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  Napa Valley     [all categories]
  Napa Valley - Wineries to Visit
  April 2014 Napa Visit Notes

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Author Topic:   April 2014 Napa Visit Notes
posted 04-14-2014 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message

Really, really good trip post. We were just there in March, but your posting made me want to go back. Also read the Sonoma posting, but we haven't been over there for several years . . . just prefer Napa.

Thanks for you post. I was beginning to think this Board was defunct.

Lee (Hawkeye)


posted 04-13-2014 05:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
I KNOW D', We're just the red-headed stepsisters over there. Folks just don't know what they're missing in Sonoma.
We have made our last trip, however, so I really shouldn't care so much...no more West Coast wineries for me
However, Virginia has been doing quite well in world wide contests, and North Carolina seems to be doing pretty well too, so perhaps all isn't lost. Maybe you can catch me on the Virginia ( and North Carolina in the future) board sometime.


posted 04-11-2014 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
poooooor Yes


posted 04-11-2014 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Nice rundown of your visit! But anxiously await your post on the very lonely and sorely inactive Sonoma board ...


posted 04-11-2014 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Very enjoyable read, Jim. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your trip.
Isn't it wonderful that palates can be so different! I can tell from your post that we have some similarities and some differences And that's what make the world go 'round! And assures that we all have wine to enjoy...


Junior Member
posted 04-10-2014 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jkaiser20     Edit/Delete Message
See my post in the dining thread for some first info. Here are some notes on the wineries visited during the first week of April. We try to get to Napa (and Sonoma) at least two times a year. Our main purpose of the vacations is to have a good time. As such, we tend to go to places that we know, and hang out with folks that we know and consider friends. So we tend to only visit a few new wineries each trip. I'll note what was new and what was repeats.

Regusci (every trip, club members) We always have fun visiting our friends at Regusci and tasting their standard offerings and occasionally getting to take a taste of something brewing in the barrel for the future. Their merlot is just outstanding. Very big, bigger to me than quite a few cabs in the valley. The cab and the Patriarch always impress. We also find their the chard to be good, nothing crazy, just smooth, and we don't drink too many whites. And, finally, we sometimes spy a floating bottle of their Zin, which is really good. It is fun place with good people. Jim Regusci passed through and took a couple minutes to have a quick chat (he was on his way to do some work, we saw him later running a backhoe). Great guy.

Silverado (every trip, club members)
We are also friends with some of the Silverado folks. We were fortunate to get a chance to visit with the winemaker this trip. We had a good time discussing some winemaking tech (we are both engineers) and got to taste a few things brewing for the future. I normally take the opportunity of a visit to continue my education on 100% cabs. Their Solo was a mystery to me for a long time, I couldn't get my arms (taste buds) around it. At a somewhat high price point, hard to experiment in the home. We normally get a chance to taste some fresh Solo and some that has been breathing for several hours. Yummy. Used to be bitter, or maybe sharp is a better word, to me, but as I have tried more, I am starting to understand the depth. We have several vintage bottle of cab and merlot, and to quote the winemaker "drink those now, I'll make more" Good place with good grape.

Robert Biale (first, now club members)
Discovered the Black Chicken due to this board. Thank you those that have talked about it. We like zin, but not the crazy jammy junk being made up and down the valleys. We want pepper, we want spice. Robert Biale gave that to us. Went in with high hopes, and they were confirmed. Had fun doing a first thing in the morning tasting. Joined the club, looking forward to the shipments (Black Chicken every time!) This might have been the biggest score this trip.

Monticello (first visit)
Monticello was recommended by folks at Dry Creek Vineyard, and since we were right there after Robert Biale we stopped in. Did a walk-in reserve tasting. Wines were ok, our favorite was a 2010 Tietjen cab, so we took one with us. The tasting room was ok, the lady working was so-so at first, but warmed up. Didn't blow us away at all, but could see swinging by again.

Judds Hill (first visit)
We went into Napa proper for breakfast so I looked and found a close winery. We didn't have an appt., but figured it wouldn't be a problem to do an immediate appt. We didn't really like any of the wines, but did have a good time tasting outside. The worker was knowledgeable, and we had some technical discussions on vineyards, yield, and processes. Doubtful we will go back. The wines sort of lacked depth to us.

Black Stallion (second visit)
We went to the Stallion some trip last year. We liked enough to buy one of their high end wines. We also liked that we could sit during the tasting (my mom is sometimes with us and is mobility impaired) so we went back (yes, mom was with us that day). We didn't really like the wines this time. Can't really put a finger on it, just didn't do it. Even the high end one didn't blow us away, and we remembered that when we opened the one we bought with family it didn't seem worth the price. So we won't be hitting this again unless we have someone new with us (they open early).

Clos du Val (second visit)
We went here last year as well and had a good time. The distributed cab is pretty good, and we really like the winery only ones and their cab franc is good. We again had a good tasting. Got to compare a couple pinots, both from the same vineyard, but one from a specific block, the other from all of them. The single block was a bit too much and didn't impress. We ended up taking a bottle of the other one with us.

Smith-Madrone (first visit)
From our contacts at Regusci we found S-M, high up Spring Mtn. Cool place, decent wine, good time overall. It was cold and raining, but we had a good discussion with Stu about wine, guns, UC Davis (I'm an alum), and life. We weren't overly impressed with their reserve cab (high end targeting people who aren't us), but the Riesling was as good as promised, and the normal cab was good (we took a bottle....) It was a fun visit, would be fun to bring lunch and picnic up there.

Hope and Grace (first visit)
H&G have been on our list for several trips, but something always came up and we have put it off. Fun time and good wine. The staff was friendly, the dog cute (though it was fresh from cancer surgery and was now on three legs). We talked a lot about where the grapes come from for each wine, and the difference between them and Regusci (American versus French oak) We took a bottle of cab home with us and will be setting up a tasting soon with it. It was a nice place with nice atmosphere. And with Taco's Garcia just down road, will be going back. Oh, and yummy chocolate.

Hall Rutherford (first visit)
Scheduled an appt. due to recommendation from friend at Silverado. Missed the turn twice (check the website? nah, it has got to be right here....)We did a tour and tasting. The wine was ok, but nothing too special. Highlight was talking to a pro football player who in the group. I was able to get him aside and talk about taco trucks and dive bars (the finer things in life). He was down-to-earth and cool to spend an hour talking to. Overall not really worth the price to us. The wines aren't much different than plenty of others in the area.

Miner Family (second visit, first tasting)
We dashed into Miner a few minutes before closing. We had popped in once to check it out a couple years ago. It was crowded so we left, adding it to our list. Even though it was near closing, the welcomed us as friends. We went through a nice tasting and it was all quite good. The staff was knowledgeable and we learned about the winery and vineyards. We will be going back. Yes, we took a bottle of cab with us....)

Goosecross (every visit, club members)
We originally found Goosecross as recommended by our buds at Regusci. We joined the club (2 btls 4x a year) and have enjoyed the variety. They also do a 100% cab from Howell mtn. that was really grabbed us this visit. The only caution we have for Goosecross is because they were sold last year. The new owner is razing the existing tasting room (and the old winemaker's mother's house on the property) to redo the whole place. We like the wine and the winery. If they waver from that (fancy-pants tasting room, some other Hollywood stuff) we will immediately drop them. But this visit was a blast, so for now they stay in our good graces.

I think that about wraps up the Napa leg of our visit. The weather was rough for most of it, but since we also seem to collect a bunch of bottles, I like the 50 degree rainy days. When the sun comes up I become a stress case worrying about the grape on board.

Oh, we also poke our heads into Inglenook to look around at the memorabilia since we were in the area one day. Didn't taste, but of course a pretty cool place.

I still owe some Sonoma County food and winery info...will get to it soon.



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