Napa Explored

Hill and I took a trip to Napa with some good friends for a little one nighter getaway. First stop, always a must Patz & Hall. We had our usual sit down with three chards and three pinots. My favorite was the Burnside Pinot. Earthy, mineral-ly with a cherry cola finish.
Second stop and I must admit the most disappointing was Far Niente Winery. Craig our host was friendly, knowledgable and funny. Although we had a pleasant experience, the wine was a let down. I mean hello 150$ for a bottle of wine that really should be around 80$ at the most. They are living off of their name rather than living up to it. The winery itself was beautiful with gorgeous views. We did taste the Dolce and it was good but not for 85$. Paso Ports makes way better dessert wine. Happy that we stopped by but won’t be back.
We ended our day at Mumm. Who doesn’t love a sparkling wine at the end of the day? Nothing out of this world but did the trick. My fav was the Cuvée M slightly sweet with a refreshing taste.
The plan was to stop by Trespass on the way home. Boy am I glad we did. The owner Donny was such a delight. Down to earth and funny. I felt like I was in Paso instead of Napa because he did not have the Napa arrogance…..but he did have some great wine. He does all reds mostly cabs and great blends. My favorite was his 2009 Cab. Very complex and so good you could drink it all by itself or pair it with a nice juicy steak to create a memorable dinner.
On a whim we stopped at Paraduxx Winery. Travis helped us with our tasting. My favorite was their “GSM” more like SMG as Travis put it. So tasty with chocolate covered cherry flavors on the finish. Smooth, light and beautiful in color and taste.
Overall a great time exploring with new found favorites and one big disappointment. Oh well it can’t always be perfect and I guess I’m not too sad because if Far Niente was all that and a bag of chips I would be broke :) I guess it’s all in how you look at it.

Napa Valley Day out…..

We are in the road heading home after a great day and evening out in Napa…..
Started out with a cheese and wine pairing at Patz and Hall. Imagine a beautifully decorated salon with 5 glasses filled with delicious wine and a plate of tasty cheeses in front of you. Doc and I have done this a few times with our good friends who are members. Always a great start to a wine filled day. They have excellent pinots that are unique and can be drunk alone but even better paired. My favorite of this trip was the 2010 Chenoweth Pinot. Beautiful rich red color with tons of flavor.
Next up Artesa winery. I was not impressed especially for the prices. They had a sparkling that was good but worth half the price of what they were charging.
Caymus winery where we had an appointment was good but started out bad. First we were a few minutes late to our appointment, which we called to inform them we would be 5 or so minutes late. When we got there we were told to walk over to this one area where they would take us into the sit down tasting. While we were waiting we were greeted with a snobbish attitude of one of the women who worked there. She was pretty rude telling us that it had already started and we should just go to the regular pouring area. Then someone else came over and let us in to a freezing dark barrel room with a table that was set up. Three people were there getting started on their first glass of wine. Their saving grace was the host Jim. He was great with lots of personality and funny. He was knowledgeable and had a some good stories. My favorite was their pinot 2011 Belle Glos and 09 zin. We also bought their blend which was not open to taste but at 22 bucks a bottle and the way Jim described it we couldn’t pass it up. When we got back to the hotel later that day we tried it…..my regret is not buying more!
If it wasn’t for Jim I would have left without a purchase of anything no matter how great it was based on the way we were treated when we arrived. Jim saved the experience and now has brought in new fans of their wine.
Turnbull was next on the agenda…..a specific request of myself because the last time I had gone to Napa I loved it. Their private tasting room was not open due to the heater not working so we headed over to the regular tasting room. We were greeted by warm friendly girls who were great! Samantha, Abby and Monica. From what I remember at my last visit were some amazing reds. However, my favorite out of the tasting was their 2011 Oakville Viognier. Light, crisp with the apricot flavor that I enjoy so much when tasting a Viognier.
We had a few extra minutes left before having our car return us to our hotel so we made our way to Opus. I know I know Opus……freaking expensive right? Well it was. It’s such a beautiful place to visit and such an experience that is definitely worth trying once. To be honest it was a little late in our wine filled day to really discuss what we tasted. They were both red wines that were ok but not knock your socks off…..and if you are paying 45 dollars per tasting I expect some knock my socks off kinda action. No doubt they make some pretty amazing wines but it’s definitely not in our wine budget to become fans of their wine. Like I said a must stop for the experience.
Later we went to Morimoto for dinner. A great unique experience with some very tasty dishes. I don’t suggest the drinks…..mine tasted like a floral soap with jalapeño. Stick with saki or wine there.
After we were going to walk back but it became clear very fast it was way to cold to do that so we ducked into a bar to call for a ride. Fish Story was the name. The bartender was rude but she made some pretty good drinks.
We stayed at the Westin a good safe bet. It’s nice, clean with comfy beds. They have a very nice bar/lounge area.
The next morning we all met up for breakfast at Model Bakery a recommendation from the guy who drove us back to the hotel. All I can say is “wow”. If you are a bread person like I am this is heaven! Fresh made bread, pastries, cake. Their English muffins are amazing.
A few key points. Patz and Hall a must…great wine amazing presentation, Artesa a must skip, Caymus great wine poor customer service unless you get to deal with Jim, Opus if you want to spurge check it out. Morimoto if you enjoy sushi and delicate interesting food. Fish Story if you don’t mind rude zero personality bartenders but excellent drinks. Finally for amazing bread pastries and breakfast sandwiches Model Bakery is an absolute must!