My wife left for her seminar via Southwest Airlines on a Sunday afternoon. As the class was scheduled to end 12:30 on Wednesday, I hit the road bright and early Wednesday morning. Leaving around 7:00 AM, I pulled into downtown Napa just as Karen’s seminar was ending.
First order of business — lunch!
I’ve been getting the Bounty Hunter catalogs for what seems like forever, but have never visited this combination wine store, tasting bar and restaurant. So, we stopped in for lunch, shared a flight of reds, and I had possibly the best pulled-pork sandwich that I had ever eaten. Awesome!
Then we wandered around downtown Napa, visiting some of the tasting rooms that were open in town. After hitting a few of those, we discovered Vintner’s Collective.
Vintner’s Collective pours wine from a multitude of wineries. For a tasting fee of $25, they spend time consulting with you to ascertain your tastes, and then pick wines to match. And I have to say, they lived up to their promise. It didn’t take long before I was tasting some exceptional Zinfandels and Syrahs. My favorites were the Syrahs from JC Cellars and the Zins from D-Cubed.
We had dinner at Brix Restaurant. Outstanding food and service. And they treated the bottle of JC Cellars Syrah that we had brought in as if it was one of their own.
The next day, it was off to our appointments. Of course, we were early, so on the way to the first appointment we stopped off at Ballentine Vineyards, where we enjoyed a nice selection, including very good Syrah, Zin and Petite.
Our first appointment of the day was at Outpost Wines. Outpost is way up Howell Mountain, and is worth the drive. They make some incredible Zinfandel, Petite and Grenache. The also make Cabernet, which I really enjoyed — unusual for me, but there seems to be something special about Howell Mountain fruit. And the view is truly breathtaking.
We stopped for lunch at Taylor’s Automatic Refresher in St. Helena. Great burgers [including the Ahi burger that Karen had] and delicious sweet potato fries, and the only burger stand I know of with a wine list and corkage policy.
Our second appointment was in St. Helena at David Fulton Winery and Vineyards. An old [2010 will be their 150th anniversary] and very small winery, they only make Petite Syrah and it is great! Hard to believe we managed to spend about 2 hours there with the owners, Fulton [4th generation] and Dink [Erma] Mather. We also met their son Richard, the current winemaker, and he and I spent a lot of time down in the barrel room. Very gracious [and patient] hosts.
That pretty much took care of our wine tasting day. These days, I would much rather have a few, quality tasting experiences, rather than several visits to bigger wineries. And, I solved my problem about what to do in Cab County. I can’t wait to go back!