Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Leisurely Wine Tasting Vacation

We have been on some wine tasting trips where we have visited as many as five wineries a day, usually only tasting the red wines. Our rationalization for not tasting the whites is that we won't get as overloaded with sensory experiences when we are trying to pack that many tastings into a day.

On this trip, we tried to plan for quality rather than quantity. For instance, we started Monday and Tuesday with quilt stores (we don't want to scare quilters by showing up with purple teeth!, so first thing in the morning is best), then visited one winery, had lunch, and then went to one or two more wineries. Wednesday, we pretty much did the same thing, only without a quilt store to start.

We also had very good meals. Asking local people for recommendations and using Open Table to secure reservations, our experiences were memorable: Sunday night, dinner at Bouchon in Yountville; Monday lunch, Brix in Yountille; Monday dinner at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville; Tuesday lunch, Cafe Citti in Sonoma; Tuesday dinner, Cafe La Haye in Sonoma, just off the Sonoma square; Wednesday lunch, Farmstead in St. Helena; Wednesday dinner, Barndiva in Healdsburg. Every single meal was a major hit! If I didn't gain ten pounds, it will be a major miracle!

Here are a couple of the wineries we went to on Tuesday:

We thought the grounds at Chateau St. Jean were really pretty -- the wine was excellent, too!

...but Duckhorn scored major points with us for a lot of reasons.

I definitely wouldn't recommend this everywhere, but we arrived five minutes before tasting hours were over and were welcomed warmly and led out to the patio where there were glasses all set up for the library tasting that we had asked for. Library tastings usually include reserve wines and older wines that are not in the standard tasting menu. These are the kinds of wines that Dan seeks out and collects; fortunately, when the wine ages to its "time" I eventually get to plan and cook meals around these special bottles, so it's a lot of fun for both of us!

Ten glasses were lined up in rows so that five different wines could be poured for both of us. Between the rows of glasses were winery labels for each wine with descriptions and other information to help us understand and appreciate the wines.

Here's a closer look at the label/glassware setup....

On Wednesday morning, we called Pride Mountain Vineyards, a winery that can be visited by appointment only. One of the cool facts about this winery is that some of the grape growing acreage is in Sonoma County and some is in Napa County. They have two separate wine making facilities because each county has its own regulations and such governing wine making, so the grapes grown on Sonoma soil are processed in the Sonoma facility and the grapes grown in Napa get it!

This is the line defining one county from the other. Dan chose to put a foot in each county, where I decided to stay in both at once. Boy, was it windy -- look at my hair!

Pride Mountain has a beautiful tasting room! There's Dan, waiting for the wine we bought....

A closeup of some of the award winning bottles...

All in all, we had a great trip -- we found some memorable wines that are going home with us, we had some amazing food, and I did a bit of shopping. Bought three cookbooks and prowled through some "foodie" shops, such as Dean & Deluca and brought home goodies from those. I don't think Dan will want to go into another food prep shop for months!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...