Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Little Wine or Maybe a Lot

This week is our sojourn to Napa, CA. We are always on the quest for new and interesting wines and different wineries. We like the small family owned wineries as they have a little bit more personal feel. First stop on our list was Jessup Cellars. Oh my, what wonderful wines. I recommend making a reservation for a tasting as you get personalized treatment but you can just walk in also. I think the tasting fee is $20.00 but if you buy then it is waived. They are very liberal in their pourings and in fact will pour more wines than what is on the tasting list. We've been wine club members for over a year and love all the wines we have received but my favorite is called Jewel which is a red wine blend. Of course that would be the name of my favorite wine. They don't have any for sale right now but they do have the other red wine blend called Table for Four which is really good also.

Yesterday we ventured out again after doing a little grocery shopping. We cook our dinners at the condo vs. eating out each night as we do have a full kitchen. First stop was Hope and Grace. We found this little boutique winery last year and I just love their Chardonnay. They also just released a new Malbec which hubby liked. Then onto to Peju. We visited them about 4 years ago and haven't been back as we were trying others out but decided to go back this year. What a change in the winery. They have made some beautiful changes in their tasting room. We had our tasting in the marble room. Floors, countertops, everything was made of this wonderful green, brown marble. They have some wonderful sculptures outside also.

Today was an interesting day. My turn to drive us around and I thought I would take the Silveraldo Trail and hit some of the wineries up to St. Helena but I took a little detour. Yes, it was planned the moment I knew I made a mistake, I decided that this was the new plan. We went into the hills, around corners, up and down until we finally came to a lake. Don't know the name but took a few pictures anyway and then headed back toward Rutherford and came upon another lake...took more photos and continued on until we found a winery that looked interesting. It became our first winery stop of the day.

Rutherford Ranch was a pleasing surprise. We tasted several of their wines and then decided to join their wine club. They had the best Old Vine Zin that we have tasted in a while. So we had to buy a few. Knowing that we were going to get our first club shipment later in September that's all we purchased but the wines are very drinkable and affordable.

Walking around St. Helena was fun. We had lunch at a sidewalk Italian cafe and did a little shopping. Found a cool toss pillow all embroidered with California regions, hit up another shop called Findings that had some funky jewelry (yes I bought something) and then headed back down Hwy 29 towards home.

We just couldn't stop with one winery so found another one on the list that was along the way and recognized it as a sister winery of the Frances Ford Coppola winery that we are members of called Rubicon Estate. The Coppola's  purchased it in '75 from Inglenook Estate which was world renowned. I was so disappointed in the Rubicon wines since we love the Coppola wines. The people at the winery are very nice, the grounds are gorgeous but the wine was very pretentious. Heavy, dry and not drinkable unless you had some really heavy food which we did not. Tastings are $25.00 and you get to try 5 wines. I really don't recommend this winery if you are just out having a good time and wanting to try some good drinkable wines.

Tomorrow is another day so hopefully we will find some fantastic wineries and if not I'm sure we will have a good time trying.

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