Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Charnu Winery


Charnu is a small, fairly new winery owned by Bob and Louise Dye. 2006 is their second release of an excellent Cab. Tastings are done in their private wine cave at their home, so of course reservations are required.

Bob and Louise are friends of ours and it has been fascinating to follow their adventures as they identify grape sources, age the wine, obtain various licenses, and all the other "background" activities that end up making a great bottle of wine.

For an "up close" visit this can't be beat.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oakville East Winery


This is a new winery for us.
We obtained a case of this wine at the Napa Valley Barrel Auction in June, but had never been to the winery nor done a tasting - what a wonderful experience!! The winery is owned by Elliot Stern and the grapes come from the property of multiple families that live in this area of the valley. From our tasting there seems to be a unique taste to the Cab based wines - Elliot says it come sfrom how the soil, the sun, and the farming practices interact to create grapes with unique character. We are looking forward to a blind tasting of "East" vs "West" Oakville cabs.

The tasting was done in the Stern home, so an appointment and coordination is required. We were there about 1 1/2 hours and the time just flew by.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fleury Winery

It has been a while since we have updated this blog - no problems, just busy with family, friends, trips, etc. Hopefully we will do this more.

Went to a great winery today - Fleury Estate Winery, www.fleurywinery.com

They are a small, family owned winery with a great selection of wines. We tasted about 10 or so wines from SB to a magnificent Howell Mountain Cab. The wines are not cheap, but they are excellent. One of the "fun" wines is called "F in Red Prop Blend" - sure know a few people who would find this interesting!!

The owners, Brian and Claudia, hosted our tasting and were delightful. This is a definite find for us and a place we would encourage others to visit.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bottega restaurant


Michael Chiarello has opened his new restaurant, Bottega, in Yountville. It was really a treat to go there. The food was amazing - delicious mix of flavors, textures, and tastes. The polenta appetizer is not to be missed! The decor was very nice and "modern" - can get a little noisy because of all the hard surfaces. There is a nice outdoor part which will be great when it is a little warmer - now it is warmed by a real wood fireplace.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wineries in Solvang and Paso Robles

Spent a great week in Palm Springs area and got to visit with cousins Sookie and Howard and our friends Linda and Don, and Shirley and Ken. Beautiful weather (80+ while the East coast was freezing) for golf and visiting. On the way back to Napa we stopped in Solvang at several wineries.

Foley winery has been buying lots of high end wineries in the last few years so we wanted to see what their home winery was like. It was a nice tasting with very pleasant people, but the wines were kind of ordinary. We were told there were others that were only available through the mailing list.

Then we went to Dierburg Estate and Star Lane Vineyards. This was a great visit with wonderful wines. They had a delightful Merlot, we really liked their Savignon Blanc, and the Pinot was outstanding. This is a fairly new winery but has been getting great reviews. Their 2005 Pinot was one of Wine Spectator's top 100 wines of the year.

Next stop was in the town of Solvang at 3 tasting rooms. First we went to the D'Alfonso-Curran spot. Kris Curran is a very well known winemaker who formerly made Sea Smoke Pinot Noir. She currently does not make anymore PN (apparently part of the agreement when she left Sea Smoke), but her Syrah and Granche were fine and we got some of those.

Our second stop was the Stolpman Vineyard tasting room. This had been recommended by several people, but we found it a little disappointing. The wines were ok, but nothing really special and the tasting experience was ordinary.

We like the Chardonnays from this area and wanted to find some of those. It was suggested we try the Wandering Dog Wine Bar. This was a really neat place where you can buy wine by the "taste" (2 oz), or by the glass (6 oz). We tasted several chardonnays and got some by Stephen Ross.

But the fun part was the special tasting being hosted by the McPrice Myers winery. The owner/wine maker and his wife were there and shared ideas, goals, etc. It was fun to taste with them, and the wine was really good. Great fun to discover a small winery with passionate owners. Their wines are mostly blends which was interesting and different.

By now we had had enough wine and decided to continue North on 101 on our way home. But lo-and-behold, we saw the signs for Laetitia Vineyard, a favorite Pinot Noir of ours. How could we not stop?? So stop we did, and taste we did, and buy we did. Really beautiful place with very nice staff and wonderful wines. They make many different kinds of wine (5 or 6 Pinots) - we bought some PN and some Chardonnay.

By now we were really done. Found a motel, conked out, and went back to Napa the next day - full of wine and fun memories.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Years Eve 2009

Had a wonderful time for a holiday we normally don't enjoy. Started the night with dinner at Martini House in St. Helena with our friends Bob and Lousie. Great restaurant, good food and service. This is a place we love to go to but don't do it enough.

After dinner we all went to Tom and Carmen's to welcome in the New Year in each time zone. Lots of fun and got us home fairly early. Many of our friends were there with lots of good wine and an easy way to catch up with on comings and goings.

Wine Whisperer is Back

After a lengthy hiatus, we are up and running again. Wine Whisperer is taking on a new form, that of a blog rather than a static or semi-static web site. We hope that this format will enable our visitors to get some insight into our activities and adventures. We love sharing our experiences with you and believe this will be the best format to do so.

More later, but for now, Happy Holidays!