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

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Author Topic:   Trip Report
posted 10-25-2012 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Big,

What a great trip report! Sounds like you and Mrs. Big had a great time.

Like you, I am more comfortable in Napa than Sonoma. Plus, Napa does the BIG Cabs which I am partial to. They are also beginning to produce some great Zins like Biale, Black Sears, Venge, Chase, etc., so there is no real reason to go to Sonoma anymore. We did ship home some Pezzi King from Sonoma, but that was the only one that we really cared for.

I can't believe you ate that much. When I go to wine country, my appetite seems to leave me. Maybe it is because of all the wine I consume with little tastes here and there.

Good trip! Now is the time to begin your itinerary for the next one.

By the way, I have been looking for rental cars in March and they seem to be running $100.00 and more than in the past.


[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 10-25-2012).]


posted 10-25-2012 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
I had the seat all the way back. I felt like Hightower in Police Academy.


posted 10-25-2012 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Sounds like a fun trip!

Gotta say that when I read you were able to eat THREE kobe burgers, I was thinking about that teeny tiny Fiat Were your knees up under your chin, even in the passenger seat?

Enjoyed hearing about some new places. We are heading out this Saturday! Can't wait!!


posted 10-24-2012 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigsemi   Click Here to Email bigsemi     Edit/Delete Message
Got back from a few days in the Valley last night. Flew into San Fran Friday afternoon, unfortunately we were delayed a bit, so instead of getting in at 3:30, it was after 4:00 before we landed, and after 5:00 before we had our car, needless to say we spent a good deal of time in traffic. Got up to Calistoga about 8:00pm. Checked into the Carlin Cottages. Nice place, had full kitchen in the room, pool, hot tub, and 2 gas grills.

Headed over to Pacifico for a little dinner, then turned in for the night.

Started Saturday at Palisades for breakfast, then headed to our first tasting, Jax (which also happens to be the name of my wife's pug), a little north on 128.
Not the easiest place to find, you have got to see the rusty wine bottle, with a red Jax on it. After driving past it twice, we finally got to where we needed to be. We tasted outside with a nice cheese plate to accompany the wines. We ended up buying 2 bottles of their red blend called taureau (toro). The rest was nothing really worth writing about, nice setting, the purchase took care of the tasting fees, and the cheese was a nice touch.

Next we stopped by Bennett Lane to grab a couple bottles of Maximus.

Then it was off to Reverie for their open house. They were pouring all their wines and grilling Kobe burgers. I had 3 huge burgers and did some serious damage to their stock of petite Verdot.

After we headed to V. Sattui since we had some time before our last tasting. Spent a few minutes with Wine Maker Brooks Painter, and Vineyard Manager David Bajar, which was a nice treat since it is a crazy time of year. We headed down to the member's cellar, tasted a bit, visited with winery Pres, Tom Davies, and a couple others who we are friends with. We also shipped home a couple cases of futures we had ordered forever ago.

After our Sattui stop we headed to or last stop of the day, Paoletti. Nothing really worth discussing, cave was ok, wine was marginal, did not help that we had just drank a ton of great wine at Reverie and Sattui. Finished our tasting and got out of there. Last stop ended up being the W.H. Smith tasting room in down town Calistoga. We tasted 5 pinots, and a cab. Nothing really stood out, but the wife found a few gifts for friends, and we got a tip about the Sonoma cheese trail, something for a future visit.

Stopped at Boskos for a nice dinner using our groupon!

Sunday got up, hit Palisades, then off to give Sonoma another shot. I had planned a Pinot day for my lovely wife. First scheduled stop was Rochioli, but we got there early, so we headed next door to Hop Kiln. We really enjoyed their white blend, thousand flowers, and their twin corners Pinot. We took home a bottle of each, tasting covered by purchase.

After we headed to Rochioli. Unfortunately all their good pinots get sent out to their club members. The tasting was free, but nothing noteworthy being poured.

Next it was off to Mueller. We really enjoyed this stop. Several good pinots, and we ended up talking with owner/wine maker Mr. Mueller, while tasting. We ended up taking home a Cuvée X. We also left with a lunch recommendation and a couple free tastings for some other wineries. One of which was Russian Hill, which happened to be on our way to lunch. Free tasting for 2 in hand we stopped in. We enjoyed the tasting of pinots and Syrah. Ended up taking a top block Syrah and Russian river Pinot.

From there we searched out our lunch recommendation, Willi's wine bar, unfortunately it was closed for lunch on Sundays. So we headed toward our last stop, Siduri, and ended up at the Piner Cafe just around the corner. It turned out to be a nice surprise, with great diner food, and big portions.

At Siduri we again tasted several great pinots, and ended up with their, Lewis Pinot and Rex Pickett's follow up book to Sideways, Vertical. Three chapters in, so far so good.

From there we headed back to Calistoga. Wandered in a few shops, then headed back to the Cottage for leftovers from last nights dinner at Boskos. A couple hours later we ended up back at the bar at Boskos drinking great port, beer, and enjoying another roasted artichoke, garlic bread, and pumpkin cheese cake. A great way to end a successful trip to Sonoma.

About Sonoma, you have to work for it over there. Not like Napa, where the wineries are just one after another on 29 or Silverado. If you want to taste somewhere, you better really want to, because, they are not an easy find, lots of twists and turns to find any of them. Not sure if we will ever get comfortable over there like we are in Napa, but I'm happy we had a great experience, finally!

Monday, got breakfast at Gotts this time (first trip ever that we've not had dinner/lunch at Gott's in 7 years of trips).
First stop was Paraduxx. Loved the tasting room. Would have been awesome to taste outside if it had not rained the whole night before. Spent about 30 minutes outside til they opened watching about 15 hummingbirds do there thing, they were a lot of fun to watch.

Tasting wise it was all blends, and we got a meat and cheese plate to go with the tasting. We liked several of their wines and ended up buying two P Blends, also tasted their Pinot, which was good, but not quite like what we had tasted the day before. We'll definitely be bringing our group back here in April.

Next was the board favorite, Hall Rutherford. Awesome wine, awesome setting, we ended up in a great group. Could not have asked for a much better experience, we bought a Cab Franc and the big Kathryn Cab. We'll be back with our group in April!

We then doubled back to V. Sattui for tasting and visiting with more friends that work at the winery, and also grabbed a bit to eat. So nice to go by when there are not crushing crowds.

The last stop on the day was Razi, great last stop. A Platypus group cleared out and we sat and talked with Owner Fred Razi. Great guy, we shot the bull, while tasting his great wines. We ended up bringing home his 09 Chard, Razi red, and 09 Cab. He also had the coolest corkscrew I've ever seen, he has a list of about 30 people waiting to see if he can find an affordable source for them, his son paid $250 for it. It really is that cool. We are coming back here as we'll in April!

We did make an unofficial stop at Hall St. Helena to try the Craig's Blend, and the late harvest Sauv Blanc, as I'm a Sauv Blanc junky. One of the most interesting late harvest wines I've ever had. We bought 2 along with a Craig's.

This last day was one of the best tasting days we've ever had, great wine everywhere, we bought a bunch, and all are spots we'll return to soon.

Dinner was one last time at Boskos, why ruin a good thing.

The next morning we headed out. I could not for the life of me find our 2nd key. Dropped the other in the night box and headed to Sattui to grab another shipper case. Talked to the owner of the cottages before we left Sattui and he said to just mail it back if we found the other key. I thought that was really cool of him, considering I know some places charge an arm and a leg if a real key is lost. We'll probably stay here again in July with our daughter.

Dropped off the fiat (the wife drove almost the whole time, because i barely fit in the driver seat. very small car, was lucky to get our 2 carry-ons and the 2 cases of wine in it) at Sfo and headed to the Virgin terminal. A great trip, can't wait for April to get here!

[This message has been edited by bigsemi (edited 10-24-2012).]


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