Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Napa Not-So-Photo Journal

Well, hello! In case you missed it,
ahem, I just returned from Napa Valley by way of Sacramento for a little Girls' Weekend. Despite some rainy weather, I was still happy to have temps in the 50's. That's springtime here in Minnesota!! Here's a few of the high (and low) lights.....

The pictures were taken inside a cave with an iPhone. I need say no more.
What a wonderful tour + tasting! The caves are some of the oldest in Napa, and the method for making sparkling wine is much different, and labor intensive, than still wine.

The walls of the cave are lined with bottles

That's au naturale lichen hanging from the ceiling

And finally, the exquisite tasting....

If you have to opportunity, try their Blanc de Blanc (tart + apple) or Blanc de Noir (light blackberry + pear) sparkling wines. Both gorgeous!

Alas, my camera died at the next winery, so no photos of Del Dotto. The barrel tasting was very interesting and plentiful. The wine, superb. However, the whole 'theme park'-iness of Del Dotto would probably prevent me from going back.

Picture gobs of imported Italian marble + mosaics, opera music blaring, and an incongruous disco ball in the over-the-top Venetian tasting room. Overload.

Now, picture the brick lined caves with a small group clustered around oak barrels, sipping and listening intently to the uber-handsome Luis. Much more my style. ;-) By the way, one of the more interesting facts we picked up? A barrel made from a combination of Missouri Oak + French Oak is called a .... MOFO. Yup.

Now, I have to mention the most deflating moment of the whole trip. Bouchon. Wow. I had high expectations (who doesn't when you go to a Thomas Keller restaurant?), but I was majorly underwhelmed. The service was excellent, the presentation beautiful. The food? Eh. That's about the best thing I can say. We did decide to give dessert a chance, and the bouchons were terrific, as were the complimentary profiteroles the chef sent out. The manager was fantastic, and apologized for our meal. All-in-all, I would say that it was an itch that's been scratched... and I won't be hurrying back.

Our last day in Napa, we spent browsing Oxbow Public Market. Lots of great gems there!

A special thanks to Jennifer at Tillerman's Tea Shop for her suggestions and insight into Napa Restaurants! After our disappointment at Bouchon, we weren't sure we wanted to try Ubuntu or eat at the Market. Supposedly, Ubuntu is having some serious problemos in the kitchen, so we stayed at the Market. Good move!

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