I wake up at 7 am with a killer hangover. I feel like I don’t ever want to drink anything with alcohol, ever again. I don’t want to do much of anything, but we have a full day planned. So, out of bed I get. I shower. We pack. We eat breakfast in the restaurant.
We call for help with our bags and wine. They will ship the wine we have brought back to the hotel (for a fee, of course – my assessment after two trips to Napa now is that it is best to have the winery ship it if you are buying enough…shipping through the hotel was expensive).
We have a two for one tasting this morning at 10 am. I must have thought I wanted to stick to our two tastings a day plan. Just kidding. I had been searching for a winery that had a Moscato to taste. I love Moscato. I googled “best Moscato in Napa” and came across a blog singing the praises of La Sirena Moscato. http://blog.wblakegray.com/2012/07/the-best-moscato-from-california.html
Intrigued, I found La Sirena’s website, and emailed David Devan to ask for a tasting appointment. He replied and said that La Sirena does not have a winery, and they have two different boutique wineries where they do their tastings. If we wanted, we could do a tasting of the host winery wines.
Well, sure! Why not?
I looked at the two wineries and chose Jericho Canyon Vineyard. It was a 45 minute drive from Andaz. It was another winery that was up in the mountains, in Calistoga. The setting was, in a word, spectacular.
We are greeted by Katie, a tall, beautiful blonde who was taking a break from being a critical care nurse. I immediately started trying to think of how I could introduce her to Nicholas.
She pours us each a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and said she thought we might like to go out in the Polaris and see the property. I’m sure I have a blank look on my face, because I have no idea what a Polaris is. But I go along with her enthusiasm and say, “Sounds great!”
This is the Polaris.
A Polaris is an ATV, which is necessary for all the hills the property is located on. It was a really spectacular tour. I had to drink my wine fast so it didn’t splash out of the glass. It was a bumpy ride. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It is glass of wine number one. Start counting!
If you are wondering what is up, or down, as the case may be, with my hair, I had run out of hairspray and California had not been kind to my hair to begin with. Hairspray is just about one of the best things invented, ever.
It’s a little hard to see in this picture, but there is a house up on the hill. It is beautiful and I ask who lives there. Katie answers that the owners live there. However, when they first built the house, Robert Redford wanted to rent it, so he lived there for eight years. She said the Horse Whisperer was edited in the basement of that house.
A side story – when I was telling my 21 year old son Patrick that story he looked at me and said, in all seriousness, “Who is Robert Redford?” I think I stopped breathing. I know I gasped. I felt like a failure as a mother. I turned to Susie (25 years old) and she said, “I don’t know who he is either.” I felt very, very old. I haven explanation for this egregious lapse in my education of them.
After our tour of the property, which included a history of the property since the owners had purchased it, we returned to the winery and had our tasting. David Devan from Las Sirena is already there and setting up for us.
Katie takes us into the cave for the tasting.
We taste a 2006 and 2009 Cabernet Sauvgnon. We also taste some olive oil, which is they make from the olive trees on the property.
We purchase some of the wine and a bottle of the olive oil. It’s good olive oil, but I don’t use it very often. I use olive oil all the time, but this is premium olive oil and needs to be used so that you can taste it. I always think about the use not being worthy of an olive oil of this quality.
After our tasting we go out to the greeting area, where David is waiting for us. He shows us the wine making in real time.
Then we sit down and get down to business.
We start with the Moscato.
It is unlike any other Moscato I’ve ever had. It is not sweet. It is light and fresh and, to use a term I’d learned on this trip, a porch pounder. Really nice.
Next we move on to the reds, which is really what Heidi Barrett is known for. First there is her Pirate wine, a red blend. It is delicious. A really exceptional red blend. Dark and rich. It is in a very unique looking bottle. It looks like an old bottle of rum.
Next we taste the Art Bus Red, another red blend. I don’t like it, and tell David as much. He encourages me to try it again, but it doesn’t taste any better. I know what I like, and it isn’t this wine.
Next is the La Sirena Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. It is lovely and expensive. And I am getting drunk. Have you been counting? I am at 7 wines so far and it is not even noon.
David and I are best friends now.
He has told us all about Heidi Barrett and her amazing winemaking skills and her artistic talents and her interesting life.
He can tell we like good wine, so he breaks out some of the really good stuff, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Barrett and Barrett Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. These are freaking amazing wines. Or at least I hope they are. I know I thought they were when I drank them that day. So I ordered a total of 2 cases of wine. Later, when I saw the amount charged to my Visa card, I asked Zung, in a rather shocked voice, what did we order? He replied, I don’t know, you were over there ordering all kinds of stuff. I said, I was drunk, you shouldn’t have let me do the ordering.
The Barrett and Barrett wines were $250 a bottle and I bought a three pack. I have no idea what occasion is going to be special enough to drink this wine. Although, I do have a couple possibilities lined up.
Barrett and Barrett is the wine label for Heidi and her husband, Bo. He is the owner of Chateau Montelena, which is featured in the movie Bottleshock. It was a great movie, and fascinating to see what Napa was like, oh so many years ago and a rising star in the wine making industry.
We had a great time with David. He was an excellent host.
The tasting fee for Jericho was $30 per person and waived with the purchase of $250 of wine (per fee). The La Sirena tasting fee was $50 per person and waived with any six bottles of wine purchased. We had no problem with that. In fact, I think they owe us money.
I insisted on a picture with the beautiful Katie.
We say our goodbyes and thank you’s and go to our car. We pass the resident dog.
David has given us the rest of the bottle of the Moscato to take with us.
Did you keep track of how many wines I tasted? Nine. Nine wines. Before noon. and I may have finished one or two of Zung’s. Can we say wasted?
Next stop, Santa Rosa to visit my brother.