I heart NapaPosted: April 8, 2011
All right people, I’m slumming it by typing this post on the cranky iPad in the interregnum between a full day of drinking and before dinner at Bouchon, so please bear with any typos, nonsequiters, or other nonsense. I’m usually a bit of a stickler for nun-style adherence to spelling & grammatical rules, but not today. think I’ve mentioned in this space just how important this trip to Wine Country was for me; not just because I’m a big-time wino but also because I needed concrete proof that the cancer, infection, and hospital mess is behind me.
Well, the proof is in the pudding, and in this case the pudding really is a wine glass. I am beyond thrilled to have made the trip, and it is shaping up to fantastic. Great friends, gorgeous scenery, the most yummy food, plentiful wine, outstanding weather, and a Russian limo driver, “Mike,” who never once laughed out loud at our idiocracy. I think he secretly liked our iTunes playlists that we blasted all day. Everything from Earth Wind & Fire to Eminem to whoever sings “Brick House” to Nelly to the Eagles. good stuff.</p
Really good stuff.
We started the day with all 10 of us, and our luggage, crammed into the limo. And when I say “crammed,” I mean it. We’re lucky we didn’t have to strap suitcases to the roof. Our first stop was to jettison some of the luggage at our various resorts, and we were quite disciplined in not drinking in the limo (but quickly made up for lost time). We had already driven past Domaine Carneros, which was going to be our first stop, so instead of wasting precious imbibing time by doubling back, we went to Chandon for some bubbly refreshment. Sitting on the patio at the beautiful winery overlooking the hillside of Napa in the sunshine with great friends and a magnum of Chandon was the best way to start our tour of Wine Country.
From there we skedaddled to V Sattui for picnic provisions and yes, more wine. Set 10 hungry, buzzed friends loose in an upscale food shop and watch the food magic happen. We had crusty baguettes, cheeses crumbly and creamy, a fig & olive spread, roasted vegetables, pesto pasta salad, some kind of gross salami for the carnivores, marinated sun dried tomatoes, salt & vinegar potato chips, Greek olives, and giant peanut butter cookies dipped in dark chocolate. Oh, and some wine.
Yes, of course we had more wine.
We filled our bellies then heeded our summon from “Mike” the driver to stay on schedule for our reservation at Silver Oak. We tasted 3 reds and enjoyed the lesson from our 23-year-old docent Walter. Yes, that really was his name. He was a lot of fun, and has the most intenseli ice-blue eyes, and we had a great time. The view from that winery was a sight to behold. Literally. We all paused and took it in. I have photos but can’t upload them on the cranky iPad, so hang on and use your imagination for now.
After Silver Oak we hit Quintessa for a tour with Lori, who wasn’t as cute as Walter but lucky for her, the winery and its products blew the doors off Silver Oak. We looked at the machinery, vats & barrels, then went into the cave for the cave tour. Wow. Oh wow. Incredible. And we hadn’t even had any of the wine yet.
Lori escorted us to a room off the reception area with a long, rectangular wood table filled with candles and place settings of 3 glasses of red: a 2007, a 2006, and a 2005 — all Cabernet, all incredibly delicious. A small but scrumptious cheese plate was the perfect partner for these sublime wines. We thought that was as good as it could get, until Lori brought out glasses of the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. OMG. I’m not a big consumer of white wine, but this Savvy B could convince me otherwise. What an unforgettable experience.
We filed back into the limo and drank in the scenery, watching
the verdant rolling hills and endless, orderly stretches of grapevines with appreciation and contentment. While our tours & tastings were over and our bellies were full, we nonetheless stopped at a wine shop to get a few bottles of bubbly to take to dinner. One of the highlights of the trip was pulling up to the limo to the bustling shopping area, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” blaring, and the hoi polloi gawping to see if anyone famous was getting out of that limo. We tumbled out, laughing& singing, and told the looky-loo crowd to go on about their business because Fergie was not getting out of the limo. I think they bought it. Good story.
That shopping trip complete, we headed to our hotels for a little R&R (and sobering up) before dinner. Lo and behold, our hotel, the gorgeous Villagio Inn, had its own tasting right there waiting for us. We needed more wine like we needed a hole in the head, but it was too good tom pass up, so we had a terrific Hall Savvy B and Cabernet, along with more out-of-this world cheese crackers, figs, etc. The cheese in California is making me so very happy.
Now that we’ve rested and fueled up with our in-room espressos, we are ready to hit Bouchon for more food and wine. Then we’re gonna do it all again tomorrow. Ahhh, this is the life!