Napa Wine Log – Day 2

Afternoon Tasting at Honig Vineyard & Winery

This trip we stayed at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa.  This is a convenient area on the Sonoma side.  We loved this location and the Inn was very beautiful.  The John Ash & Co restaurant is on the property and it also has a great bar.

We had planned our Saturday starting with an early lunch at Bouchon in Yountville on the Napa side.  We put the top down and took the scenic route over through Sonoma.  It was a beautiful day!  We arrived early at Bouchon and we were very glad that we had a  reservation.  I wasn’t sure if we needed one for lunch but it was a necessity.  The restaurant is a lively french bistro.  Their dinner menu is the same as their lunch menu so the prices are more inline with dinner offerings.  We finished our lunch with “bouchons” or chocolate corks.  It was a great dessert served warm with raspberry sorbet.  Think warm chocolate brownies!

After lunch, we headed to our first winery of the day:  Plumpjack.  This is a great small winery.  Plumpjack is owned by former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and by Gordon Getty of the Getty Oil fortune.  The winery is very approachable without a lot of the Napa snobbery that can be found in many places.  Their cabs were wonderful.  We had an excellent server that spent a lot of time with us explaining the wines.  We always like to ask the servers where they like to go tasting on their day off.  She recommended Miner Family Vineyards which was about a 1/2 mile from Plumpjack.

Next stop Miner Family Vineyards!  Unfortunately they had several large and loud parties that were there for tastings including a bachelorette group.  So, it was a quick taste for us.  I should mention here that we usually visit Napa during the off-season when the crowds are few and the tastings are really nice experiences.  Ok, back to Miner.  The standouts here were the Viognier and the Oracle.  Wine Enthusiast awarded the 2007 Oracle  95 points.  I would love to go back in the off-season.

Honig Vineyard and Winery was our last stop of the day.  This winery does require an appointment but we called and they were able to fit us in the last tasting of the day.  They have a beautiful outside tasting room.  It is a garden type setting with patio tables and umbrellas overlooking the vineyards.  It was a very peaceful way to end our day.  The tasting is not rushed and they encourage you to enjoy your time there.  They pour an award-winning Sauvignon Blanc and a yummy Cab.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to meet the Honig wine dog.  Apparently wine dogs get the weekend off!  Highly recommend a tasting at Honig on your next trip to Napa.

Two more tastings planned to Sunday.  More About That later…

Napa Valley One Tasting At a Time…

My anniversary gift this year was a trip to Sonoma and Napa Valley.  My wonderful husband knows me well and knows that this is one of the best gifts he can give me…or us since he came along as a package deal!  We have been many times before and always discover new favorites as well as revisit old favorites.

We flew into San Francisco and drove out to Napa.  It was a beautiful day.  Our first stop is always Gotts Roadside for  a white and black milkshake & one of the best hamburgers I have ever had (yes better than In-N-Out Burger).  It is always important to have a good solid meal before wine tasting and I can’t think of a better place to do it other than at Gotts’.  We usually go to their location in St. Helena but this time we stopped at the Oxbow Market in downtown Napa.  They do serve wine and beer here but I prefer their fantastic milkshakes as my beverage of choice.  Their hamburgers are big so sharing an order of fries is my recommendation.  Their shakes are fantastic so I don’t recommend sharing one…keep it all to yourself!

After we finished our late lunch at Gotts, we knew we had time for one wine tasting but we wanted to squeeze in two stops.  We didn’t have any tours or tastings pre-arranged so today’s stops were just random.  Our first stop was at Whitehall Lane Winery.  I had tried their Sauvignon Blanc before and it is still very good.  What really got my attention was their new glass closure system for their Cabernet Sauvignon – Vino-Seal.  It looks like a glass cork.  It will be interesting to see if Vino-Seal starts showing up at more wineries as cork shortages become more of a problem.  I really don’t have a problem with screw-tops but I know that there are a lot of wine snobs out there (and you know who you are) that just can’t drink from a bottle without a cork!

We lucked into finding a winery that was open until 6:30 pm.  So, we got to squeeze in a second tasting of the day at Merryvale Vineyards.   Merryvale was the first winery built in Napa Valley after the repeal of Prohibition.  I highly recommend stopping here just to see the Cask Room.  Two stories of 2,000 gallon casks line the stone walls.  It would be a beautiful room for a special event.  The tasting here was a lot of fun.  The staff was playing Led Zeppelin and seemed ready for a relaxed Friday evening.  The highlight was when our server decided to offer us some of their Profile wine.  It was amazing and a great finish to the day!

From here we headed to the Vintner’s Inn….More later about our Saturday in Napa !