Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Napa/Sonoma, Day 3

After day two of our trip in Sonoma, we were all ready to see and compare the difference between Sonoma and Napa wine.  We heard the rumors (Napa thinks they are better than Sonoma) but were ready to see it for ourselves firsthand.  Danny planned a pretty full itinerary for the day, including a picnic lunch at one of the wineries.  We also hired a driver for our Napa adventure and it was a good thing; our first stop involved my favorite drink...BUBBLY!!!

Schramsberg is known as "America's House of Sparking Wine" and they sure lived up to the name.  This was recommended to us by so many people, we just had to see if for ourselves.  We arranged a private tour and tasting for the group and it was worth every penny.  Mary, our Schramsberg tour guide, did a fantastic job telling us all about the rich history of the property and the Schramsberg name.  She was a great story teller.  We learned of how Schramsberg is a favorite of the White House and has been served at numerous state dinners.  Mary also gave us a tour of the "infamous" 120 year old sparkling wine caves.  After our educational tour, which was awesome, it was time to start tasting wine.  We had our own private tasting room and Mary did a great job explaining all the different types of sparkling to us and even teaching us how to "pop the top" quietly, in case you ever want to sneak a bottle into the movies!!  We were so impressed with their sparkling wine and even their Cabernet, we signed up for the wine club (or maybe we were just drunk).  I guess that's how they get you, they have you do the tasting and then ask you to join their wine club.  After joining the wine club, I tried to convince Danny to buy me a riddling rack (see pictures below); my new obsession!!!  I love the history they carry and think one would look great on my wall.  Anyway, I digress!  We all piled back in the van, very HAPPY and giddy (I might add),  and then we were off to our next stop.  


Our next stop was Frank Family Vineyards, owned by Rich Frank, a former Disney executive.  Our driver, Dan, suggested this vineyard.  He thought it would be a great stop after our bubbly expedition and a great place to picnic.  Dan was right, the Frank Family stop was awesome.  We had a great time at Frank Family and due to my tenacity, we were given a private tasting.  Rich, our tasting guide, was walking through the tasting room and I knew he looked important.  So, I just asked him, "Are you the wine maker?"  He quickly saw our group, and how fun we would be, and whisked us into a private tasting room.  Needless to say, he wasn't the wine maker but we had so much fun with Rich anyway.  He was such a good sport to put up with our group and he gave us all a great tasting.  After our tasting, we ventured outside for our picnic.  It was perfect; great food, wine, company, scenery, and weather!!

Frank Family

So, I faded fast after Frank Family, the bubbly at both Schramsberg and Frank Family got to me, and I developed a bad headache.  Luckily I got rid of it, but it took two tastings that I didn't partake in or get many pictures of.  Silver Oak was our next stop for the day.  Silver Oak is a great winery and well-known.  Danny said it was just okay and wasn't as impressed as he thought he would be.  I walked around and took some pictures while the group tasted...and that is pretty much all I can say about this stop.  I told you, I didn't feel good at all.  Just wait, our next stop is even worse....

Silver Oak

Our next stop was Hill Family Estate's tasting room.  This tasting room was actually in the small city of Yountville and not at the actual vineyards.  I opted out of this tasting and sat on the couch the entire time.  Everyone else had a great time, but they weren't that impressed with the wine.  So, needless to say, this was a pretty fast tasting, and I only got two pictures.  This is the only one that turned out...

Hill Family

After the Hill Family, we decided to skip Domaine Chandon (our last stop of the day) and go to the Yountville park for some outdoor relaxation before our dinner reservation at Hurley's restaurant.  We had a great dinner at Hurley's.  Napa really is a culinary mecca with great food and of course, GREAT WINE!!  Day 3 of Napa was a success, besides the splitting headache that finally went away!!

My favorites from the day!

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