Napa - Day 2

We were both WIDE awake at 5:30 this morning.  Of course that is 7:30 to our bodies and we never sleep that late at home.  I got up and did 45 minutes (3.46 miles!) on the treadmill and wrote yesterday's blog.  We had breakfast in the hotel, we'll find something different for tomorrow!

Our day started with a tour of the Niebaum-Coppola estate.  This tour was different from others we've taken.  It was about how the grapes were grown rather than how the wine is made.   We walked through part of the vineyard and learned how the vines are grafted (even saw an orange lemon tree... yes, it grew both oranges and lemons thanks to grafting!) and how Coppola ended up with a completely unique variety of Cabernet thanks to a disease that hits the root of the vines.
It was cool today but sunny! 
Inside the estate was a great little museum. This stained glass window was at the top of a long staircase up to a couple rooms of the museum.

They had a Tucker!

 And in the gift shop a really big candy dish!  I wonder if this would stay full on my desk at work?

 We looked all over but we couldn't find Nick Cage!  I think his name on the wall is as close as we're ever going to get.
The buds are out!

The Chateau.  It's the winery and always has been but they still call it the chateau.

ur host, Dave, was great.  After our walk around outside we headed inside for a private tasting of wines you can't get anywhere else, one priced at $108/bottle.  It was good.  It was VERY good, but we just don't think any wine is worth that.  We could have two bottles of Trefethen Cabernet or three bottles of Kenwood Jack London Cabernet for that price!
We did buy a bottle of Blancaneaux.  It's a white blend that was very good and I think this summer it will be delicious chilled served on the deck with some yummy cheeses.  I might even share, maybe.

The tour took over two hours and after tasting 5 wines we were ready for lunch!  We went to the Rutherford Grill, right across the street from the winery.  Lunch was simple, I had a rotisserie chicken sandwich and Dave had a cheeseburger.  Both were delicious.  We know we're in wine country.  Between every booth was a wine opener!

We had a few hours to kill before our dinner reservation so we decided to hit a couple of wineries to which we'd not been before, Franciscan and Markham.  Franciscan had some nice wines but the hit of that visit was standing next to a couple from LaCrosse!  Small world!  They were lucky enough to be here for a work convention!  Tammy you need to work in a hospital in LaCrosse.  They send their nurse practitioners to seminars in the Napa Valley and put them up in $500/night hotels!

At Markham we tasted a few wines that we also cannot get in the Twin Cities.  They had a Cab Franc that was delicious and Todd, our server, was nice enough to pour me my very own (Dave and I share tastings) second tasting of this delicious wine and a bottle was purchased!

Next was Cuvaison.  We visit there every time we're here.  They have wonderful wines.  We wanted to pick up a chardonnay for our friend that drove us to the airport.  They have redone their tasting room again!  The first time we visited their driveway wasn't even paved.  Now they have a very upscale tasting room too.  Travis was our host for the afternoon and, as with all the folks we've met so far, he was great.  He even got permission to pour us a Brandlin Cabernet since we're such good club members!  Another staff member hovered as he opened it wanting a glass for himself.  Travis showed us how to quickly aerate a wine by rolling it in the glass.  The wine actually coats the inside of the glass.  It was very cool but we don't think we'll be allowing our guests to do it at home!

There was sad news at Cuvaison.  They have stopped producing merlot!  Apparently (I'm not sure if I believe this or not) since the movie Sideways, consumption of merlot has gone down so much it's not paying to grow it anymore!  So, well, you guessed it, another case is coming home!  Not all merlot!

We asked Travis if there was a place with wireless (because the wireless in our hotel is so crappy) and he suggested the Calistoga Roastery which is where we are now.  We're relaxing before the big dinner at Hurley's!  I think that will be worth its own blog posting!  Travis was also nice enough to take this very cool picture of the two of us!
Tonight, Hurleys!
Tomorrow, Healdsburg!

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