Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 248 - Taste this

Dinner last night was an experience. We were at Redd. That alone is really special


But to take it up a notch or seven, we went with the tasting menu. The deal is, you turn your dinner over to the chef. He prepares 5 courses for each in the party, and they are each paired with a wine. 10 separate dishes. 10 separate paired wines. And it was... I've been using this word a lot lately... AMAZING.

Early to bed and early to rise and run, with the fog still draping the valley, I took to a new direction and found myself, very quickly, in gorgeous farm country.


Not farmy enough for ya? How about now...


Many of the vineyards are also ranches, raising cattle, sheep, and rabbits. Yes, rabbits.

This ranch/vineyard had lots of cattle. They looked happy roaming the hills eating grass. Not the brightest herd, though...


I tried to get the shrubbery off of the poor moron, but he wouldn't let me close enough.

Just up the road was this delightful, and teeny-tiny house.


It's nice to see that just a half-mile off the beaten path, a couple good stone throws from the tasting rooms, the Napa Valley is still just a farming community.

Almost home, I came upon the Napa Valley Lodge. Very nice, nestled snugly in a working vineyard. Charming old feel...



And a lovely fountain...



Running blog quota fulfilled, enough of the running. Let's get to tasting!

Where to first?
Don't you love it when two passions come together?

The Andretti grounds were beautiful, like a Tuscan villa...




And a lovely fountain...


The Andretti wines were good and very reasonably priced. We picked out a couple and moved on.

To where, we weren't exactly sure. Then we saw Stag's Leap up ahead.

"Hey, remember the other night when that couple next to us was drinking Frog's Leap and I said that Frog's Leap sounded familiar?", he says.

"Uh, sure, ok. Let's say yes, I do remember.", she says, not looking up from the map.

"Well it's not Frog's Leap, it's Stag's Leap. Let's go in."


Best move of the day.

Stag's Leap is the other winery that won the 1976 Paris tasting. They won the red tasting. And they've just kept on rolling.

Their estate Cabs are to die for. Drinking them puts that look on your face where you almost can't believe something so great could actually exist. We clubbed up with the Stag and moved on, giddy. And a little awestruck.

Next stop, a little bubbly.


Mumm's Sparkling wine is good. Their tasting protocol, however...


... a little like going to Applebee's at 6:30 on a Saturday night. We decided that since we'd had Mumm's for breakfast, mimosa style, we'd skip this train wreck.

By this time the traffic had really picked up. Still, we made it to...


Flora Springs is a family owned winery with pretty good wines at super affordable prices.

The tasting room skipped right past the rustic look, and the historic look, and the villa and estate look, and went straight to modern stylish...



How cute are we?

The tasting included popcorn of all things, in a paper cone, in a funky twisted wire thing. Functional. Unique. Cool.


We weren't in love with the wines, after Stag's Leap it was going to be hard to be in love with anything else, but we picked up a couple bottles. They were tasty and too cheap to pass up.

Plus it gave the GF a chance to practice her swirling technique...




A quick run into Dean and Deluca for some fresh bread, and we were back to driving and munching on salami and cheese and this amazing pepper spread I picked up. All of this was going on while we were trying not to drive past...


Peju was a wild hair choice for us. And initially, I was put off. Walking in, you're staged in a room full of crap to buy until your name is called. Then you're taken back to the tasting room, which was, I'll say it again... amazing...


And the wines were remarkable. And expensive. Otherwise I'd have bought more than one. But the one I bought is killer and ready to drink. So all you folks back home, let the kissing-up begin...

Oh, and they also have...

... a lovely fountain.

Good running,
Doug

Numbers: 3.1 miles on roads in the valley.