Sunday, August 19, 2007

August 17

On Friday, we continued our game plan and headed to the central part of Napa Valley. First up with the Mondavi winery.

I wasn't expecting much, what with the big name and all - our friend Meghan said the same. But it was really nice. Quiet and serene. Meghan also did the entire tour with her boyfriend and said that it was a great tour - very informative. But we didn't think ahead to make reservations for that, and got there at kind of a wonky time to do the tour. They had two tasting rooms, and we shared a flight in the cheaper tasting room and headed outside with our wine.

After we finished up that wine, I bought one tasting of the 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon. My Dad told me a long time ago that 1997 and 1998 were great years for the grapes in Napa, so I decided to try it. Plus, Mike graduated in 1997, so I had to get a picture with the graduates together!

Me, with the 1997 Cabernet. It was gooooooood.

After Mondavi, we headed to Rubicon Estate, the former Niebaum-Coppola winery. At first I balked at the $25 entry fee (per person!), but conceded that it was $50 well-spent after I took a look around the grounds and tasted the wine. There was a cool historic museum upstairs, and you could look into the winemaking rooms. The entry fee included a tour also, which was really cool. The guide was informative, and seemed to be really excited and involved in his job.

The tour took us into the wine cellar, which was amazing. It's a newer wine cellar, but cool nonetheless. Something about barrels all lined up in an underground cavern strikes me with awe.

We ended up joining the Rubicon wine club, as I couldn't imagine NOT having their wine coming to my house every other month.
After Rubicon, we were starving and heading to V. Sattui A friend had recommended hitting V. Sattui
when we were ready to eat, because they have a great deli. Unfortunately, about 9 million other people had the same idea. We walked in, Mike took one look at the crowd and the "froufy food" and bailed. I grabbed some brie, crackers, and water and followed suit. Thus, the pic of the fountain is the only one I have of V. Sattui.

It was already about 2:00 and we had an appointment for a 3:00 tour at Del Dotto, so we hit Target on our way and picked up personal pizzas.

Del Dotto is a pretty small operation - they sell alot of their wine in advance and have only 8 employees. The tour that we went on took the better part of 2 hours and we learned about winemaking, tasting, and all kinds of information from their Sales Manager, Matt. We tasted about 12 wines straight from the barrel, which was pretty interesting. One cool thing about Del Dotto is that (per Matt), it's one of the three wine caverns that were dug by hand over a hundred years ago. You can see the pickax marks in the caverns, which we were in the whole time we tasted from the barrels.
After over an hour of barrel tasting, I got tired and wanted to sit down on one of the barrels. Mike wasn't that excited about it, but I was!
Once the tour was over, they threw on some disco and broke out some more wine and snacks. Last tour of the day gets a party, I guess. However, we were ready for a nap and headed home!
Dinner that night was at the Bounty Hunter in downtown Napa. We basically just headed downtown to look for a bar to eat and found that place. I had this AWESOME Kobe brisket, and Mike had pulled pork. Mike liked that the chef was actually grilling the food out back and not on an indoor grill.
The original plan included a movie, but after such a long day (and with full bellies) we headed home to hit the hay.