T'was a gorgeous Fall day - a bit of a breeze, sunny, but not hot. Wow!
Had breakfast a 900 Grayson in Berkeley - a place neither of us had been to before. I liked some of the titles on the menu "I'm NOT Belgian" for a plain waffle. We ending up splitting the Tom Boy - a corned beef hash which included apples and parsnips and the Demon Lover - a buttermilk, spicy fried chicken palliard (aka a patty) and a lovely waffle served with gravy and Vermont maple syrup.
Yakked all the way up to Napa. First stop was Biale's, where there was a sign to beware of black chicken =) Tasted zins - The Black Chicken, The Stagecoach and the Monte Rosso. I liked the first and third. We also tried a couple of petit sirah and syrah wines - which Joey knew what my reaction would be - (he'd written it down on the order sheet before I tried them, da bum) - "sour".
Joey asked Candace for a recommendation of some place else we should try, so off we went to James Cole. This was another place where you could go only by appointment, but she'd called over and "got us in". Amazingly, I liked their chardonnay. We also tried the petite verdot, malbec, the regular cabernet sauvignon and the reserve "Umbral" and the merlot ice wine. I liked the regular cab and ice wine =)
Raymond was next. Sauvignon blanc, merlot and the wonderful Essence - a late harvest chardonnay dessert wine. We got to try the three district Cabernet Sauvnignons side by side - Rutherford, Oakville and St. Helena. Got to try the lovely Generations Cab too. Got a quick tour of their "Crystal Palace" and try the 1987 Generations (sort of grassy taste?) and the barrel tasting room.
I then did a quick trip through V. Sattui - fastest I've ever made it through there - and it was packed. I got lucky and was able to pick up the wines I wanted and got a fast cashier. This weekend had a lot of crush parties at the various vineyards, so many of them were very busy and traffic was lousy.
Next up, another quick trip through Prager's. I picked up my port shipment and some Christmas presents. I did get to try the reserve port. Tasty, but needs to sit for a while. They were also having a crush party, but I avoided the garden area =)
Late lunch at Hydro Bar & Grill in Calistoga. The sweet potato fries passed Joey's taste test as did the mac & cheese.
Final winery was Frank Family. We'd gotten there just before closing. Joey mainly wanted to do a little Christmas shopping. The last time I'd been there, they were in crowded, narrow, falling apart type bulding. They now have a brand new building with multiple tasting rooms. Did get to try their zin port.
Trip home took a while as traffic was bad. Did stop at the Napa Premium Outlets for a bit more retail therapy. The Liz Claiborne store was having a store closing sale - I had a great time in there. It was 50% to 80% off the already marked down price. I paid $5.99 for a $45 shirt. Score!
Stops at Tucker's and Peet's =)