The famed Napa Valley was our destination on Tuesday morning and first stop was the illustrious Chateau Montelena. This amazing Chateau was built in the 1880’s and modelled on an English Gothic style. Still family owned, this estate came to fame when its 1973 Chardonnay won first place in the famous Judgement of Paris in 1976. It is a leading estate in the Napa Valley for Cabernet Sauvignon as well, so we were in for a truly historic visit. Jose guided us rounded and hosted a superb tasting culminating in their 2009 Estate Cabernet at a cool $165.00 dollars a bottle!
From Montelena we drove down the beautiful Silverado trail which takes in some truly beautiful views of rolling vineyards and hills and mountains. Out of Napa and into Sonoma we found ourselves at Homewood Winery. A total contrast to our first visit, this is a tiny producer of about 3000 cases with a mixture of own vineyards and locally sourced fruit.
Dave, the owner and winemaker, entertained us wonderfully over a picnic lunch as we knocked down some delicious Roussanne 2014 – one of Dave’s “whim wines”. There then followed a fascinating wine and chocolate tasting hosted by Michelle. We tasted through six wines and five chocolates – all infused with a different fruit or nut. It urned out to be a relevatory experience – not only in the quality of the wines but in how well the chocolate worked.
Our final visit of the day was to Loxton Cellars just to the north of Sonoma. Chris Loxton is Australian but has been in the US for over 30 years. We had a great chat with Chris outside the winery examining some freshly picked Syrah grapes that were destined for his Port production. It is always great to be in a winery at harvest as so much is going on and Chris was very instructive and added a great amount of humour to the winemaking process.
A great tasting ensued with Alyssa as we worked our way through an eclectic selection of wines culminating in an utterly delicious Syrah Port.