Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 247 - Wine tasting

Last night was highlighted by an amazing dinner at Botegga. A.May. Zing.

See that look on her face? That's what 2:45 of non-stop deliciousness gives you.

At one point, the waiter came to our table with the dessert menu. "I don't know if you saved room for dessert, but...". To which we said, "Uh, we'd like to order another course." He was taken aback. We had dessert later.

After we left, I was sporting what I like to call a Buddha belly. Big and happy.

The day started with a gorgeous run south on Washington road. Cool, overcast, light breeze. It was perfect. It took a few minutes, but I warmed up and shook off the stiffness and old age. I was cruisin'.

Veteran's Memorial Park has some first rate bocce ball courts.

They love their Bocce ball in Yountville, just don't get caught lobbing your balls.

That's really good advice no matter where you are.

The view was gorgeous as the fog topped the hills.

I made it as far south as Bell's Wine Cellars

It's a small vineyard. Small, but very quaint.

I was running along the fields, feeling great...

... then Mother Nature came a callin'. Urgent, person to person call. I won't go into the details, but I'd avoid the 2010 vintage of Bell's. I'm just sayin'.

Relieved, I carried on and came upon this nice little Catholic church.

If I were to ever think about joining a church, a Catholic church where...

... a church where the priest grows his own grapes would be on the short list.

Back at the resort, I defiled the local fountain in the spirit of helping my heels recover.

Then we headed out to the vineyards,. But first, a stop at the coolest little grocery in the universe...

Stocked up with bread and cheese and salami, we hit the road.

And the road soon turned into the twisting, blind cornered, exhilarating, and gorgeous driveway up to Kuleto Winery.

The death defying climb was well worth it.

The place is breathtaking, and the wines are equally wonderful. We meandered and tasted and enjoyed for 3 hours. I wanted to move in. They wouldn't let me.

Next was Chateau Montelena. I fell in love with the idea of this place after seeing the movie Bottle Shock. In person, it did not disappoint.

Montelena's 1973 Chardonnay won the first blind taste test between the haughty French wines and the "lowly" California wines in 1976, and that catapulted the California wine industry into the world scene.

See, told ya.

Being there was like being at Kitty Hawk. I just wanted to feel the walls.

Next up was Frank Family vineyard, one of the oldest in Napa. It came highly recommended for its warm atmosphere, generous pours, and willingness to skirt shipping protocols.

It did not live up to its reputation.

But they had a fun fountain.

Finally, Castello di Amorosa.

This winery features a castle built from stones reclaimed from condemned buildings and shipped from Italy. The result is... well, imagine if Epcot built a winery. Contrived history. Fake antiquity. Commercial. And their wines were worse.

Example... the Grand Hall...

features murals on all four walls...

with a web address next to the artist's signature.


Like anywhere, there's fantastic, alright, and dreadful. Luckily, the fantastic, the impression and the memories it leaves, overshadows the rest.

Good running,

Numbers: 3.7 miles on roads in Napa.