Well, after a good night’s sleep, we woke up, had a wonderful breakfast with the parents, and got ready for the day.
We had arranged with Tom D. from Vino Van Tours to take us around Napa (great recommendation from our cousins who had used him before).
It just so happened that one of my buddies was in CA on business, so he drove up and joined us for the day.
After meeting Tom, we headed out for Trefethen.
We were going to do some sort of private tasting, but they couldn’t promise Tom anything specific because they were setting up for their big Halloween party.
Inside, they had the placed decorated from head to toe.
This lady walked by us, and we thought it was a real dog. She had her left hand in him operating the head, and it scared the crap out of us.
After heading out, my buddy was able to snap this picture of the family.
Next up, Bell.
We had a few people reccommend Bell, and it was by far the best tasting experience we had.
First thing, Tom walked us by one of their presses, which was actually pressing! (I’d never seen one in action before, just the sparkling clean ones just before or long after harvest.)
Back in the tasting room. Sandra Bell (Owner/Cofounder) took care of us and poured us our first glass. We got to talk a little about a mutual friend. Very hospitable.
I was too busy enjoying myself to take more pictures, but they walked us through 5 wines, and had a cheese pairing for each one. They spent about an hour with us just talking about wine, answering some questions, and talking a little more about the history of the valley.
Then, I got a little camera-happy. I’m only going to show you one of the (maybe) ten picture I took of the tanks.
Next, Tom took us to a place called Cornerstone, which was a tasting room only in the middle of Yountville.
Here’s the inside.
We went a little out of order. First, the sauvignon blanc, then the ’05 Howell Mtn cab, then the ’05 Napa cab, then back to the ’04 Howell Mtn cab.
Here’s the Sauvignon Blanc. They had bread (needed at this point) and olive oil. Very elegant setup.
Then, things got a little out of control. Wine everywhere.
Then, we insisted we sit down for lunch, we were all a little….hungry. Yeah, that’s it.
Back on the road, here is Tom telling us the famous Mondavi brothers story.
Here we are (after lunch) driving to Rubicon.
A few pictures of the scenery, for your viewing pleasure.
I could tell you about the rich history of the building, but I won’t.
Oh, there was a little room for Coppola’s stuff. I didn’t know that Nicolas Cage was his nephew. Huh.
After Rubicon (the wines were good, but I think lunch ruined our palates, and we didn’t buy anything), we headed up to Howell mountain to Ladera. Awesome place.
Back at the hotel, we assessed the damage. 12 bottles. Not bad.
For dinner, we went to Farmstead. Very organic place (although they didn’t really sell that part well.)
Day 3, coming soon.