Saturday, June 26, 2010

Napa 2010 Day 4

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Today's day of wine tasting seemed more relaxed than the rest of the week. At no point during our four tastings did we feel rushed, and we still enjoyed some extremely nice wineries in the southern end of the Valley: the Carneros appellation.

To begin, we sat oustide the gate at Etude waiting for them to open at 10am. We love arriving at wineries when they first open because you get a more private tasting than if you get there later with everyone else. I can't express how beautiful Etude's tasting room looks, and their wines don't fail to impress either. Etude specializes in Pinot Noir which grows well in Carneros due to the cooler climate and sea breeze off the San Pablo Bay. They also produce some really nice (expensive) Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes they purchase from growers further north in the valley. Wifey and I bought a Pinot Gris, a dry Blush of Pinot Noir, and a Chardonnay.

Next we went to one of the area's most beautiful wineries, and a specializer in sparking wines: Domaine Carneros. The winery owners modeled their Chateau after one owned by Louis XV of France, which is not surprising considering Taittinger, one of the premier French Champaign makers is a partner. They offered seated tastings either inside or outside, so we found a table outside with a wonderful view of the valley (above), and sipped on five different sparklers, and two Pinot Noirs. We purchased three of the sparkling wines: a Rosé, a Late Disgorged Brut (aged five years instead of three), and a Ultra Brut (even drier than the brut).

Cuvaison sits right across the street from DC and they also served seated tastings, which are sooooo much better than the "saddle up to the bar" tastings you get many places. We found an inside stainless steel table which cooled us on an otherwise hot Napa day. Each of us tried the white and red tasting, but they also offer a red only option. We really enjoyed the Blush of Pinot Noir, which, if you are keeping score, is a recurring theme. Like John and Lisa posted on their blog, dry rosés are really nice in the summer, so I tend to gravitate to good ones this time of year. Along with the rosé, we also bought a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay.

Unfortunately for Pop and I, Mom and Wifey found 30% off coupons to the Coach Outlet, and since there is a Coach store at the Napa Outlet center, we had to go.

After some intense purse shopping, we went to our last and best tasting of the day. Patz and Hall winery makes only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and their "salon" is located just south of Napa city. Patz and Hall doesn't own any vineyards, but purchases grapes from area farmers who specialize in cultivating the two varietals they make. Each vineyard's grapes taste different based upon its terroir, so P&H markets some wines by the grower's or vineyard name under their label. The tasting consisted of a private table tasting of three Chardonnays and three Pinot Noirs with food pairing hosted by Marcus, the Wine Educator. We spent an hour tasting, sipping, and talking wine around a six person dinner table. Easily the best tasting of the week.

We actually got a chance to spend some time at the pool today, which felt great against the 90 degree heat. After the splash time, we went to dinner at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville which Dennis, our waiter from last night, recommended. Jeanty serves traditional French cuisine which meant Coq a Vin for Mom, escargot and rabbit risotto for Wifey, puff pastry tomato soup for Pop, and steak tartare for me.

Places Visited:
Domaine Carneros
Napa Outlets
Patz and Hall
Bistro Jeanty

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