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

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Author Topic:   Napa Valley Trip Report
gcb17
Junior Member
posted 09-18-2012 06:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gcb17   Click Here to Email gcb17     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks for the great trip report, Reb. Wonderful stuff here. Work has been crazy so just now got a chance to see this. Hawkeye was very influential with our last trip as well, and you visited several of our favorites. We visited Dancing Hares at the suggestion of Lisa Redmon last trip and the fee was $50 apiece, which was fully waived with purchase. However there was a 3 bottle minimum. While we certainly enjoyed the wines and were good with purchasing I personally enjoyed the O'Shaugnessy wines more on that visit. We also had to purchase a wine cellar last year to keep up with our growing love. We have limited space and live in Florida where there are no basements and evil garages, so we purchased a Le Cache cabinet that looks like a piece of furniture since it has to reside alongside living space. I will say that you should go higher capacity than what you think you'll need - they can fill up fast.

Thanks again for the great report!

Chris

IP: 71.122.98.47

Hawkeye
Member
posted 09-09-2012 05:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Damombo,

Our first wine fridge was a Haier, maybe 25 or 30 bottles at most. We must have had this for 8 years or more. It stays in the garage also and is set at 46º for whites and pretty well keeps that temp. Has worked well for us.

-Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.28.86

damombo
Member
posted 09-08-2012 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Reb (and Hawkeye),

Thanks for the trip report - y'all had a great trip!

We have two 100 bottle Franklin Chef refrigerators at the lake - got them at Fry's. No trouble so far - knock wood. Then last Spring my husband built a wine room - approx. 4' x 8' - holds nearly 800 bottles. We bought a Wine Guardian a/c unit (and a bunch of racks) on line at their website, and it has been great. Haven't noticed much of an increase in our electric bill, so that's excellent!

At our home in Houston, we have a different brand that holds about 70 bottles, but I'll have to check it tomorrow night - don't recall the brand. It has functioned well, too. The only brand I would say Stay Away about is Haier. We bought a small one and it had to be replaced twice. Then the third time it went kaput, we said take it away and give us our money back.

IP: 96.8.187.200

Hawkeye
Member
posted 09-07-2012 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hey Reb,

Because of space, I have to keep my wine refrigerator in the garage, therefore, it had to have extra insulation and cooling abilities. At the time I purchased mine, VinoTemp was the only one that I could find that met my requirements. I believe it is somewhere around 300 bottles. I purchased it directly from VinoTemp. I have been very pleased with it.

-Hawkeye

IP: 173.247.28.86

OMRebel
Member
posted 09-07-2012 08:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OMRebel   Click Here to Email OMRebel     Edit/Delete Message
Hey Hawkeye,

We absolutely enjoyed Kelham. It was at the end of a long day and I believe we tasted 7 wines. The 2001 stood out for me even after the long day. We brought some Kelham home with us too.

At Anamoly our host was the owner(dad). I lost all my notes so I forgot his name. I will do a much better job next time around.

Was the French Laundry worth it? It was to us. They served 9 courses and all were small plates but when the meal was over you had eaten more than enough food. Would I go back there every time I am in Napa? No, but I would go again with someone that would enjoy the experience. It was kind of a bucket list thing too. Great food!!

I am now in the market for a new wine refrigerated cabinet. What does everyone have? I am looking at EuroCave. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Cheers,

Reb

IP: 75.120.212.192

Hawkeye
Member
posted 09-06-2012 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hey Reb,

Thanks for a great trip report. We will be tasting at Baldacci on our October trip. If I remember correctly, they have some very good Cabs. Robert Biala makes some of the best Zins in either Napa or Sonoma. Will have to go back there. Haven't been since Kandice Jessup left their tasting room. Was at Goosecross only one time and did not have a good experience with the host. He had someone else there that was more important.

Sorry you missed your hot air balloon trip. One more thing to make you return. I found it hard to believe that Dancing Hares charges $100 for a tasting so emailed my friend Lisa at Redmon and asked her. She said they do charge that but refund some with a purchase. They would have to refund a big chunk for me to go there. That is the price of a GOOD bottle of wine. I am glad you enjoyed Hall Rutherford. My take was the same as yours, I could have stayed there all day. Imagine a wine dinner in that room . . . fabulous. Did you enjoy Kelham? Couldn't tell from your message. Were you able to taste the 2001 which I think is at the top of the Empire State Building.

Then you stopped at three of my favorite wineries. Lisa is the owner and hostess at Redmon and a very pleasant individual. You can tell that she likes her wines. We belong to her wine club. Jeff at Chase is one of the nicest individuals I know in Napa Valley. He always has time for you and makes you feel like you are the only person in the world. Anomoly is one of those small producers that I enjoy finding. Did you have Mark or Seth as your host?

Spottswoode produces one of my favorite wines, their Estate Cab. A little pricey, but it slides overy your palate ever so gently. O'Shaughnessy was one of my finds last year. Their Cabs are fantastic and we also belong to their wine club.

Pizzeria Tra Vigne is one of our favorite lunch destinations also. Another is Pacific Blues on Yountville.

Did you feel that the French Laundry was worth the cost? It is pretty Pricey! We had a reservation once, but cancelled.

Reb, it sounds like we have similar tasted in wines. Thanks for the great report.

-Hawkeye

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 09-06-2012).]

IP: 173.247.28.86

RC456
Member
posted 09-05-2012 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RC456     Edit/Delete Message
Reb

Enjoyed reading your report and glad that you had a great time. Welcome to the "Can't wait until I go back" club!

RC

IP: 75.44.132.203

OMRebel
Member
posted 09-05-2012 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OMRebel   Click Here to Email OMRebel     Edit/Delete Message
Day 1 Saturday August 25
We left the hotel in San Francisco at 8:00 am to head to Napa Valley. We went to Oakville Grocery to pick up sandwiches to have for lunch later. Our first winery stop was at Robert Mondavi for their Signature Tour. The tour was just okay for me, probably wouldn’t recommend it but my wife said she liked it. Next we went to Baldacci Vineyards and had lunch on the grounds. Our tasting was hosted by Alissa and we enjoyed it and bought several bottles of wine. Next stop was at Robert Biale and again really enjoyed the tasting. We joined their wine club and bought 4 bottles to take with us. Our final stop of the day was at Goosecross ( I wanted to skip but my wife loves whites so there you go). I was tasted out but put my game face on and made it through the tasting. Bought a couple of bottles of Chardonnay for you know who. For dinner that night we went to Bottega and had an outstanding meal. I had the pork belly salad and beef short ribs and they were simply awesome. I highly recommend this place. Best wineries of the day for me were Baldacci and Robert Biale.

Day 2 Sunday August 26
We got up early to go on the hot air balloon ride(on my bucket list) and were to meet them at Domaine Chandon. We were told that we weren’t going to launch from Napa Valley due to fog and we were looking at a 50 minute drive to somewhere else, so I opted out. . I received an email from Dancing Hares about my reservation and was told the tasting fee would be $100. I couldn’t believe it so I cancelled my tasting with them. Our first stop after this was at Round Pond Olive tour. I had no idea we would be sipping the olive oil…I know this sounds yucky and it was not really to my liking. Neither of us really cared for it but we did get a salad out of the deal for lunch.  Next stop was Hall Rutherford and, my, oh my, words cannot describe the chandelier and tasting room. It was magical to me and my wife. I could have sat in that room all afternoon as it was mesmerizing. What a wonderful experience! We bought a couple of bottles of cab here. From here we went to Caymus as it is one of our favorites back home. I enjoyed the tasting but it was a little of a disappointment after going to Hall and seeing that tasting environment. Our final stop of the day was to Kelham and tasted 7 wines I think. We again bought wine here. Dinner that night was at Goose and Gander and it was mediocore. Highlight of the day was Hall’s tasting room.

Day 3 Monday August 27
Our first stop today was at Schramsberg. It was a great tour and I now have a new appreciation for all the time it takes to make a sparkling wine. Wife loved it and so did I. I would recommend it. From here we went to Redmond and tasted with Lisa. What a nice lady! I have lost my notes but we bought some wine here and it was very enjoyable. Next stop was on to Chase Family and a visit with Jeff. Hawkeye you are right he is a nice guy. We bought wine here too. Our final stop of the day was at Anamoly. It was a fun way to end the day. We really enjoyed each winery today…not one bad choice among them. Dinner that night was at Bouchon. It was very good, too.

Day 4 Tuesday August 28
We started the day going to Spottswoode. It was an enjoyable tour and we enjoyed the tastings. We bought several bottles here. We then went to Outpost and had another wonderful tasting and bought several more bottles. I didn’t care for the Grenache but everything else was good. Great views and our hostess was celebrating her 25th birthday so we had some cake too. Our final stop of the day was O’Shaughnessy Estate and it was well worth it. Our hostess was from Virginia but had gone to college at Ole Miss so we had an instant connection as that is my college I cheer for. They were just releasing their new Cab and it was awesome!! We signed up for their wine club. Not a bad winery in this group today either. After leaving O’Shaughnessy we headed to Pizzeria Tra Vigne to eat a late lunch. While there I checked my phone messages and saw I had a message. When I retrieved the message it was from 3 hours earlier from The French Laundry. They had a cancellation and had left me a message to call them. I had asked to be on their wait list for every night we were in NV. I felt sure they had already given the reservation to someone else by now but I reluctantly called and actually got the reservation at 9:15 pm. Dinner was fabulous and a great way to end our trip in Napa Valley.

Some of the things I learned on this trip: for us 2 to 3 wineries is about the right number to visit in a day; I really am drawn to the smaller wineries and can’t wait to go back; 4-5 days is about the right number of days for us with maybe one day of down time. We hit it pretty hard and had a blast but a couple of days our taste buds were shot. Finally, a very big thank you to all of you for your help and suggestions on this board.

Cheers,

Reb

[This message has been edited by OMRebel (edited 09-05-2012).]

IP: 12.34.246.80

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