after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Napa in words … Days 3 + 4

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t says:  In an interesting turn of events, g and I realized that we took very few pictures on our last two days in Napa.  And those that we did take turned out pretty bad (which is saying a lot, given the not-so-high standards for pictures that we have here).  So I guess that means we’re left with words, words, words.

We started off Day 3 with a delightful trip to Round Pond vineywards/winery/olive oil place.  After a and v loved it so much on their recent trip, g and I just had to check it out for ourselves.  We did an olive oil tasting to give us a break from the the wine we had been having.  This was fun because g and I know nothing about olive oil except that when we go to Garces Trading Company, it tastes delicious.  It was fun to see and hear the lady talk about olives and olive oils (as well as the growing/harvesting/manufacturing/bottling), but we do have to admit that she wasn’t really the kind of person that g and I really wanted to be listening to first thing in the morning:
1)  She was needlessly perky.
2)  She just kept talking … mindlessly … endlessly … kinda like Rachel Ray …
3)  Asking for a show of hands of “who’s a foodie?” and “who’s a wino?” to a tour group of people visiting a Napa Winery is stupid.  The first rule of being a foodie is not talking about “being a foodie” … you talk about food.  And “wino” … ?  Seriously?  g and I refused to raise our hands for either of these questions.
4)  She attempted to convince the crowd that Thomas Keller recently “bought”/”owned” the fanciest restaurant in Philadelphia (Le Bec-Fin).  (Don’t worry  – we set her straight.)

How were the oils?  Well, to be honest, we’ve had better olive oils at Garces Trading Company (fully recognizing, of course, that perhaps that’s not even considered to be “good” by oil snobs), so that was a little bit of a letdown.  Furthermore, the ones we did like were not able to be purchased unless you join the Round Pound club.  Booooo.  We did get to taste two of their wines, including their workhorse cab, and I have to say that I wasn’t that impressed … sorry a!  What they lacked in sex/fruit appeal they did not make up for in structure/balance/grace.  I suspect that a and I will just have to agree to disagree about their wines … but to be fair, maybe a tasted their higher-end selections that we were not privy to unless we went for a separate tour/tasting.

We then journeyed to Solbar for a light brunch.  The food was pretty good – but it’s not like we were really “testing” them – I had some granola and g had some salad.  Were we being wusses?  Yea!  But that’s because we were pacing ourselves for the deliciosity that was to ensue that evening …

Our next and final winery visit was Larkmead.  Now, we only knew about this place because I was trying to visit a small winery called Massican during our visit, but couldn’t because the winemaker (and seemingly the only person working at the entire winery) was too busy working on the Chardonnay harvest at Larkmead.  I figured, “well … if Massican’t supposed to have fabulous whites, and the winemaker works at Larkmead, maybe Larkmead will have some fabulous wines?”.  And so, as we sat down in some comfy outdoor lounge chairs, peering out over endless vineyards, embracing the peaceful solitude punctuated with gentle rustling from the cool, refreshing breeze every now and then, we prepared for greatness.  And day-um: they were pretty great!  Out of the four wineries we visited this trip (Revana Vineyards, Ehlers Estate, Round Pound, Larkmead), the clear victor in terms of delicious wine was Larkmead – not a single wine neared medicority.  I could have spent all day going back and forth between the wines that we had, contemplating the nuances of each.  The salesman talked a good talk – he wasn’t pushy, rather, a bit matter-of-fact but without being abrasive.  In short, he knew exactly how to appeal to my wallet.  Fortunately, g kept me in check and we left with only one bottle – whew – bankruptcy disaster avoided.  Grade: A+.

For dinner, I donned a button-down shirt and khakis, and we traveled back to Yountville (all three of our dinners this trip were in Yountville) to go to Redd.  Once again, we have no pictures, but let’s just say that this place had the best food of the trip.  We ordered a ton of fish plates (raw and cooked and everything inbetween) and were blow away by the bold and complex flavors and masterful fish cookery.  I didn’t even mind the frequent “Asian spin” in a lot of the dishes – it was pulled off quite well!  The wines by the glass were delicious (and interestingly, the somm that night was a dude we saw “helping out” at Back Room Wines).  And finally, our server, who looked to be no older than 22, was excellent.  It immediately made me forget about the worse-than-mediocre experience we had at Bouchon the night before.

And so concludes our trip to Napa.  The next day, we woke up and began driving to the airport with frowns on our faces.  But don’t be misled – we still had smiles on our faces when we left the hotel (it was a good vacation after all!) – but the traffic hella-sucked … As a note to our future selves: it takes at least 2.5 hours to drive to the airport from Napa on a Monday morning.  And it takes about an hour to drop off the car, check a bag, and get through security.  So leave early.  And bring [more] cupcakes – you’ll need them.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

3 October 2012 at 10:07pm

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