We went for a morning swim, and after that and some coffee, we got ready to head out to the wineries. We took a while getting ready, and left for the wineries pretty late. I logged on to the Viansa Winery website to reactivate our membership, so we could use our member benefits. They were our first stop.
Viansa was our favorite winery from last trip. Since it was close to lunchtime, and since they have great food there, it made a great starting point. Also, it is located on one end of the highway, and we could work the wineries all the way back to the resort. The place hadn’t changed at all, with a beautiful vista on the vineyards, an outdoor pizza oven, and a live band playing music in the courtyard. The wine isn’t bad, but the only wines of theirs that we really likes were their top end wines, which were really priced above what they were worth. But since we were members, our tastings were free, so we had some pizza and some of their best wines. Sasha really liked the music in the courtyard. We didn’t have too much, as we wanted to save room for the next wineries.
Next was the Jacuzzi winery next door. They were related to the Hot Tub empire, I think the grandfather of the winemaker was the guy who founded Jacuzzi Tubs. Hard not to look at the name and not find it funny. What was neat was that they had both wines and Olive Oil, with a press for their olives right there on tour. The oils were great, and The wine was good and reasonable. They had a particularly nice Pinot Noir. Their zinfandel was good as well, And we found ourselves starting to like the Napa Zins and Pinots. I’m not sure if that is because they are much better grapes here, or if the lighter structure of those grapes prevents the winemakers from turning the fruit and alcohol in those wines up to 11. In either case, they were the better choice.
Next was Cline Vineyards. The estate there was great, with private homes for members to stay at, great gardens with turtles and fish. Very beautiful. The weather was starting to heat up, so we were glad for the shade to walk through. They had a nice meritage-style blend as their cheap wine, and I really like it. We tried their other wines, and I thought that the cheap blend was the best they had. At $8.50 it was a steal, and I picked up a few bottles. We drove out from there and stopped at a fruit stand to get some cold drinks and snacks. I have to say that having so much good produce around is great.
On our trip i have reached the point where it has become easier to buy new clothes than to try to do laundry in the sink. I have been looking for a nice Hawaiian or tropical print shirt, but haven’t found anything interesting. We drove into the Gloria Ferrer winery, and they had some nice silk print shirts on their sale rack. i grabbed a nice one in a clay color, and threw it on. The wines themselves were just champagne and merlot, and they charged a lot for tasting, so we left without trying anything. We have been surprised at what some places charge to taste, most of the larger wineries are pretty reasonable, but the smaller ones are terrible. When you top that with our experience that smaller wineries seem to make hotter, mediocre wines that is a bad combination.
We drove a bit and stopped next at Domaine Carneros. It is a winery that I had never heard of, in an amazingly huge chateau that is a copy of some other chateau in France that I had never heard of. Quite impressive. Temperature now was 101 Degrees. This place specialized in Pinot Noir and Champagne. I should have been irritated that they called their wine Champagne, which not being from Champagne, France, it cannot be, and should have been listed as Sparkling Wine but it was too dam hot and the Champagne or whatever it was was chilled so i didn’t give a crap. We bought two glasses and hid in the air conditioned room a bit. The air conditioning was light and refreshing with just a hit of floral aroma. I wanted to get some to go.
Across the street was Cuvasion Estates. Far less pretentious, it had a new tasting room built with a Frank Lloyd Wright style, nestled right in with the vineyard, behind their production facility. A nice layout actually, it was shaded, and with the breeze blowing through, was cooler than air conditioning. We bought two flights, and chatted it up with the server. One of the great things about wine is that if you really enjoy it, you get along great with others that do as well. Even in Napa there are far more people who think they should enjoy wine, and don’t know anything about it, than those with a real passion to try and enjoy it. Since we kept asking questions and having real conversation, our server kept bringing us other tastes to try. We ended up getting eight pours on a four pour flight. And a lot of these were fantastic. The best was the estate Pinot Noir, which was growing about 10 feet from our table. I got a bottle of that to go, and we got to take the glassware as well. Neat.
based on his recommendation we went down about a mile to eat at the Boon Fly Cafe. This was a nice little place that had good, simple dishes at rather complex prices.