Start Song: As The World Turns ~ Eminem
No internet!? THAT’S UNPOSSIBLE. Well, it’s true. The Holiday Inn Express in Santa Rosa (Wine Country) doesn’t have internet. So I’ll write this in text edit, and then post it later.
Today was absolutely fantastic. Yesterday was Miss Possible’s day in the forest, while today was my day in the valley. Everyone seemed to have a number of recommendations for different wineries to check out, but we hit a number that I knew of and a few unexpected ones.
The first stop was to check into the hotel in Santa Rosa, so that we could get some maps, and organize ourselves a little bit. We stop by at a Starbucks to make plans, and we head off to location #1: Ravenswood — Zin Central.
Walking up to the tasting room, there’s a sign that says “Stay off Hills — beware of rattlesnakes.” Are they serious? My heart sinks, and walking up the 20 steps became very difficult. Turns out that they have a few “small” ones during the summer months (I LOVE February!). Their definition of small, however, is probably not my idea.. When I hear small, I think — worm-size.. their definiton is probably “Oh, that one’s just a baby.. look, it’s only 5 feet long!” yeah. I’m not coming back here in the summer.
The tastetron gave us a coupon to go to Sebastiani right up the street, and since they have a tour, we think it’s a great stop.. Unfortunately the tour runs only at 3pm, so we pass on that, but we do a self-guided tour (it was crap), and we got to taste some fanstic pinot’s and cabs. We actually picked up a bottle of the great pinot, to bring home.
In our effort to find a guided tour, we hit Niebaum-Coppola, to see what they have to offer. A big vineyard like that should have some good tours — plus the Francis Ford Coppola Syrah is a great inexpensive choice.
45 minutes of driving, and we finally get over to Napa — only to find out that the tour is a historical-only tour and does not cover winemaking at all. So, we take a few tastes of the wines they have to offer for a whopping $15 each, but we do get to keep the glasses. Not a total loss, because some of the cabs they had were excellent. We decide not to pick one up because for $40, it wasn’t all that great.
Our next stop was Cakebread. My choice of places to check out. They say “Appointment only” but, fortunately, they took us in.. I think that’s primarily during the peak season. Their Sauvignon Blanc is awesome.. I have to buy a bottle of that, but we try some other truly amazing wines. The 2000 Benchland Reserve Cab was unbelieveable, and for $95 a bottle, it really tasted like it. The tasteron had to excuse two couples who had obviously tasted too much, when they started whining about the amount they were getting poured. They flipped out, and took off. Woah. I don’t want to be that lady. 🙂
We can’t take a left out of the Cakebread lot due to traffic, so we decide to go right. Three wineries down is a place called Peju. We have some time, so we decide to stop, not knowing anything about it. I’ve learned a lot now.. Peju was by far the best wine I’ve ever tasted. The Tastetron was fantastic, lived in Mass for a while.. worked in LA as a magician.. great guy, very entertaining. We tried some truly incredible wines including a Merlot that kicked ass, and a Cab Franc that was made unlike any other on the planet (i’m sure). We pick up a few bottles here and spent way too much, but make some good values. We also picked up their reserve Zin (an awesome wine) and planned to take it to dinner at Mixx (his recommendation) to share, as they have a corkage policy here in Wine Country.
Our last stop, to kill some time, is Merryvale. Not a large producer by name, but by quality it was nothing to write home about. So I’ll leave it at that 🙂
We stop back at the hotel, and open the bottle of zin to breath a little.. We definitely should’ve left it open for a lot longer, because we head over to Mixx only about 45 minutes later (putting the bottle in the trunk, of course). The waiter decants it, and we had a fantastic dinner with an incredible bottle of wine. It turns out that they do free corkage on Tuesdays, so it worked out well.
Tomorrow we head 60 minutes south to San Fran.. Bring it on!
End Song: Better Tomorrow ~ Wu Tang Clan