Napa 8/23/08

Day 2 of wine trip excursion.  We left Sac early Sat morning to meet Laura and Diane at White Oak in Healdsburg.  It was a nice drive through the wine country and there are quite a few smaller wineries in the area.  They gave us a tour of the facilities and had a very nice tasting room.  The wines were good.  Nothing to brag home about.  They had an essence bar where you could smell the oils that you should be picking up in the wine.  But we didn’t buy anything.  Laura and Diane left for Yountville Inn to relax and we headed back to Taylor’s for some food.  Everyone should go to Taylor’s.

After lunch we stopped at Prager’s Portworks.  This is definitely somewhere to stop if you like desert wines.  For $10 we got 5 tastings of 1 Petite Syrah and 4 ports.  The Petite Syrah was good.  Had that port smell to it but we were excited to get on to the port.  Michele liked the next one which was from Portugese decent (Tomas something).  Michele’s notes: smooth and chocolate. wasn’t too sweet, refreshing, nice color and tones.  We had a 2nd red port and a white port but the final port was a white port called the Aria.  Michele says it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.  The golden ticket.  It’s that good.  We walked away with 3 bottles at $52 a pop.  Rare white chardonnay port that had a strong hazelnut flavor.  It was just like eating a chocolate covered hazelnut.  So good.  Definitely a stop for those wanting something different.  Also, the tasting room is covered by $1 bills that visitors leave and sign.  Michele:  “I’ve never experienced a flavor that changes in my mouth. It’s like multi-faceted wine that changes in your mouth and tastes like a heath bar.”

Next stop Cakebread.  Well we stopped at Peju first but just to pick up some Sauv Blanc for Susie.  We’ve stopped at Peju everytime we visit Napa so we passed on the tasting but it’s a favorite place.  Nice grounds and tasting rooms.  Cakebread.  We didn’t have an appt but that didn’t stop the Tompkins sisters.  Parking attendant:  “Do you have an appt?” Beth “Yes, under Tompkins, T-O-M-P”.  Attendant:  “What time was it for?” Beth: quickly looking at the clock-2:51pm “3pm”.  Attendant:  “Ok drive around and they’ll direct you in the back.”  Hmmm ok that worked.  Now they have to actually check in to the appt.  Beth waits at the counter.  Same story “T-O-M-P-K-I-N-S”.  “What time?”  “3pm… why are we late, because we’re usually late…”  “Another group that is lost in the computer.  Let me talk to my manager we can probably squeeze you in”.  So we get to get the Cakebread treatment.  $10 gets you 5-6 tastings.  William was our guide.  Very knowledgeable and energetic.  Walked us through the rooms where they process the wine and then to a large table where we sat with another family and did our tastings.  A Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay and reserve Chardonnay.  The reserve was pretty good.  William described it as a “butter bomb” which is what it tasted like.  Michele liked it but I think she just likes to say “butter bomb”.  Then we did the Merlot, Cab Sauv and Syrah.  All were enjoyable.  They Syrah was the best in my opinion.  Pretty smooth and flavorful.  We didn’t linger long as we were meeting Laura and Diane at Rubicon at 4pm.

Rubicon is a beautiful estate.  We did our tasting in the backroom. Started off with the only white they were serving Blancaneux.  It was excellent.  50% Rousanne, 32% Marsanne and the rest Viognier.  A really nice light blend.  Then we had the Merlot.  While it was good we decided of the 4 we got to try it was the least favorite.  Following the Merlot was the 2005 CASK Cabernet.  This was my favorite.  Very smooth with a bold flavor.  They followed that up with the 2005 Rubicon which is a blend.  This was most everyone’s favorite.  I just didn’t prefer the finish.  Kind of dry.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d drink it if someone put it in front of me I’d just pick the Cask over the Rubicon.  They served the red wine with sourdough bread and aged monterey jack cheese.  Pretty nice.  The grounds were beautiful and there is definitely a lot of stuff to look at inside.  I was glad we got to go.

Nap time now.  Tomorrow is CA Family Winemakers event in SF.  we haven’t even come up with a plan of attack for that but I’m sure we will.


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