I get a lot of nice wine event invites and this one really tickled my palate. Honey from their hives, olives from their orchard, heirloom tomatoes and, of course, wine from a neighboring vineyard.
60 of us expectantly came to the patio of the Oaks Grille at TPC Valencia last Friday night to be tempted at a wine reception to learn more about Meadowood Napa Valley Estate and why we will want to spend our next Napa trip there.
But, not until every guest had ample time to taste ample wines.
We were greeted with Champagne flutes of 2006 Schramsberg sparkling wine and tray after tray of paired appetizers from Chef Daniel Otto’s kitchen. Guests lingered over their bubbly, not as other wines hadn’t already been laid out, but because the atmosphere was electric.
Normally, being the first at a wine event to outstretch a hand in greeting, I found myself pleasantly surprised when Jo Grant, and her daughter, Stephanie Laney, outstretched theirs to us. Soon, like a group of old friends in a celebratory mood, new friendships were being made. I introduced myself to the electric-green-eyed Monica McClafferty, perfectly coifed Ginger LeVang, make-up artist Lynn Sevy Schutz (both from Salon Seven), and a couple of transplanted Carpenters: Kevin and Erica. We also saw the usual suspects too like Ramon Rebel, Bill and Maureen Farrar, Marshall and Shelley Hann.
Of course at this point we were well into the wines of the evening. The Elizabeth Spencer wines, both a Chardonnay and a Cabernet, seemed to be general hits. But in between guests thoroughly enjoyed a Chappellet Chardonnay, Peju Syrah, Coppola Cask and tastes of Bond Estates Matriarch blend owned by the famed winemaker William Harlan, also a founding partner at Meadowood.
Then I sat down with Meadowood’s sommelier of the evening: Rom Toulon.
“The restaurant reopened 4 years ago.” Began Toulon. “You’ll find we’ve received two stars from the Michelin Guide and Chef Christopher Kostow gained 4 stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, among many other accolades.
We enjoy doing small wine pairings of 20 wines with 20 items at Meadowood. Our clientele appreciates our 80% Napa and north coast varietal wine cellar, as out of 1000 members, 250 are in the Napa wine industry. At 11,000 bottles we’re not the biggest cellar in Napa but we have one of the highest percentage of Napa Valley wine available to our guests’ (Napa Valley Vintners, Linda Reiff, executive Director) and cover at least 14 countries.
Our master sommelier, Gilles de Chambure, is on the property while I’m here tonight. But, unique for a Napa property, is that either of us can provide 90 minute to full day educational Napa tours with wine tastings. We start with the basics, like the flavors you find in wine, and then sit down for a pairing.”
Meadowood is the host property for Auction Napa Valley, the annual 12 Days of Christmas event, Meadowood Vintners Collection wine club, lodging, 250 wooded acres, health spa, and championship croquet lawns are only the beginning in outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, hiking, bicycling and swimming.
Meadowood Napa Valley, is located at 900 Meadowood Lance, St. Helena, CA 94574. 707-963-3646. http://www.meadowood.com