Thursday, August 16, 2012

Napa Valley

Happy Birthday, Bryan!! I love you!

We started our day today at the Robert Mondavi Winery!

Side Note: We are staying in Sonoma and if you are looking at a map the roads basically make a big square... We are staying on the left side of the square. Napa Valley is on the right side of the square and to get from here to there you can either take super squiggly, twisty, turny short-cut road (the top of the square) or go the slightly longer, much straighter route (the bottom of the square). TAKE THE BOTTOM OF THE SQUARE! I vomed somewhere along the squiggle road yesterday, and we learned our lesson... End of side note... Just keepin it real.

Like I said, we started our day at the Robert Mondavi Winery!!
What a good tour. I don't know what I expected from such a large winery, but the tour was really so good and informative, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

New plantings. These will start producing in about four years. You can see further back in the picture some of their older vines that are larger. I think the guide said they had vines from 67 years old to these brand new ones. Most wineries we've seen seem to think that the life of a vine is between 14 and 30 years. After that, the grapes tend to be fewer in yield and less profitable to keep around.
New Oak Barrels! Ready for the harvest!
two year old wine

This tour paired their boldest red with food. They say extremely tannic wine really responds to protein and fats in food and instead of attaching to your mouth and leaving that dry feeling, when given the chance to attach to food protein, the wine really opens up. Who knew?
After Robert Mondavi we went to Yountville for lunch at Bottega, Michael Chiarello's restaurant. I may have mentioned this, but the food really keeps getting better and better! The caprese salad I had was something I'll dream about for a long time.
What made it amazing: fresh heirloom tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, basil oil, and 'balsamic caviar' which I heard explained as balsamic vinegar mixed with gelatin and dropped with an eye dropper into freezing cold olive oil. I'll be trying this one at home.

Of course I wanted fresh spaghetti from Michael Chiarello's kitchen!

Sweet Corn risotto with hamachi

We had a few minutes before our lunch reservation so we walked around Yountville. We walked right up on The French Laundry and their garden! (we couldn't afford a meal here--- at $1200 for a dinner for two and a bottle of wine, it was a bit out of our price range) We walked through their garden for a while and oohed and ahhhed at the 15 varietals of carrots and the 25 distinct types of tomatoes etc etc... Amazing!

So next on our agenda was a tour and tasting of a more mechanical winery, BV. This tour was appealing mainly because you were able to do a barrel tasting and try young wines aged in both French and American Oak barrels. It's not delicious wine, obviously, because it's not ready, but it was neat to try.

Next was the St. Supery tasting room. We didn't tour here, just tastes. The Merlot was a standout.

We were hoping to get a chance to play petanque (I think it's similar to bocce ball) on the lawn here, but we didn't quite have time.

And finally, our last winery of the day was Honig. I don't think I got any good pictures there but every wine we had was remarkable. I think we both agreed that the Napa Valley 2009 Chardonnay was absolutely delicious. They made great rosé and reds as well as a sweet dessert wine. We generally don't tend toward sweet or white wines, but we've been surprised by how much we have liked the whites here!
Bryan putting some of his smelling and tasting skills into action! 

We stopped for dinner at Bouchon back in Yountville just across the street from our lunch spot.
 More delicious food and wine tomorrow! No complaints here!

1 comment:

  1. You and Bryan are the special two to enjoy this trip. You get so much out of it. It all seems so unreal. Guess that makes for a good vacation. What a birthday
    Bryan!!!! MaMaw