Napa Valley

Posted July 4, 2006 in California

The Monday before Independence Day was a holiday. Eight of us packed ourselves into two cars and drove to Napa Valley. Our goal: taste wine and act posh.

The first winery we visited was posh indeed. The manor was modeled after those in Champagne, and the tour guide was very excited about how authentic everything was. We tasted wines (three Pinot reds and three sparkling) and didn't really enjoy any. We suspected our waitor was drunk.

The second winery was small and had no tours. We tasted eight wines there; I enjoyed them much more. I made my first purchase: an expensive Pinot red.

The third and last winery was big and full of tourists. We tried to get in to their 2-hour tour, only to find that they were booked. So instead, we did what we figured was the only sensible thing to do: taste wines! They had a ridiculously expensive counter ($25 per half-glass of wine) and a decently-priced counter, so we went to the decent one. We bought seven tastes, but for some reason (read: my sweet-talking the barmaid) we were offered an extra three! They were expensive bottles which had been opened by mistake. And they tasted really good, so I ended up buying two of them. I'll never know whether those free tastes were a result of my smooth talking or a clever marketing ploy.

This brought us to a total of 24 different wines on the same day. That just wouldn't do, so we went to an Italian restaurant and made it an even 25 over dinner. Four of our group went home; the rest of us went to a golf club to watch pre-Independence-Day fireworks. We don't know why there were fireworks on the 3rd of July, and it was quite funny that we managed to find out about them. They were, uh, explosive. As fireworks are wont to be. I took pictures with my camera as they were exploding.

The net result of that day: I now have four expensive bottles of wine: a Pinot Noir red, a Zinfandel red, a Chardonnay white, and a Muscat fortified wine. My dilemma is that I'll never want to open them, because they're too valuable to waste on mere mortals.

Pictures of the entire event are in my Napa Valley photo album.