manufacturer that specializes in accents...the name escapes me but I can look it up if you like....

Found it...Sonoma Tile Co. located in Windsor, I think

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 07-04-2012).]

IP: 71.65.254.43

RichardSE
Member
posted 07-03-2012 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
We just got back from a wonderful time in Napa. Things are a little busy, but I'll provide a few notes on our first day.

Day 1: We spent the morning looking for tile (we're doing renovations and wanted some nice tile as an accent color for our bathroom. At 11:00 a.m., we had our first tasting at Chappellet. Dominic Chappellet was our guide. He's the youngest son of Donn and Molly Chappellet, the founders of the winery. His 14 year old niece, Amanda was working at the winery, sweeping up. She was quite charming, introducing herself and with some prompting even pointed out a painting she did in the entry area. Every time we go there, my wife says that the view looking out of the doorway is the most beautiful view in Napa. She also says that she knows that I think the view looking into the barrel room is better .

We have a tour and tasting and the wines were very good. I always enjoy tasting the Pritchard Hill Cabernet Savingion and the 2009 did not disappoint, although it was quite young. We ended purchasing three bottles of the 2009 Las Piedras, one of which was for our picinic. The Las Piedras is a bordeaux blend that is available for club members at about $42 a bottle. It's not something that you'd want to age, but it was nice looking at the view of Lake Hennessey from the picnic grounds. We were very luck that the weather was almost perfect.

After our picnic, we did some more shopping before heading to dinner at Bistro Jeanty. The food was great as usual. I had the cassoulet which was very good, but I wondered if I should have ordered something else instead. We ended up going to sleep early because we decided to drive to Oakland early in the morning to find the elusive red accent tile.

IP: 108.59.136.30

yesilovewine
Member
posted 07-02-2012 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Even though we aren't Napa folks, I'm really getting a lot of good info from you p5, so do be sure to write back, please.
We intend to add a "Napa day" to our next trip and you are talking about places we've never heard of!

IP: 71.65.254.43

p5sky
Junior Member
posted 07-02-2012 12:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p5sky   Click Here to Email p5sky     Edit/Delete Message
I have communicated with Blue Hall but nothing inked yet. As far as other Howell Mtn options I really like White Cottage wines. I have not tasted at their winery but I have heard great reviews/stories about how comfortable the tasting is. I am still leaving time for a change to hit up White Cottage. I'm also looking at Bravante, I'll update everyone in late July.

IP: 24.205.181.115

Hawkeye
Member
posted 06-25-2012 12:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Richard,

I still have not heard from Blue Hall. I guess I will have to skip it because Ladera wants us there by 3:00 and cannot make it with Blue Hall on the schedule. Both husband and wife are doctors and do quite a bit of international travel so they might just be hard to reach.

When I find a website that does not say anything about a tasting, I always email or call and nine out of ten times, they will schedule a tasting. That is what I did at Spence and she was very pleased that I would bring a group to taste their wines.

-Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.28.96

RichardSE
Member
posted 06-24-2012 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Hello Hawkeye,

I've tried a few emails to Blue Hall and haven't received a response. I might try again in November if you're lucky.

I don't think I have much in the way of recommendations -- most places I would recommend you already know about. I wouldn't mind going to Robert Foley, but they don't offer tastings. Some of the places that I've thought about visiting are, White Cottage Ranch, Lamborn and Summit Lake, but I don't know much about them. Do you know anything about any of those?

I had looked at Spence, but I wasn't sure that they did tastings.

IP: 67.49.148.81

Hawkeye
Member
posted 06-24-2012 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Richard,
I contacted Blue Hall a couple months ago about a tasting and got a favorable reply. Last week I emailed them again with a date and time but have heard nothing from them. May try once more and if they don't answer, will look for another place. Do you have a recommendation?

I had a recommendation of Spence Winery up on Howell and went to their website and it looked pretty awesome so I scheduled it. Will be interested in how it turns out. O'Shaughnessey, Black Sears and Ladera will round out the Howell Mountain day.

-Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.28.96

RichardSE
Member
posted 06-24-2012 10:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Sky,

I highly recommend Ladera. They have great cabs and if you're going in the fall, they have special vines so you can taste the different variatials. If you've never tasted wine grapes, it's worth it just for that. If you're a GEMs member, they even have a tour and tasting with cheese and salumi. The last time, we got to finish off with a barrel tasting of their Howell Mountain cab which was great fun. I have a case of their 2002 Lone Canyon Cab waiting for me to pick-up that I can't wait for. I was thinking of Blue Hall, but they never returned my email and I wasn't sure if they did tastings because their website doesn't say anything about it.

Hawkeye,

I wanted to go to Black Sears along with Outpost, but they were booked on the Howell Mountain day. Of the two, I would have preferred Black Sears only because I've had their grapes before in other labels and I was curious what their own label would be like. I told Chris that I'll have to schedule it for November -- that's our second annual guy's trip to Napa. Mike and I had some difficulty finding more guys to go, but we convinced one more friend to come this year. It's always a challenge coming up with the right mix of new and old wineries, especially when you're planning for others. I would have added more new wineries for us on this trip, but I had to pick up some wine that some of my wine clubs are holding for me and my wife has her favorites, too. The November trip will probably involve a few more new wineries.

IP: 67.49.148.81

Hawkeye
Member
posted 06-20-2012 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Richard,

I am envious . . . I have to wait until October to make the trip. Have been working on my itinerary for 11 people. Will get to visit a few new to us wineries, but not as many as we would if it weren't for the group.

If you are going to Outpost, go down the road to the end (not too far) to Black Sears. I love their zin and the cab is not too shabby either. Both BS and Outpost are Thomas Rivers Brown made wines.

-Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.28.96

p5sky
Junior Member
posted 06-19-2012 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p5sky   Click Here to Email p5sky     Edit/Delete Message
That doesn't help me one bit!!!

I was looking at going to Ladera but also considering Bravante & Blue Hall. I am tasting Pina, which is mtn fruit but the tasting room is in Silverado.

Darn, another look over the itinerary AGAIN!

IP: 24.205.181.115

RichardSE
Member
posted 06-19-2012 09:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
Hello Sky,

We seem to have similar tastes. Chappellet used to be my favorite winery, but has since been replaced by Ladera. I've enjoyed Behrens wines now for quite a while.

IP: 108.59.136.30

p5sky
Junior Member
posted 06-19-2012 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p5sky   Click Here to Email p5sky     Edit/Delete Message
Great mountain trips! My Howell itinerary may be similar. I have always liked the Behrens wines, they are quite unique in style.

Chappallet is a great classic cab.

IP: 24.205.181.115

RichardSE
Member
posted 06-19-2012 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichardSE     Edit/Delete Message
I haven't been on for a bit, but my wife and I will be in Napa next week for a couple of wine events. Here's what we have planned so far:

Day 0: We get into Napa, pretty late.

Day 1: Chappellet Winery -- tour and tasting followed by a picnic in the member's picnic area. We will have to fill in at least one or two other winery on this day, but we're planning on dinner at Bistro Jeanty.

Day 2: Howell Mountain: Ladera (tour and tasting with cheese and meats), Neal Family and Outpost followed by a Gems All Star dinner at La Toque.

Day 3: Spring Mountain: Pride Mountain, Behrens, and Terra Valentine followed by a Gems party at Silverado. Dinner at Sol bar.

Day 4: Nothing planned, but I think we'll probably spend the day in the bay area.

So, it's a mixture of some old and new places in a very short trip.

IP: 108.59.136.30

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