Saturday, May 9, 2009

California, Part Two

Ah yes, California. I had never been til November of 2008, but people have always told me I'm perfectly suited for the Bay Area...and boy were they right.

Day two of my wine country trip with my friend Flynne and her boyfriend Tyler began early. We had a big day ahead of us hitting up wineries and vineyards in Napa. Once showered and ready, we three, and Layla piled into the car for the trip.

Stop one - requisite Starbucks stop for the morning cappucchino and muffin. Gotta start the day off right.

Stop two - Pride Mountain. What a view! We drove over to the Napa Valley from Sonoma, and this is on the way over. I was first captivated by the spanish moss and pine forests on my right, then the mediterranean chaparral on my left...then we got to the top of the hill at Pride, and I was smitten by the views! Perfect way to start the day...oh, and their chardonnay definitely helped! 

Stop three - Now in the Napa Valley, we had many options in front of us. First up - Hall Vineyards. They had just opened a new visitor's center, so we had to check it out! I enjoyed learning all about the new construction going on, and their plans for their storage and wine-making  facilities out back. Moreover, I loved their Cabernet! 

Stop four - across 128 to a wine I've had before - Heitz. This may have been my favorite of the day, from the adorable stone structure that was the tasting room, to the pergola and wisteria covered patio overlooking the vineyards out back, to the lone California Poppy (a favorite!) that greeted me. Smitten before I even tasted their wine. Inside, big leather overstuffed chairs greeted us, and we perused the offerings at the monstrous tasting table. Definitely tastefully done - it felt more like a home than a retail outlet. I've had Heitz's reds before, but never their chards. I'm a huge CA chard fan, the oakier and butterscotchier the better. The Heitz chard was a definite hit. I also tasted their port - and was pleasantly surprised! Sweet, but not too heavy or sweet, this was a perfect dessert wine to serve with a hazelnut crusted tart, or even simply shortbread with berries and cream. I bought a bottle to take home to save for a special occasion - yay!

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