Wine Country Shenanigans - Day 2
November 8th, 2013
God Bless you, NyQuil and all that you stand for.
The Demon Cold is mostly at bay. I slept like a log last night. And that is everything I wanted from the night. This is my Achilles heel when I travel. If I don't get enough sleep, I suffer from migraines. When the Demon Cold is also added to the mix, I'm even worse. I'm beyond impressed I was able to survive as much as I did yesterday. Thank god we didn't have many tastings yesterday. I wouldn't have survived the day. Today, I had to be on my game. We were visiting three wineries. It's what I've been training my whole life for. And here I am...basically injured. Not how I wanted to deal with Napa.
Before we started drinking, we needed to eat first. Now we could have started with some champagne, but I didn't think it would be wise. I'd rather make my bad decisions later in the day. The breakfast spread here was impressive. Lots of fruit and breads. There was an omelet station and a thing of potatoes and some banana bread pudding (points against this place for serving banana with the bread pudding). They also had some clafoutis which I may have gone back to get a second piece. Which I then covered in Creme anglaise. Don't judge me. I'm on vacation.
Today, we visited three vineyards. And had many, many glasses of wine.
Vineyard #1 - Flora Springs
As we departed the bus, we were given a beautiful glass with some Sauvignon Blanc. The guide (who I will now refer to as Seth Rogen) carried bottles along on the tour to replenish as necessary. Seth Rogen was great. He was kind of a dufus kind of guy. Very funny. A very good guide. We went through the caves where the wine is stored. And we were able to drink directly from the barrels. Two different types of the same wine, just housed in different barrels.
After the tour of the caves, we walked out to a beautiful sight. A very long table filled with tons of glassware. It was already time for lunch. And the view. The view was simply amazing. We started with a very good spinach salad and a Chardonnay. Then we had a steak and chicken dish and a Cabernet. The dessert was an apple bread pudding and their Trinity wine, which was a blend of Cabernet and other red wines. That was really good. Seth Rogen was a good salesman. He made sure people were able to buy wine if they wanted to, but wasn't pushy about it. All of a sudden though, someone came up and said we needed to leave for the next place. No time for a bathroom break. Get out. Ok...
Vineyard #2 - Cakebread Cellars
After the abrupt end at Flora Springs, we weren't sure what to expect at Cakebread. We were greeted at the front of the vineyard and directed through their processing center. We were given a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (seems to be a trend) and sat outside, looking at the scenery. I ended up sitting right in the direct sunlight, so that wasn't so great, but still...being outside at this time of year is amazing. And the weather is perfect. Almost a smidge too warm for what I brought, but I kind of don't care.
We ended up at the rowdy table. Or there was one couple that was the rowdy ones. They were cute though. And made for a silly time. Cakebread wines were significantly more expensive than others we'd had so far. When the guide was pouring wine from a bottle that retails at $195, I know this is going to be something I don't do often. And the wines themselves...they were very good, but nothing that made me just melt into a puddle. Our guy did pour some Pinot Noir, which made me happier (I do love me some Pinot Noir), but I wasn't overwhelmed by what was in front of me. Now the rowdy couple was trying to figure out how to steal the bottle of $195 wine. They didn't get very far.
Vineyard #3 - Bell Winery
I never thought I'd say this...I may be wined out. I mean, the wine has not stopped flowing. And I just...look, I'm still sick. So that can be my excuse, right?? It also doesn't help that all red wines served so far have been Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a little darker red wine than I normally like. So the third vineyard was going to be a stretch for all of us. Especially those who have been getting seconds or thirds on the pours. Some people were feeling no pain.
Bell Winery was a small, family owned winery who stressed quality over quantity. Our guide was very nice and was mostly able to corral the (increasingly rowdy) group. We tried a Chardonnay and Cabernet, then their signature wine called the Clone 6 Cabernet. Which was very good. Very good. This is the first one I'd have considered getting. If it wasn't $130. And our guide said it would be best to age it a few more years as well. That's obviously out of my price range. And I'm not going to remember to age anything. When I blindly reach in my wine fridge for some sort of bottle, I don't want to have to remember that this one bottle isn't for consumption for another few years. Oh well, it's not something I have to worry about, cause that's way out if my price range anyway,
The winery was not that far away from our hotel, so once the pours were finished, we got back on the bus and quickly made it home. Mom and I had one overriding goal. We had to go to the concierge to set something up for Sunday. Which...I'm keeping a surprise until Sunday. But as we talked to the concierge, we realized the hotel had a ton of special features we didn't even know about.
Like afternoon tea and nibbles. Mom and I picked up some bits and bites and curled up on the couch for a while. We started talking to the head of the travel company that set this trip up (getting intel for my future travel business with Adele) and we watched as the tea was taken down, and the wine and nibbles were put out. So, we had some of that. Food. Not wine. I hit my limit of wine today. By the time we realized what time it was, we had been chatting for nearly two hours. We still had one stop we wanted to make before we turned in for the night. Dinner.
The biggest surprise at the wineries today was the lack of food with the tastings. No offers of bread or cheeses or anything to sop up the wine that is flowing quite amazingly. One person at our table at one of the vineyards said they heard people bring loaves of bread with them to the vineyards. What?? That's ludicrous. Well, genius, but come on. So we needed an actual meal. I had looked up options for food and found this wood fired pizza place that seemed pretty cool. Mom didn't object, so we walked over to Ciccio.
It was a little more of a walk than expected, and Yountville could do with some additional street lights, but we finally made it to the restaurant. It's located in a building that looks like it used to be an old pharmacy back in the he day, there's a big sign outside that says Market. Inside is a cute kind of retro, old timey decor. I loved it. There was a pretty decent wait, but it was a Friday night. Eventually, we were seated at the bar, so we got to watch the bartenders make good looking drinks. This is the kind of place where the ice cubes are perfect and the bartenders are artists. The kind of place that makes me wish I drank cocktails.
Mom and I settled on a Margarita pizza to split. And sodas. Cause wine was just not an option. And it was kind of a perfect way to end the night. Ciccio was filled with locals. The bartender knew everyone. People were happy. I'd go back.
Both Mom and I are pretty early to bed people right now. Between the cold and the time change, by 930p, we were all cozy-ed into bed. We had three more wineries to go tomorrow. And a big dinner. One I am pretty darn excited about...