When The Winey Hubby and I made the trip a few weeks ago, we did our research ahead of time. OK, I did some research. His contribution to the trip was to ask every few days, "Which wineries do you want to go to?" I took to Twitter to ask for recommendations. When we arrived in California, I talked to the wine gurus we met in San Francisco. And I pretty much grilled the innkeepers at The Wine Country Inn in St. Helena, where we stayed during this part of our trip. To their credit, no one at the Inn ran away when they saw me coming. They were beyond helpful in suggesting restaurants and wineries. So when we decided that we wanted to do at least one big, well known winery, they told us it had to be Mondavi, right on Highway 29 in Oakville. (Note: nothing is very far away from anything in wine country. Oakville was about a 15 minute ride from St. Helena.)
|The famous entrance to Robert Mondavi |
Winery. Photo by Winey Mom
Our tour started out with a lesson in Mondavi, and thus Napa, history. The Mondavi's actually started out growing the grapes that they shipped off to be made into wine. Our guide explained the different Mondavi wines you'll find today: Woodbridge ("Every Table Deserves the Joy of Great Wine"), Robert Mondavi, Robert Mondavi Private Selection and Spotlight (these are available at the winery only)
|The Winey Mom in the tour |
|Leaning into a barrel, |
|Top view of the fermenting barrels|
And then our "tasting". I use quotes here because this really was a wine lesson as much as it was a tasting. We were taught to swirl properly (with glasses on the table for the more timid of the swirlers), sniff with aplomb and to sip correctly. And with sipping correctly, I mean that we learned to never judge a wine on first sip (kind of judging people on first impression). Nope, sip it, wait 10 seconds, then take another sip and you'll be getting a much truer taste of your vino!
First up was the 2010 Stags Leap Sauvignon Blanc (13.5%). I'm going to talk about this quickly since it's a Spotlight wine...one of their very best...but only available at the winery or through a special club (which cannot ship to Ohio...so we were out on that option). The aroma was of pink grapefruit and other tangy citrus. It tasted of sharp limes and minerals with a bit of green apple. It was tart and tangy and lively. Suffice to say, we went home with a bottle of this!
Next up the 2010 Carneros Pinot Noir (14.5%). Our guide described the Pinot Noir grape as the princess, the diva of the grapes. Apparently, she's very touchy, liking a cool, dry climate..or else (she didn't elaborate on the "or else" and I think I'm glad). Pinot Noirs don't travel well, so a good one from California can cost big bucks on the east coast. This wine was dark red with aromas of cherries and plums. It tasted like dark, tart berries and had a soft finish of oak.
We also got to taste a 2008 Momentum (15.5% ABV). This is actually a blend of 6 different reds - kind of a Meritage style. It had a big nose of cherry and black pepper and you could taste the spices and a little cherry/blueberry in there as well. It had a big, tannic finish. So big that we were actually given some gourmet pizza to eat while we sipped it - it really paired well with food. In its own, it might scare you. This was also a Spotlight wine.
And then our very wonderful guide endeared herself to The Winey Hubby forever and decided that we needed to taste a 2010 Moscato D'oro (8% ABV). The Winey Hubby loves his sweet wines and this one just sang with flowers and peaches in the nose and on the tongue. And yes, this too made the trip back home with us.
Facebook: The Winey Mom
Pin It Tweet Follow @TheWineyMom