Napa Valley


Fantastic 4 embarked on our first tour of the New Year. For this tour we brought along two good friends, who are also wine enthusiast. Our first stop was Patz and Hall where Tony and Al are members.  Amanda, at Patz and Hall, had set up a wine and cheese pairing for us. She poured their 2010 Hyde Vineyard- Carneros Chardonnay, 2010 Zio Tony Ranch- Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 2010 Hyde Vineyard-Carneros Pinot Noir, 2010 Chenoweth Ranch- Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2010 Burnside Vineyard- Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

The wines were paired with cheeses from Oxbow Cheese and Wine Merchants. Miller Farms provided Truffle Salt Nut (insane), and Napa Cookie Company made the White Wine Snaps.

My favorite Chardonnay was the 2010 Hyde Vineyard. I thought it was well balanced, floral, a little buttery, a little oaky. My over all favorite was the 2010 Chenoweth Ranch. That seemed to be the consensus. When you put your nose in that glass, your mouth starts to water. That was just a glimpse of what was to come. It was a mouth full of Pinot goodness. Once we paired it with cheese, a whole new level of flavors and complexity was revealed. The Chenoweth retails for $58, $46 for club members. Same as the Hyde Chardonnay. If you see any Patz and Hall Pinots on a wine list, you can’t go wrong selecting one. We said good-bye to our host and headed to our next tasting. Artesa.


The wines we tasted were the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2010 Estate Reserve Chardonnnay, Carneros, 2009 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Carneros, 2010 Artisan Series Tempranillo, Alexander Valley and the Rive Gauch. All the wines were as

Fountain at Artesa

advertised by the tasting notes. I thought the 2010 Tempranillo was the most interesting of the tasting. It is a complicated wine that you can spend hours talking about the different notes that cross at different points on the palate. Most of Artesa’s wines are reasonablely priced but, I thought the Tempranillo priced at $40 was a little expensive. Next stop Caymus.


Tasting at Caymus

We were treated to another wine and cheese pairing. Jim, our host, was knowledgeable and engaging. This was my first visit to Caymus but it won’t be my last. Caymus had the best value wine of our trip. Their 2009 Napa Valley Zinfandel is priced at $32. This was one of the best Zins that I have ever tasted and I would have easily spent twice that much for a bottle. Their 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is great out of the bottle on its own. The best deal of the trip was also a Caymus wine. Their 2011 Meiomi Pinot Noir sells for $22.00. Buy a case and thank me later. Next Stop, Turnbull.

Turnbull was fun. Samantha, Abby and Monica were great. They were friendly and knowledgeable and they poured some nice wines. My favorite was the viognier. Final stop. Opus One.


Opus One

Opus One produces one vintage per year. They sell for $225 a bottle. Opus One offers a tasting of that vintage at $40 per glass. Tastings are done by appointments. Hey, I’m just a simple country boy. I don’t want to spend $40 on a bottle let alone just for one glass. The wine was good but I wasn’t motivated to drop 225 bucks. It was a Napa Valley experience that I got to share with good friends.

Let us know what your favorite wineries are and tell us what you think of the wineries we have visited. Until next time.

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