It’s good to have friends that motivate you. For a friend’s birthday, I put on a wine tasting (more on that in another post), and I got called out on my lack of writing/attention I have been giving our blog. Honestly, I’ve just been sort of lazy…sorry. I know it’s been a while since we posted Day 2, but before I can move on to anything else we need to get the last day of Napa in the books.
Just like our previous two posts (Day 1 and Day 2), Day 3 was gorgeous; blue skies and sunny! We had three phenomenal stops planned: Quintessa for a tour and tasting, then over to Round Pound, and Spring Mountain Vineyards as the final stop.
The Huneeus family have put a tremendous amount of effort, thought, and love into their winery. From the modern design of the estate, to the layout of their production facility that allows them to use gravity to help sort the grapes during harvest, Quintessa practices sustainable agriculture and biodynamic farming. The winery only produces a single wine that bears its name, a red meritage blend. The blend varies each year and could contain any combination of the five varietals they grow in the vineyard.
Our visit here included a fun tour around the property with visits to the vineyards, the production facility, and the wine cave. If you ever get the opportunity to check out a wine cave or a production floor, take it. It is a really neat thing to see, and gives you a better appreciation for what it takes to put that tasty bottle in front of you.
We got our exercise in and now it was time to sit down and enjoy the tasting. Our tasting started with a wonderful 2014 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc, also a Huneeus wine, but not labelled under the Quintessa name. After the Sauv Blanc, we moved into the namesake wines where we had the opportunity to not only try the current 2012 release, but also the 2010 vintage. Tasting the two vintages side by side was so fun; both were fantastic, but each had such a unique flavor. We loved our stop here, it sounds silly, but you can taste the attention that they put into what they do.
Round Pond was a bit of a mystery spot to me as I didn’t know a whole lot about it before we went. I think I’ve said it before, but these are the best types of surprises. We were scheduled for the “Garden Pairing”, a really nice seated tasting on the outdoor patio. The beautiful 180 degree view only enhanced their great wines. The tasting itself consisted of the 2011 Rutherford Cabernet, 2013 Proprietary Blend, and 2012 Reserve Cabernet, which were paired with equally delicious small bites of chili braised short ribs, olive arrancini, and coq au vin (braised chicken). I’ve mentioned this before, but I truly feel that the people you encounter make the wine experience and here was no exception. Rod (aka “Lightning Rod”, his words, not mine) was a great host. He took the time to really discuss the wines with us, gave us a lesson on the property and the owners, and heck he even brought out a blanket to help keep us warm on a crisp Napa morning.
Sadly, I have to write about our last stop on this trip. Recommended by a friend, we decided to put Spring Mountain on our list. Neither of us had previously tasted their wines, but we both left as fans. The winery is an interesting place. Not only is it a winery but it is also the owner’s part time residence. When not in town, the private estate tastings are held in his dining room. The estate house “Miravalle” was also used to film the 1980’s prime time soap opera “Falcon Crest.” Who doesn’t remember that, right!? We started our tasting with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc that we sipped as we were escorted across the grounds, which included multiple vegetable gardens that are used onsite for dinners and parties, and up to the estate house. Once inside the dining room our tasting continued with two vintages of their Cabernet Sauvignon (2001 and 2008), as well as two vintages of their signature Bordeaux Blend, Elivette (2005 and 2009). As a bonus, our host Rick ran out and grabbed a library 1987 vintage Cabernet. Spring Mountain was an exceptional final stop on what may have been our best Napa trip yet.
Much like inmates on death row, as we drudge towards having to return to our normal lives, we get a last meal. Okay, that was overly dramatic, but we really love Napa and hate to leave. Our last stop on this trip was back at Oxbow Market and Hog Island Oyster Company. Hog Island occupies a small corner of the market, and they usually have people waiting in line every night to get a crack at their deliciously fresh oysters and seafood. We opted for a quick meal so we could get back to the hotel and pack, but the chowder and raw oysters were absolutely fantastic! if you get a chance, saddle up to the bar and go to town!
Headed home, bags in-tow, the sky always looks a little grayer when you have to leave Napa!
As I said above, this was probably one of our best trips to date (I probably say that every year). We got to experience some wineries that we haven’t experience in the past, and also revisit and learn about some of our favorite places. If you are going to make a trip out to the valley, I would fully recommend that you take the time to plan your trip. In years past, our trips have only been as fun as they are due to Janice’s ability to plan out our visit. This year was a little last minute, but thanks to her prep in previous years we had plenty of places on the “standby” list that we were able to schedule. The most important recommendation we can give though, is go and have fun (safely).
If you would like to see our itinerary or even those from our past trips feel free to email us at Wineglasstravel@gmail.com.