Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Napa Part 2: Dowtown Wine

One of the reason we went to Napa was because they have a downtown Napa tasting card.  For $25 you can taste wine for 10 cents at 12 different tasting rooms all within walking distance of each other.  When we talked to the innkeeper about this he said no, the card isn't worth it since he had a bunch of 2 for 1 tastings and many places would comp your tasting fee if you buy a bottle.  So we decided not to buy the cards, although we heard different opinions about it throughout the day.  We took a look at the tasting cards the innkeeper gave us gave us and mapped out where we wanted to go.

We started at the Vintner's Collective, which was recommended by our B&B but we didn't have a tasting card, luckily they gave us a 2 for 1 price anyway.  This was a collection of many different smaller wineries, most pricey (above $50 a bottle, yeah we're kinda cheap).  It was nice getting to try all these wines but it was our most expensive tasting at $25 per person which unfortunately wouldn't have been applied had we bought a bottle. 

We tried to go to Twenty Rows next, but when we got there found out they were open by appointment only (which was contradictory to their tasting card, and the open sign in the window) we tried calling and knocking but no luck, so we moved on.

The next stop couldn't have been any different from the first. Mason was up next, and we went into a cheery room with a great wine pourer named Trish.  First bonus is that they have complimentary tastings, second bonus was when we realized how cheap their wine was and how much we were enjoying it.  They specialize in Sauvingnon Blancs, which aren't my favorite and the bf really doesn't like them, but all the ones we tried here were great and fruity and we ended up buying three bottles.  They also had some fun reds and we took a bottle home of their Merlot, which is something that we have never done.  Fun fact about Merlot from the movie Sideways: the main character bashes Merlot throughout the movie and the sales of Merlot apparently suffered from it, however the wine that he has been saving for a special occasion and ends up drinking at the end is actually 70% Merlot!  Trish said it was a fun inside joke in the wine community.  Our second stop of the day and we already have four bottles, but Trish sad she'd bring them back to our b&b for us and that if we buy bottles other places to drop them off with her and she'd deliver all of them.  We <3 Trish!!

Next up was Taste which had two different wineries, Wasterstone and Mahoney.  We came to this tasting room two years ago after a lunch on the wine train that Mahoney had paired wines with and had given us free tasting passes.  The last time we came was really fun and one of the main pourers was a huge Michigan fan and was wearing a Big House t-shirt so we were very excited to return.  Sadly this place didn't live up to our expectations.  The pourers were boring and didn't engage us in conversation. We did still end up buy two bottles because we liked the wine.  This was another place where they didn't apply the tasting fee to the bottles (we did have a two for one) but they were having a 20% discount for Valentine's day so that made up for it, I guess.  The service there was still boring.

We headed next door to Gustavo Thrace.  We found out from a previous tasting that it is Gustavo from the movie Bottle Shock!  They shared a tasting room with Toolbox and we got to pick two wines from each one to taste.  All was good but most of the wines were just a little out of our price range, except the Third Bottle.  The Third Bottle wine is meant to be your third bottle at dinner after you've drunk your more expensive, fancy wine, however we think its a great first bottle and ended up buying one.  The tasting fee here was applied to the purchase of the bottle, which is awesome.

At this point we took a break for a snack, see this post.

After our snack we went across the street to Uncorked.  We walked in and the place was super busy, but we had a complimentary tasting pass for two so we figured it'd be ok to wait.  They were very kind to us while we were waiting and eventually we got to try some wine.  The pourers here were very friendly and made for a fun atmosphere.  Ahnfeldt and Carducci share this tasting room so we got to try some of both.  We ended up buying one bottle here before we left.

Our last stop before heading back to our B&B for their wine tasting was at Ceja.  One of the best things about this tasting was they had iPads for you to rate all the wines you try and leave comments.  We also had a delicious cheese plate here.  As we were making our purchase (of course we couldn't leave without buying a bottle) we got to try their chocolate cabernet sauce, omg so good!  So we ended up with a bottle of that as well.

That concludes our downtown Napa wine tasting.  It was awesome being able to walk everywhere and we had a great time at all of the tasting rooms.  By the end of the day we had purchased 9 bottles of wine and one bottle of chocolate sauce!

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