Day Ten

Trip Start Aug 06, 2010
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 ten already gone by...this trip is flying by, but we are having an absolute blast!

Today started off with another of Candy's fabulous breakfasts here at the B&B.  If you are ever in Napa, we would highly, HIGHLY recommend the Arbor Guest House.  It's amazing!  Today was fresh fruit, followed by a fresh baked orange scone, followed by a vegetable frittata with Italian sausage.  So yummy!

We signed up for another day of tours, but this time with Platypus Tours.  It does fewer wineries, only 4, but they are smaller ones and generally not ones available to the general public.  Our tour guide, Shawnda, was awesome...a lot of fun.  We had 4 other couples on the bus with us.  A couple from Alabama, complete with the y'all and all, a newly married New York City couple (married the same day as us), Vinnie and his wife from New Jersey (and yes, he assured us he 'knows some people'...very funny guy...he's actually the mayor of his NJ town) and another couple that was actually staying at our B&B.  They were in the midst of a 4,000 mile road trip from North Carolina across the States to Seattle, where they are embarking for Japan, as he is a Marine pilot being deployed to Okinawa.  Very nice people, all of them, and as we got further along in the tour, the conversation flowed more and more easily!

As these were boutique wineries, we really got the personal attention today.  Our first stop was Elkhorn Peak, where Ken, the grape grower, gave us a great tour of the fields and explained the growing part of the wines.  We sampled some great wines here, and while we had said we were ONLY going to buy exceptional wines, and dump more the tastings today, we ended up drinking the entire tasting and buying some wine.

Next was Hopper Creek, where we were all amused by the winemaker who not only drank along with us (most don't do that...they just inhale the aromas to make sure the wine is still great), but also drank some beer as well after our tastings.  Hmmm....not sure what that says about the wine.  It was nice here too, though, and we had lunch here too.  Yesterday's tour rushed us along, with only 20-25 minutes at each place, whereas here we easily spent an hour at each winery, and could certainly have spent longer.

After lunch, Shawnda had planned for the group to visit Laird, as Vinnie's wife really likes white wines, and since Napa is predominantly a red wine place, Laird is one of the few known for it's whites.  We had gone to Laird yesterday, so she arranged for Ryan and I to visit another winery while the group went to Laird.  She was a bit hesitant, as this winery charges higher tasting fees (usually $10-15, whereas here is $20), but it was worth every penny!  Keever's Vineyards is a small family operated winery that simply had the best wine of the trip, if not the best wine we've ever had.  The son of the owners gave us a personal tour through the facility and explained the entire process to us.  He showed us into the caves where the wines were aging in oak barrels (and even let us sniff a new oak barrel...very cool).  We also got to go into the vines and feel and taste the fruit.  It was fantastic, and as they are located up in the hills, they have terrific views of the valley as well.  We sampled a Sauvignon Blanc (not usually a favorite white wine), but it is made in the style of a was awesome.  The Syrah was amazing, but the Cabernet Sauvignon...oh my!  It was beyond fantastic!  We loved every drop of it...too bad the price was $90 a bottle!  A bit steep, but awfully tempting.  Even worse though, is the fact that Keever's doesn't ship to Canada, so the only way to get this wine is to come to the winery to get it.  I strongly suggest that if you are even in Napa...arrange to go to Keever's.  It is well worth it!  We bought a Sauvignon good!

Finally, we ended up at Roberto Bialco...a nice winery, but didn't really do anything for us.

We arrived back at the Arbor for our late afternoon hour of wine and hors d'eurves with Dan and Candy.  Now that we had made friends with Andy and Andrea from our tour (Marine and wife), we had a great time chatting with them and others staying in the B&B.  It seems to be a neat mix.

Dinner was arranged at Bistro Don Giovanni, which I had heard and read great things about.  We walked into the restaurant to notice one was full.  Of guys.  Hardly any women in sight.  Sure, there was one here and there, but lots of tables full of just guys.  Not sure what that's all about, but thought it was interesting.  The food had a lot of potential, but unfortunately there were a lot of little things that kept the meal from being great.  Bread came with oil, but they forgot the balsamic vinegar.  The bruschetta topping was awesome, but the bread was a little too charred.  They seemed to forget the bruschetta until I reminded them.  We were in the corner and got overlooked a bit.  BUT...the entrees were great, and the desserts awesome.  Still...I had hoped for better from a highly rated Napa restaurant.

Anyway...tomorrow we leave California and are bound for Lake Tahoe and the lights of Reno!  Bye was tons of fun, and we know that we'll be back.  Some day.
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