At the beginning of October my mom and I took a trip to California to celebrate our birthdays (they’re on the same day). We planned stays in 3 places: Napa, Monterey and San Francisco. We’re both big wine lovers so Napa was our first stop. While we were there we tasted a lot of good wine, and ate a lot of good food.
The first day of our trip we booked a tour so that someone else could take us around to wineries and we didn’t have to worry about driving. We ended up going to four vineyards and probably tried 20 different wines.
The first place we went was Flora Springs. Our host poured everyone a glass of crisp, smooth, Sauvignon Blanc and then took us around the Estate.
We got to go right down into the vineyard and walk through the vines.
Normally by October all of the grapes are harvested, but some were left alone so people could sample them right from the vine. The wine grapes have thick skins and are very sweet.
After seeing the vines and sampling the grapes we went into the man-made wine cave, where the barrels are stored. They use both oak and steel barrels.
Flora Springs was a great first stop. We sampled everything from Chardonnay (not my favourite) to Sangiovese, which was fruity and bright, to their Trilogy, a rich mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cab Franc.
The second place we went was Arger-Martucci, a much smaller vineyard. As our guide said “You’ll only be tasting reds here. White wine drinkers, put your big boy pants on.” We tasted a lot of big, bold reds, my favourite of which was their Odyssey blend.
The third stop, unfortunately, was not my favourite. None of the wines really did it for me, though it did have a lovely tasting room.
The last stop of the day was Hagafen Cellars. The tasting room at Hagafen was a busy place. I found it interesting that while they were a rather small winery (didn’t produce that many cases), they made a huge variety of different wines. Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Riesling, Syrah, Zin, Merlot, Pinot, even Brut Cuvée. I took a bottle of their late disgorged sparkling wine, a mix of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, home with me. It was really good.
The sun shining on the Hagafen vines.