Wine & Travel

Snooth User: VegasOenophile

Napa Trip- Day 4- 4/21/10

Posted by VegasOenophile, May 4, 2010.

This day began with a trip to Bouchon Bakery for breakfast and coffee for the road, as we were venturing way up north to Dry Creek.  Having met Brendan Malm of Malm Cellars at a tasting in Vegas, he invited us to visit his winery.  We made the trip and met him at the location where his facility will be.  It wa sin the infant stages, with infinite possibilities.  We then followed him up the hillside to Pezzi King, where he currently works on his wines.  This might have been the most unique tasting experience of all to this point, as we walked through the cellars with him, tasting numerous chards and pinots from the barrel.  It was fascinating to see the evolution of wine as we got to experience them at all different stages.  We even tasted a syrah and a zinfandel that were fantastic on their own and we even did an in-glass blending of these.  You might see such a blend on the shelves soon!  He is a great craftsman of wonderful chardonnays and pinot noir and I highly recommend you try any of his wines.

We started by tasting the Candidus from the tank.  My friend and I decided to wear tee shirts and shorts that day and of course if was rainy, windy and cold.  The cool thing was, we got to throw on cellar worker waterproof coats to keep warm!  It was a fascinating lesson in the wine growing and making processes, complemented by stellar wines from the barrel and ended with Brendan taking us to get some great burritos in town!  Malm Cellars, get some!

We decided to make this a Sonoma day, but spent all morning with Brendan, so we just played it by ear and looked into some suggestions.  My friend loves cabs, so we stopped in at Silver Oak's Alexander Valley location.  Same wines poured as in Napa, but $10 less for the tasting.  It was here I got my "Life is a Cabernet" license plate frame.  Probably a big "pull me over cops" accessory, but you know how it is...  Here we tasted the

1999 Alexander Valley Cab

2005 Alexander Valley Cab

2005 Napa Valley Cab

I have long been interested in Ridge, so we ventured next to the Lytton Springs location.  I know people rave about the Monte Bello and of course, that was not part of the tasting that day but I can say this... if you're a fan of great zinfandel, Ridge is a sure fire winner!  Here we tasted their

2007 Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay

2007 Lytton Springs

2006 Geyserville

2006 Old School

2006 Ponzo VY

2006 Nervo VY

2006 Caboose

Pity the Nervo VY sold after the 2006 vintage.  Might that mean no more of these last two?  They were my favorites!

Then we followed the curve down toward Gary Farrell on a few suggestions.  We opted to skip Hop Kiln for the moment and go into Rochioli.  They own an impressive span of vineyards as far as you can see and it's a gorgeous view!  All high quality wines!  Here we tasted their

2009 Estate Sauv Blanc

2008 Estate Chardonnay

2008 Estate Pinot Noir

Next down the road, we went to Arista.  We were greeted (or not) by a big black dog lounging on the porch.  Their mascot perhaps.  Here we tasted a nice range of varietals, including the

2008 Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer

2008 Mononi VY Pinot Gris

2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

2007 La Cruz Vineyard Pinot Noir SC

We had just enough time to stop in at Porter Creek and I am glad this was our last.  It's a quaint, modest little house and the tasting room is around the side in a small, cozy little space with a counter.  Lovely varietal wines here.  It's something to see the winemaker walk by the window to the house, carrying a kid followed by a leaping dog while you're tasting the wines!  Here we sampled their

2008 Viognier "Timbervine Ranch"

2006 Pinot Noir "Fiona Hill VY"

2008 Carignane "Old Vines"

2007 Zinfandel "Old Vine"

It was now past normal tasting hours, so we headed down to Sonoma, as I wanted to show my friend the Jack London Saloon so he could see where the bar scenes from "Bottle Shock" were filmed and I knew he'd like a beer amidst all the wine tasting.  We walked to The Fig Cafe, as I ate here last time and knew it was a great meal at reasonable prices.  They don't charge corkage, but I couldn't be persuaded to open any of the bottles we'd bought that day.

We then took the scenic and ever-so-curvy Trinity back into Oakville then back to our hotel in Napa.  On to day 5!


Reply by John Andrews, May 4, 2010.

Great write up and I loved how you captured the feeling the wineries.  As these are wineries I frequent, I can attest to your comments.  

If you get a chance you should stop by Loxton.  Of course when you went to the Fig Cafe I might have been there.  I was there Sunday night. :-) 

Reply by VegasOenophile, May 15, 2010.

Photo Slideshow

Reply by outthere, May 15, 2010.

Giving props where props are due, Jack London Saloon is in Glen Ellen. Neat little town. Trinity Road is something else isn't it? I took it home on our way back form a Wine Train evening once. My wife said, "Never again!". Different kind of road in the dark for sure.

I'm enjoying your write-ups being as I can trace your steps and visualize each place you go. Good job.

P.S. your pics from day 2 don't load. The link is bad.

Reply by outthere, May 15, 2010.

Sorry, that was Day 3 that didn't load. The other Day 2 ;-)

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