We spent the past 2 days in Napa Valley seeing the awesome landscapes and visiting the wineries. Anyone that knows me knows that I like wine but I am not a sophisticated wine drinker. But I did learn more about wine during this trip.
First of all, I learned that when you go to dinner and order wine and they allow you to taste it before pouring a full glass that it has a reason. I always thought it was to determine if the wine tasted good. Nope. Wine that has a cork can actually have a fouled cork which causes the wine to go bad. If that happens, it tastes like wet cardboard or wet dog. Yep, I said wet dog. So the small pour is to allow you to detect if the cork was fouled and if so, you can send it back.
Robert Mondavi Winery
Our first tour was the Robert Mondavi Winery. Here we learned how making red wines are vastly different than white wines. With red wines, they ferment with the grape skins which gives them the red color. They normally ferment twice in oak barrels for a time span of about 18 months. With white wines, they press the juice out of the skins and they are also fermented twice, once in oak barrels and again in steel canisters.
After visiting Mondavi, we were famished. We had lunch at the iconic Mustards, the food was incredible.
Our next stop was the Inglenook Winery. It is owned by Francis Ford Coppola, the creator of the movie “The Godfather”. The winery has a museum that is free to visit but the wine tasting was spendy — $50 per person. We decided to just visit the museum, but the grounds were incredible.
We were told that Sterling was the Disney World winery because it sits atop a mountain and you must take a gondola to visit. It met that criteria and also had incredible architecture. It has a very Mediterranean look, you feel as if you are in Greece. Their tour is self guided and really well done. Because it is audio/video, it puts images to the stories told by other tours.
This was probably our favorite winery in terms of taste, their reds really have a nice flavor.
We started day 2 with a champagne tasting. This was our first taste of bubbly and was a good place to start.
Rutherford Hill Winery
Our next stop was at Rutherford Hill. They store their wine in a cave for fermenting so it was really fun to visit. They also have a link with the show The TopChef, so it was interesting to hear that they shot some episodes there.
They had a special class of wine called Episodes. The cost is $200 a bottle, but you could taste it for $10.
Our final wine tasting for the day was Frogs Leap. It had the best tour, as it is an organic winery where they don’t use pesticides or irrigation. Everything is done naturally and very methodically.
The grounds were incredible, they keep their fermenting barrels in a barn.
The wine maker’s dog went along with the tour, she was very sweet!
Castello di Amorosa
Our final stop for the day (no wine tasting) was at a castle. It was really beautiful, we just visited the grounds.