We had decided that to get the most out of Napa time, we didn't want to risk drinking and driving, but still wanted to be able to see as many of the wineries as possible, so we booked a tour with the Napa Valley Wine Shuttle. It was a great decision! It was a small tour, with 3 guys about our age from Western Australia and young couple from Chicago. We all got along really well and had a great time with them.
Our driver was really great, and took us to 7 different wineries, some larger estates, and a couple smaller boutique wineries
. We were given about 20 minutes to half an hour to sample 4 or 5 wines at each place, and they were pretty good about letting us share a tasting. So, in the course of the day, Ryan and I tasted at LEAST 35 different wines. Some great, some good, some not our cup of tea! The second winery we went to was fun, Trefethen, as the woman pouring the wine was super passionate about her job and while we paid for 5 reserve wines (ones only found in the winery itself), she poured at least 8 different ones for all of us. Fantastic wines...I think we all bought a bottle there. We also visited Laird, Hagathen (an Israeli style winery), Black Stallion (loved the wine...didn't love the price), Monticello, Andretti (owned by Michael Andretti...the race car driver; he is apparently going to be there on Friday as he has a race here this weekend....too bad for us), and Domaine Chandon. All in all it was a fantastic day. We learned quite a bit about wines...we are suspecting that we don't get much of the really GOOD Napa wines up in Calgary. These are fantastic, and the Zinfadels we get in Canada are really weak....these are awesome here. Pinot noirs are growing on us, and we really don't care for bubblies. The Aussies were fun to listen too...all their slang was starting to grow on us over the course of the afternoon!
We stopped for lunch at a fantastic little deli, and our driver arranged for us to be able to picnic on the grounds of Monticello (not usually allowed to do this)
. The 7 of us bought a couple of bottles of wine and had a fantastic lunch.
Coming home from 6 hours of wine tasting we decided to follow the recommendation of the driver (after confirming with the B&B hosts) to try Uva Trattoria for dinner. They have live jazz most nights. It was a nice 10 block walk into Napa. The meal was really good and the music was nice, albeit a little loud.
It was interesting to hear all the complaints about weather...it's been cool and rainy here too, so not unlike Calgary of late. They need it to be hot (like in the high 90s and 100s) now for the grapes to dry out and not dilute the sugars. They are all shivering, whereas I find it just nice! But weather complaints and farming talk (which is really what they are...farmers) don't ever seem to change much.
Our first full day in Napa. It started off with an amazing breakfast prepared by Candy, one of our hosts here at the B&B. Fresh fruit, croissant with raspberry jam, plenty of fresh OJ and coffee, followed up with panettone style french toast and bacon. YUM!! Fantastic way to start the day. We met 2 other couples who were staying here...very nice, and both couple were on their honeymoons as well.